3 Oct 01

Notes from the current IALEFI Conference in Reno, NV:

Because of recent events, this year’s conference was reduced from last year’s. A number of people were unable to get here, and a number of instructors who are reservists have been called up and were not able to come.

Here are my notes:

The standard Para-Ordnance “LDA” trigger is too light for domestic defensive use, in my opinion. Take up is no more than a pound or two. Break dawn gets it up to about four pounds, but, the link is deep, and, after that running start, I find ADs too likely. They make a heavier version, where the take up is four pounds, but they didn’t have one to show us. That is the one I would recommend if one were going with this system. The pistol still has a manual safety.

H&K’s new “LEM” (Law Enforcement Module) trigger is a great improvement. We’re having one of Vicki’s USPs converted over to it. It is a Glock trigger with an exposed hammer. Full stroke for the first shot but a shallow link thereafter. No manual safety and no decocking lever. This is the way to go with the USP!

Among the video simulators, Prisim’s shoot-back feature, built in cover, look-back video, and functional weapons all combine to make great training. However, the “air cartridges” are a pain. They have a short shelf life and must be police up

FATS has excellent video resolution. The picture is sharp, but tethered weapons (They have to be connected to a gas bottle) ruin the mood.

Laser Shot, a new vendor is inexpensive and had an impressive set up. Wonderful software and sharp resolution. One can do some great training with this system, and it comes at a fraction of the price of the others.

S&W was there. They tell me that both the Sigma and the P99 still in the catalog, but there were so Sigmas present. I really like their lightweight snubbys!

Old friend, Gary Klugiewicz, was showing off the new Red Man WDS. Quite a set up. It is designed for body blows, baton, and Simunitions training-all at once! Everything can be incorporated into the same training exercise.

FN had their P90 PDW (Personal Defensive Weapon). It fires the 5.7X28 caliber round. The weapon is shoulder fired but only twenty inches long. The 50-round magazines fit on top, and changing them is not as clumsy as I thought it would be, but spares are difficult to carry owing to their long length. The 33-grain bullet at 2350 f/s is limited. This weapon is designed to be halfway between a pistol and a rifle. Personally, I’d rather have a rifle and a pistol.

SIG had their new SG 552.2 rifle there. In 223, with a wonderful folding stock, it is short, and the plastic magazines attach together as they do with H&K’s similar rifle. Great little rifle, but it is imported only for law enforcement, and I worry about maintenance and availability of spare parts.

A company called Pepperball makes paintball guns that shoot hard balls, CS balls, and water balls. The CS balls worked particularly well, but the gun itself is delicate and would not survive rough use.

Good friend, Giles Stock, made a wonderful and revealing presentation on 223/5.56 rifle chambers. Rifles can feature NATO or SAMMI specification chambers. As a rule, military rifles have NATO chambers, and recreational rifles have SAMMI chambers, but there is some overlap. For example, Ruger’s Mini-14 has been made both ways!

NATO chambers have a long lead. SAMMI chambers are tighter and have a short lead. SAMMI chambers are designed for increased accuracy, but will yield dangerously high pressures in guns using military ammunition and/or which are subject to high volume shooting. Under such high pressures, primers will typically blow out backwards, fall down into the trigger mechanism, and cause the rifle to stop working. I’ve surely seen this on the range.

Bottom line: SAMMI chambers are for the kiddies. Any serious rifle needs a NATO chamber. Robinson Arms rifles come with NATO chambers, as do most of the others, but one needs to check.

Alex Robinson adds:

“If you use a SAMMI chamber in an autoloading rifle, you may overpressure it and blow it up when shooting rapidly. The tighter, shorter lead slows down the bullet substantially as it is
trying to leave the case. When rifles are red hot from rapid shooting, the resultant pressures increase dramatically. In these situations, you need to get the bullet out of the case and down the barrel ASAP. I never suggest using a SAMMI chamber on anything but a bolt action rifle. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t shot enough.”

He ought to know!

More later.

/John

 

6 Oct 01

The 2001 IALEFI Annual Conference in Reno, NV is now over. The final day there was a panel discussion of the subject of unsighted shooting. Participating on the panel were my colleagues Manny Kapelsohn, Dennis Tueller, Dave Spaulding, Clive Shepherd, Ron Avery, and several others including me.

There was general consensus that unsighted pistol shooting has its legitimate place in our training curriculum, but that it must be seamlessly integrated into the rest of our defensive shooting training. Treating it a a separate issue, or as a red herring (as it has been in the past), is a bad idea.

Some memorable quotations:

“There are no ‘degrees of dead'”

“The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get”

“The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss”

“The body points; the eye verifies”

“‘BT,’ before tritium”

“Legitimate, personal confidence in one’s own ability is the key to victory. Heart rate, blood pressure, and a host of other unavoidable, psychosomatic, bodily reactions are largely irrelevant. ‘Anxiety acclimatization’ renders them irrelevant.”

“A personal commitment to fighting one’s way through to the end is necessary for any successful warrior. Fighting, once initiated, is a job from which one cannot resign.”

One last note: NJSP has finally settled on SIG pistols to replace their H&K P7s. They’ll be 9mm.

/John

 

7 Oct 01

From a friend at LAX:

“You may have seen the pictures of rifle and pistol-toting National Guardsmen at airports, like here at LAX. Real impressive huh? Well, you probably guessed it. Their weapons are completely unloaded! Yes, the flying public is being protected by real safe guns.

I have no idea of their “procedure” is when they are confronted by somebody who is in dire need of being shot.”

Grasseaters are still in charge in CA!

/John

 

12 Oct 01

Incident in the Philippines, from a friend there:

“As you know, we have our own militant religious groups here, and they have no aversion to violence. Two murders occurred here (Manila) last week. Both victims were Filipino businessmen of Chinese descent. Both were shot to death in their cars.

The first victim was dropping off his child at school early in the morning, about 0720H. A lone gunman approached his car from behind. Curiously, as the victim was backing up, his car hit the gunman’s gun hand, causing him to drop his pistol. Without missing a beat, the gunman picked up his pistol.

The driver of the car behind the victim’s saw the gunman and started honking his horn as a warning. The victim was completely oblivious to the goings on. The gunman then approached the driver’s side window and fired eight shots into the businessman, through the driver’s side window.

All shots (45 ACP) went through the glass and seven of the eight struck the victim’s head. He never knew what hit him. The businessman’s wife, who was also in the front seat, was not harmed.

According to witnesses, the gunman then calmly reloaded, reconcealed his pistol, and briskly walked away. He boarded a nearby motorcycle, manned by an accomplice, and the two left the scene.

There have been no arrests, nor are there likely to be any.

Information indicates that the victim had been the object of death threats. He thus normally carried his pistol with him, but he was apparently very casual about being armed, and that particular day he did not have a gun with him.

In addition, he was apparently used to being honked at, so the attempted warning from the car behind his was ignored.”

Lessons:

>Don’t be naive enough to think that you are too insignificant to be selected as a victim. In this world, human life is still cheap in the eyes of many, and using death to “send a message” is a common form or communication in many cultures.

>Carrying a gun is a good habit, but it is also a useless one if it is not combined with a constant state of alertness and a genuine commitment to personal victory in all circumstances. Personal security is a way of life, not just a trendy topic of idle conversation at parties!

/John

 

23 Oct 01

I conducted a Patrol Rifle Course last week in FL. Two of my students used H&K UMPs in 40S&W. Both had full-auto capability, but were not used as SMGs.

Both were extremely reliable and accurate. Both student qualified on the rifle test, alongside others with AR-15s.

In full-auto, the gun is a handful but still controllable, unlike the same model in 45ACP. Individual shots can be made with surgical precision. Range limit is seventy-five meters (without a sight adjustment or Kentucky windage).

My student in OH whose Beretta 1201 autoloading shotgun broke on the first day of training several weeks ago took it back to the dealer. Beretta immediately replaced it with a new one. No questions asked. The customer is happy. Beretta did well!

/John

 

29 Oct 01

From a friend newly on active military duty:

“Since I am now activated, I decided to look at Army pistol doctrine and training materials currently available. There is recognition that a pistol may need to be reloaded in combat. Of course, that recognition is tempered with the caution:

‘NOTE: These procedures should only be used in combat, not on firing ranges.. – (FM 23-35 Combat Training with Pistols and Revolvers)

I guess you’re just supposed to figure out how to do it AFTER you get into combat!”

The Army is still afraid of guns.

/John

 

30 Oct 01

On personal equipment from a friend in South Africa:

“I have spent the last few days repairing, adjusting and just generally trying to get most of the holsters used by my students on the recent course to work properly. Most have a cutaway at the trigger, so that the trigger is accessible while the firearm is fully holstered. Recently, we have had two students shoot themselves in the leg (during training) as a direct result of their finger being on the trigger as the gun was still in the holster.

Many have arrived at the range with our newly purchased safety glasses. This is what they are now issued. They are extremely uncomfortable, allow no peripheral vision, and fog up the instant they are put on. Students take them off constantly, while they are shooting.

Needless to say, another report has gone in to this administration to get decent safety glasses and holsters. I’ll probably be even less popular now.”

Lesson: Never depend upon someone else for personal, safety equipment. If you equip yourself, you’ll likely have good gear. If not, you’ll take your chances. It only has to fail you once!

/John