4 July 10

We celebrated Independence Day in the most appropriate manner:

A day at the Range!

One of my Urban Rifle students used a SIG/556. The rifle ran fine for the duration, as they always do. But it was equipped with a forward-mounted vertical forend, an accessory supplied by SIG.

Integral with the vertical forend was a co-axial flashlight, and the flashlight’s activation device was a “trigger,” intended to be operated via the shooter’s support-side index-finger, simultaneous with the strong-hand’s index finger running the rifle’s actual trigger.

The system proved hopelessly confusing to the shooter!

Vertical forends provide enhanced control of the rifle, particularly in close quarters, and they get the shooter’s support hand away from some of the heat of the rifle’s forend during high-volume shooting. On the negative side, they add considerable bulk and gracelessness.

In any event, giving both of the shooter’s index fingers a “trigger,” is a bad idea. During our low-
light session, my student fired unintentionally several times, as he inadvertently pressed the “wrong” trigger!

Not recommended!



5 July 10


Making 1911s and conventional Stoner ARs, Doublestar is a company of which I was first made aware at last year’s SHOT Show. Doublestar is KY-based, and their guns are made in the USA.

I’ve been using my copy of their AR for several weeks now. I’ve shot it extensively, as have a number of my students.

It runs!

We’ve experienced no hiccups with any magazine nor ammunition used. Chamber is to legitimate, military specifications.

Customer service is excellent!

Doublestar now joins RRA, DSA, S&W, Sabre-Tech, LMT, Daniel Defense, Bravo Arms, Noveske, NGA on my Recommended List of conventional ARs.

You won’t go wrong with any of the above!

There are many good, military rifles currently being produced in the USA, but every American should own at least one conventional AR, because parts are easy to find (and will be for decades), and there are many gunsmiths out there who are intimately familiar with this System. Accordingly, for the foreseeable future, getting your rifle repaired will be more convenient than is the case with most other rifles.

For better or worse, the Stoner System will be with us, probably for the rest of our lifetimes. We all need to have at least one copy!



9 July 10


My copy of the PTR/32 (7.62×39) has now been through three Urban Rifle Courses, and has been run extensively by a number of students, and me.

As with most of my serious rifles, I have my copy equipped with an Aimpoint T1 (which I plunked as far forward on the integral top rail as I could).

There are currently no rails supplied on the forend, so I asked a gunsmith friend to mount one on the right side, so I could use it to attach a co-axial flashlight. It all went together perfectly.

Bulgarian 30-round AK magazines supplied with the rifle are well put together and run fine, but we tried several other AK magazines while at the Shop, and some of them did not lock in. So, while the rifle is designed to work with “AK magazines,” not all will run in it. My suggestion is to get a supply of the Bulgarian variety when you take delivery of the rifle.

When you manufacture a rifle chambered for 7.62×39, you had better assume all manner of garbage ammunition will be run through it. We’ve done just that! After several thousand rounds of assorted deficient, sub-standard, grimy, corroded fodder, the PTR digested it all with only two hiccups, both of which were cleared immediately (and the exercise continued).

Like the PTR/91, this is a quality, military rifle, designed for heavy use.

When you need a rifle in this caliber, the PTR/32 ranks with the RA/XCR and the Krebs/Kalashnikov as recommended choices.



13 July 10

Modern Marketing!

Retailers tell me that Glock has achieved that status of “Kleenex” among consumers.

It is black and blocky, and therefore all other “black and blocky” pistols (XDs, M&Ps, SIG/P250s, et al) fall into, in the minds of consumers, the same category.

And, just as we nonchalantly refer to all facial tissues, regardless of actual brand, as “Kleenex,” it is now common for unsophisticated consumers to casually identify all black and blocky pistols as “Glocks.”

For manufacturers of pistols that are not black and blocky, this can be both good and bad. Their product’s appearance distinguishes them from the herd, getting them noticed. But, for the same reason, many consumers decline them, and many retailers move them to the side.

For better or worse, black, blocky, striker-fired pistols now define “main-stream,” and that is unlikely to change any time soon.

And, Glock gets the credit/blame for setting the trend!



13 July 10

Many have asked me to reiterate the “Mode-Drill” that we use in all of our Courses. It is merely a model to assist us in teaching and understanding the condition serious firearms must be in, in order to fulfill the mission at hand and yet simultaneously not contribute to inordinate risk exposure from gun accidents.

Defensive firearms have four different modes. A thorough understanding of firearms modes is necessary for any student of defensive shooting.

“Safety” and “readiness” are mutually antagonistic. The more “safe” a gun is, the less “ready.” The more “ready,” the less “safe.” Any defensive firearm must be kept in condition that is a reasonable compromise, commensurate with circumstances and the job the gun is expected to do. Modes can then be changed, upgraded or downgraded, as changing circumstances warrant.

(1) Storage- Mode: There is no ammunition in the weapon. The slide or bolt should be forward, with the ham­mer/striker down­. Storage-mode is appropriate for weapons being prepared for non-accessible storage, such as in a gun safe or any other storage situation where rapid access is not a requirement. In storage-mode, the gun is unloaded, and the magazine removed, or voided when it cannot be removed. All springs should be at rest, so the hammer/striker is down (dropped or “dry-fired”) on an empty chamber.

Keep in mind that many murder victims have been discovered in their home, where there is subsequently discovered a gun-safe, filled with guns! All those guns remained “perfectly safe” during their owner’s entire anguished ordeal!

(2) Transport-Mode: Transport-mode is intended for unattended weapons that are kept close at hand but not carried on the person, such as would be the case of a shotgun or rifle transported in a car. Since it is not being carried on the person, the weapon is not under the owner’s direct control, but it is still intended to be readily accessible and available for defensive purposes on short notice. In transport-mode, the chamber is empty. The bolt is in battery (all the way forward), and the hammer/striker is down (dry-fired) as is the case with storage-mode, but a magazine is inserted, locked in, and fully charged (magazine tube fully charged in the case of shotguns). The manual safety, when present, is in the “off” position. The gun is thus inert, but it can be quickly rendered ready to fire by simply reciprocating the bolt or slide. With shotguns and rifles, transport-mode is also referred to as the “loader’s safe” condition. “Carry-safe” and “cruiser-safe” are other commonly-used terms which mean the same thing.

When it subsequently becomes necessary to fire, the Operator quickly loads (arms) the weapon by manually cycling the action as a firing position is assumed. The cycling of the action needs to be done enthusiastically. When the slide or bolt is not operated briskly, the Operator may experience a stoppage.

All pump-action shot­guns have a slide (forend) release button. It is there because, when the slide is forward (with the hammer cocked), the slide is locked in the forward position and cannot be moved to the rear. Pressing the slide-release button frees the slide and allows it to be moved to the rear position, extracting and ultimately ejecting a chambered round when one was present. The slide-release button is near the front of the trigger guard with the Remington 870 and near the rear of the trigger guard with the Mossberg 590 and Benelli Supernova. With pump-action shotguns, since the weapon is customarily carried and stored with the hammer down on an empty chamber (transport-mode), the slide is thus already released, and there is therefore no need for the Operator to find and then depress the slide-release button prior to loading the weapon.

(3) Carry-Mode: Carry-mode is appropriate only when the weapon is being continuously carried on the person of the Operator and is thus under his constant, direct control. A pistol in a holster or a rifle or shotgun slung on a shoulder should be in carry-mode. In carry-mode, the weapon is immediately ready for use. A round is in the chamber, and the magazine is inserted, locked in, and fully charged, except in the case of the shotgun (see below). Some weapons, like defensive pistols and military rifles are designed for continuous carrying, and the correct carry condition for these weapons is fully loaded, with the manual safety (when the weapon has one) in the “on” position.

Since most shotguns do not have a military-specification manual safety, shotguns are not carried loaded. Since these weapons are not carried with a round in the chamber, they must be loaded as they are mounted. Thus, with most shotguns carry more and transport-mode are the same thing.

(4) Engagement-Mode: Engagement-mode is the condition of the longarm when it is mounted on the shoulder, and is immediately ready to fire, or has fired and is immediately ready to be fired again. The shotgun mag­azine tube is charged (fully charged magazine inserted in the rifle); cham­ber load­ed; hammer cocked; manual safety in the “off” position; bolt in battery (slide forward). The weapon will now dis­charge when pressure is applied to the trigger.

With firearms equipped with a military-specification, manual safety, the only difference between carry-mode and engagement-mode is that the manual safety is pushed from the “on” position to the “off” position as one goes from the former to the latter.

With most handguns, carry-mode and engagement-mode are the same, since nothing need be done to the pistol (except pressing the trigger) in order to get it to fire when there is a round chambered. With pistols equipped with a manual safety, the manual safety must be pushed from “on” to “off” in order to go from carry-mode to engagement-mode.

To reiterate, with pump and autoloading shotguns, the weapon must be loaded (a round must be brought out of the magazine tube and whisked into the chamber) AS the shotgun is being mounted, and the Operator is going from carry-mode/transport-mode to engagement-mode.

There are legitimate exceptions, of course. Military circumstances are often continuously threatening, and accordingly, a shotgun carried in a battle zone will probably be in engagement-mode much of the time, and the manual safety may be used, providing the weapon has one that is convenient and quick. When one is going to react quickly under this kind of continuing threat, there may be no other viable option. Notwith­stand­ing, there is considerable risk here, because the only safety factor in this situation is the Operator’s ability to position his trigger finger in register as he moves with the gun, bringing it into contact with the trigger only when he is preparing to fire. All other manual and internal safeties are bypassed, and, even with the manual safety “on,” most shotguns are still not drop-safe. Accordingly, those in military situations should keep their shotguns in carry-mode/transport as much of the time as practicable.

It has been suggested by some that an alternative to carrying the pump-action shotgun in engagement-mode is carrying it in the “half-chambered” condition. Here, the shotgun is first armed (loaded), then the slide-release button is depressed, and the slide is subsequently pulled back half-way, partially exposing the chambered round. I don’t consider this alternative legitimate and don’t recommend it, but I mention it here, because I see students attempt it now and then. The idea is to make the shotgun immediately useable, yet safer to carry than when in engagement-mode. The weakness with this technique is that the condition can’t be reliably maintained. As one moves, the slide either goes back forward into battery, or goes the rest of the way to the rear, ejecting the round.

The purpose for mode-drill is to help students to organize their thinking, so that poor judgement and blunders, born of confusion, can be reduced. At the end of a day of training, be it with handguns, rifles, shotguns, or several weapons, I ask all students what condition or mode they want their weapons in as they are preparing to leave the range. The important point here is that it is solely the student’s decision, within certain parameters. When weapons are put away, longarms are first. They are put away in cases. Longarms are cased in either storage-mode or transport-mode. Handguns are always the last to be put away (storage or transport-mode), except in the case of students who regularly carry pistols. Those individuals holster their weapons (in carry-mode) and leave the range that way. It may be necessary for these folks to swap ammunition, exchanging “training ammunition” for “service ammunition.”

When we conduct training within active battle-zones, weapons (pistols, rifles, and shotguns) are usually carried off the range in the same condition in which they arrived: carry mode and actively carried on the person.

The foregoing is far from infallible, and may have to be modified as circumstances dictate. However, the “Mode-Drill” does serve as a legitimate blueprint and starting-point for aspiring Operators.

“You can be bold and risk defeat, or be passive and assure it!”

Poker Players’ Axiom



14 July 10

The “magnification-factor”

Non-magnifying optics on serious rifles provide the Operator with significant advantages over iron sights. Of that there is little doubt.

The elimination of the need for wearisome maintenance of the alignment of front and rear sights with the shooter’s eye is the main selling point for rod-dots. The aiming point (dot) needn’t be in the exact center of the rear lens. Even when it is near the edge, it is still on target, and this represents a genuine advantage, because the Operator’s head and face don’t have to be positioned precisely behind the rear sight, a substantial benefit when shooting from awkward positions.

The other main feature of optics is the ability of the Operator to see, while looking through his optic, downrange detail that is under the aiming point. With most iron sights, such details is blocked out.

For competent fighting, my preference is Aimpoint’s T1 or H1 (on LaRue mounts), mounted well forward and away from the Operator’s eye. Aimpoints are not eye-relief critical, and can therefore be mounted anywhere on the top rail. The T1 and H1 are both exceptionally compact and non-magnifying.

However, many police executives insist on magnifying optics, because they want to see downrange detail, detail that is important to report-writers, less important to active combatants!

Most good scout-scopes are 2.5x or less, are also not eye-relief critical, and can thus be forward-mounted. They too represent a good choice for serious rifles. Magnification beyond 2.5x requires close eye-relief and is not recommended.

Close-eye relief optics make it difficult for the Operator to see around the scope, so the scope becomes his whole world. This may suffice when someone else is watching your back, but not a good idea when you’re operating alone!

Another issue with high-magnification optics is the constant temptation to analyze the downrange situation through the scope. Big-game hunters do this all the time. However, we must remember that, in doing so, you’re necessarily and deliberately pointing your gun in the direction of what may be innocent people.

High-magnification optics, in my opinion, are well suited for hunting non-dangerous game at extended ranges. When fighting for one’s life, for reasons enumerated in the foregoing, they represent a poor choice!

For individual, fighting rifles, non-magnifying rod-dots are the way to go.



15 July 10


These comments from a student:

“Last week, I ran into an issue with my red-dot-equipped AR. At 100m, I routinely hit an eight-inch disk, dead center. When a friend shot the same rifle, with no change in aiming point, he routinely shot four inches left of center. When I again shot the same rifle less than a minute later, with no aiming-point nor sight adjustment, my shots were, once more, dead on.

I have no idea what caused this variation between my friend and me!”

Here is the explanation, from friends in the optics-manufacturing business:

“The red-dot sight you are using has excessive ‘parallax.’

Parallax is the apparent displacement of an observed object due to lenses and distances. The effect is that an object being observed through the optic is not exactly where you see it. The degree of displacement, through the same optic, varies, sometimes considerably, from person to person, as you experienced.

All red-dots, indeed all optical sights, have parallax, regardless of advertising claims to the contrary. All human eyes are infected with parallax too! High-quality red-dots have a minimal amount, but it is still there. With Aimpoints, for example, parallax can displace as much as one inch at 100m. Since Aimpoint’s illuminated reticle is either 2 MOA (two-inch dot at 100m) or 4 MOA (four-inch dot at 100m), the average shooter will experience no meaningful parallax.

Most utility/battle ARs are capable of 2 MOA (minutes of angle) accuracy. Most AKs are capable of 4 MOA. Most military ammunition is, at best, capable of only 3 MOA.

So, you have a 2 MOA rifle, shooting 3 MOA ammunition. Thus, at 100m, a four-inch group from your rifle, with any kind of sighting device, is very respectable! With shortness of breath, awkward firing positions, and time-pressure, groups will invariably open up!

Unfortunately, the naive expect 1 MOA accuracy from utility/battle rifles, because of articles they’re read in “Gun Lust” magazine. A military rifle capable of that would be so tight and temperamental, it would be unsuitable for any practical purpose anyway.

As noted above, parallax applies to human eyes, as well as to optics! We all “see” things in different places, even without the “aid” of optics, which, as noted above, may add their own dose of parallax!

Parallax is fundamentally incurable, so we learn to live with it, just as we learn to live with other limitations in our equipment, and in ourselves!”

Comment: Rifles are invariably individualized. Once yours is set up to your liking, someone else, when shooting it, may find no joy!

Rifles, thus, should probably not be shared. When they are, expect issues!



15 July 10

Another view on magnifying rifle optics, from a long-time LEO friend:

“Police need to be able to distinguish details at distances that exceed 100m!

We’ve found these kinds of challenges in our school environments, where we may have hostages, hands holding handguns, cell phones, just pointing, etc

A non-magnifying red-dot just cannot provide us with the critical information we need, any more than can iron sights.

Options we like include the pivot LaRue mount, with either an Eotech, AimPoint, or other swing-out magnifier that provides magnification when needed, and is out-of-the-way when not. Of course, one inherits some bulk, but we are convinced it is a small price to pay.

And, the excellent 1×4 Elcan Specter, that is both a CQB optic, and (with a throw of a lever), a 4x optic with exceptional clarity.

And, the Millet 1×4 DMS1.

I have used all these extensively, and they work extremely well for our purposes.

Elcan is expensive but features superior glass and clarity. Millet is low cost by comparison, but still very usable.

Add-on magnifiers and mounts will cost as much as the red-dot itself, and you inherit four lenses to keep clean, instead of just two, but, in modern law enforcement, we can’t live without magnification!”

Comment: “Where you stand depends on where you sit!”

There are many options to suit many circumstances. All combine wonderful advantages with annoying handicaps! You can’t acquire any desired “feature” without inheriting nettlesome disadvantages.

As always, my friend has courageously confronted his challenges in a most innovative way. He speaks from experience, and the equipment he describes is all top-drawer.

He is too!



15 July 10

The media’s morbid fascination with violence:

BBC recently produced a “documentary” on the unrelenting criminal violence in South Africa.

They focused on the “controversial” policy adopted by courageous South African Police of actually shooting violent criminals when they threaten people.

Not surprisingly, BBC is editorially opposed to the policy, but, with all their hand-wringing, they propose no alternative, except that good and decent people should expect to be murdered, raped, tortured, and maimed by violent felons and ought to accept it as their lot. They should surely never even think of doing anything to so much as inconvenience criminals!

In SA, crime is everywhere. Violence is common. Citizens are frightened. Politicians and bureaucrats, there as here, dither hesitantly, endlessly. So, police there have adopted the radical notion that, when someone is a violent murderer, you might have to actually do something physical, tangible, and serious. Perish the thought!

After countless violent murders, citizens themselves, weary of waiting on bungling political buffoons to actually do something, have armed and organized. But, the situation has not improved much.

Contrary to popular fable, guns, in isolation, are not the “Great Equalizer” of legend. Intense training and hard skills are still required, or the gun itself represents little more than a rabbit’s foot!

Even when you naively entertain the long-since discredited notion of shooting for a purpose other than projecting deadly force (eg: shooting to wound), it still requires skill!

Competent training is one element the media consistently ignores and pretends doesn’t exist.

Arming sheep does little more than produce “armed sheep!”



16 July 10

More comments on sighting system for serious rifles, from experienced Operators. As you can see, we are still far from universal agreement:

“When shooting with a red-dot, I never have to change the focus of my eyes. In my opinion, that is their best feature! My eyes watch my threat the whole time, which is what they naturally want to focus on anyway.

When the dot overlays the place I want bullets to strike, I press-off shots!

One of the hardest things about shooting a threat that is close and is trying to hurt you, is shifting your gaze from the threat and re-focusing on your front sight. Red-dots eliminate that

In McBride’s book about WWI, A Rifleman Went to War, he describes his perfect (then theoretical) rifle sight for quick shooting under exigent circumstances, and it’s basically an Aimpoint T1 that he’s depicting.

In view of the foregoing, like you, I’ve concluded that the T1 is what I want on my serious rifles!”

“Regardless of the Operator’s age, red-dots provide a significant advantage over iron sights, as well as traditional etched-reticle optics, particularly in low light. The vast majority of military engagements are inside of 300m. The addition of Aimpoint’s 3x, swing-out magnifier easily meets just about all magnification/identification requirements.”

… and on the other side:

“This past weekend, at the ACTS Combat Rifle Championship, the overall winner (a Marine) used iron sights. This young trooper bested a field sprinkled with red-dots, intense magnification, compensators, lasers, and whiz-bang triggers.

Sharp eyes and a good neural connection between brain and trigger-finger, lots of practice/experience, and a winning mindset can easily overcome a host of do-dads screwed to rifles.

Of course, this kid has the eyes of an eagle! Conversely, those of us in the ‘bi-focal stage of life’ may just benefit from high-quality optics, eh?”

“While red-dots surely offer distinct advantages, one still has to shoot well! When one has not yet figured out the difference between (1) ‘shooting things’ and (2) ‘shooting at things,’ the addition of modern optical sighting systems will still represents an exercise in futility!

When we all used iron sights, we made sure that we had a consistent grip on the rifle, a solid and consistent cheek-weld, and sustained sight alignment, while simultaneously executing a proper trigger press. By being compelled to carefully align sights, it forced our head into a repeatable, consistent position. Now, we naively think all we have to do is ‘put the thing, on the thing, and press the thing.’

It could be said that we’re forgotten that a consistent, repeatable hold on the rifle will cause a consistent, repeatable gun/shooter response to recoil, and thus a consistent flight of the bullet!

Optics are now sometimes mounted so high that any type of cheek-weld is impossible, and many Nimrods seldom even think about consistency in grip, nor in getting centered behind the sight.

No wonder they can’t hit anything!

Red-dots and magnified optics are still just a ‘sight.’ Again, it all comes back to the basics, lest we forget!”

My comments:

I have a number of serious rifles equipped with Aimpoint T1/H1s, EOTechs, Zeiss Z-Points, and Leopold scout-scopes, as well as iron sights. I don’t yet have a swing-out magnifier for my Aimpoints, but I soon may. I’m developing personal preferences, but my personal likes and dislikes are not important.

All the above comments are valid and need to be carefully considered.

I have no personal, financial interest in the success of any gun company, sight company, nor ammunition company. I’m free to say terrible things about all of them, and do!

However, in our current “Age of Excitement,” all of us had better be working on our rifle skills as if our lives depended upon it! We all need to get “set-up” and then get as many rounds downrange, as often as we can, making honest changes/upgrades as necessary.

Sighting systems will continue to evolve, and we all need to continue to seek out every advantage we can.



19 July 10

Paraphrased from comments of several colleagues:

“Recently, during a Rifle Class, we re-confirmed that, for most shooters using most iron sights, 300m is just about the practical limit for ‘hitability’ on any kind of legitimate, applicative target.

Between 300m and 400m, hit-probability predictably deteriorates to the point of irrelevance, and that is with all common, military rifle calibers

Of course, we all know that competitive, match shooters, using pampered rifles equipped with extremely slender sights (that are impractical for most down-to-earth purposes) and employing a ‘bullseye hold’ (which is only applicable when shooting bullseye targets), are able to hit at much further ranges, but, as noted, only with the aid of impractical equipment and unrealistic, contrived circumstances.

So, in practical application, most Operators can’t hit any better with an iron-sighted 308 than they can with an iron-sighted .223! Yes, 308s hit harder and penetrate more, but at the price of additional bulk, weight, and a significantly reduced amount of ammunition that can be carried.

When we get into optics, things improve, at least a little:

Non-magnifying red-dot optics extend the practical range for most rifles, in the hands of most Operators, to nearly 400m. Scout scopes perform a similar service.”

My comments:

However, the real advantage of non-magnifying red-dots is a significant increase in speed, and the ability to see all around the aiming-point.

The advantage of magnifying optics is the ability to discern downrange detail, but at the price of close eye-relief and thus an inability to see much of anything else!

‘Legendary’ shots (800m), such as the ones we’ve all heard about at Belleau Wood (WWI), are, at this point, unprovable, nor are they disprovable. One can read about similar shots supposedly made by Dutch farmers during the Anglo/Boer War in South Africa.

However, I think we can say with a high degree of confidence that, fact or myth, such alleged feats of iron-sight accuracy are mostly irrelevant! Opportunities for such shots are so rare, it is hard to imagine them representing any kind of battle-winning capability, even in the dubious scenario where they are accomplished routinely.

Modern Infantrymen/Operators need a handy, hardy, effective 300/400m rifle, in ‘medium caliber,’ like 6.8SPC, with good penetration, and equipped with rugged optics that are genuinely useable over the complete, delineative spectrum of circumstances and ranges.

They, with their rifles, will rule the world!



21 July 10

Guns as Weapons, the “Cult of Killing,” critical for the endurance of any civilization.

Contrary to modern, soft-headed thinking, “Killer” is a title that is not intrinsically evil, nor even sinister. It is a title that applies to me! Sometimes “killing,” while never a lighthearted activity, must be effected in order to protect innocent human life. Sometimes, in order to save an innocent life, we must abruptly end the life of an evil-doer. For such cheerless duties, competent and righteous “killers” are required!

Killers are not necessarily “murderers.” Murderers are always evil. They use violence to effect their evil goals. Killers use “force” in an effort to stop them!

In order to effectively counter the evil intent of murderers, we Killers must be competent in our Craft. We need to constantly practice our skills, and always be appropriately equipped, so as to be equal to the challenge when it comes.

In order to camouflage our pursuit of such excellence, some among us are continually apologizing, insisting that our guns are simply instrumentalities of recreation, like golf clubs, and that our practice sessions are just innocent, friendly competition.

The hard-core among us see the fatal flaw in such blatant fraud. As we attempt to deceive our feebleminded political opponents, we invariably deceive ourselves as well! Many of us have thus started believing that our guns are intended for, and thus should be used exclusively for, only mindless recreation and personal ego nourishment.

This idiotic thinking has infested even our civilization’s military and police communities!

We need to stop apologizing for being right! The unhappy facts of human history clearly demonstrate how right we are.

“Facts” don’t concern themselves with protecting reputations, nor do they worry about anyone’s next promotion, nor election. Comfortable people always prefer smooth lies to hard, lumpy truth. And, we often witness in our civilization that fraud, deceit, avarice, sloth, immorality, depravity, and even stupidity typically profit one much more than does honesty, righteousness, and decency.

Indeed, if righteousness were profitable, sainthood would be commonplace!

So, we willingly take on the titles of “Killer,” “Warrior,” and “Operator,” knowing full-well that we will never be popular among the naive, nor even among some in our own Camp, but we do it anyway

… even at the risk of being a “hero!”

“Barnabas Browning
Was afraid of drowning,
So he never would swim
Nor get in a boat
Nor take a bath
Nor cross a moat.
He just sat day and night
With his door locked tight
And windows nailed down,
Shaking with fear
That a wave might appear.
And he cried so many tears,
that they filled his room
… and he drowned!”

Shel Silverstein



23 July 10

“Who are afraid to fall on their face, will invariably fall on their ass!”

Tempestuous comments from the willfully naive, with regard to my last Quip:

“I’m perfectly happy, and willing, to deal with the consequences of my choices, because my choices are guided by a Higher Wisdom than are yours and have protected me from extensive, life-threatening, multiple perils in my life, without a gun ever having to be present…”

She says that now, while comfortably fat, dumb, and happy! Philosophical discussions are always best done on a full stomach, eh?

It is astonishing to me that there are still so many of these vain, conceited, self-absorbed twits, ever-dripping with self-anointed moral superiority, who smugly insist that God will shield them from all the uncertainties of life, because they are apparently so wonderful that they have somehow earned it!

When it is pointed out to them that nearly all old-testament prophets, along with new-testament disciples and apostles alike were ultimately homicide victims, they continue to arrogantly claim that “divine protection” is their right. God apparently owes them!

When disaster strikes, her egotistical “amour-propre” will precipitously, piteously be converted to anguished cries of “… this is so unfair!”

… always the “famous last words” of losers!



25 July 10

New Book!


It contains 254 pages of extensively revised and updated material.

Price is $25.00

Credit card orders online at www.DTIPubs.com. Use the Order Online button. Or, call us at 303 443 9817

It is also available at Amazon.com

You’ll find this an informative and inspiring text on the art and science of serious rifle and shotgun shooting, with many of the tips one picks up when attending our Courses.



25 July 10

Mexican Gangs, Now and Then!

From the 1500s to the present, Mexico has been ruled by a series of brutal and corrupt “thug-ocracies,” none of which have ever been able to exercise much more than marginal control of the Country. Not surprisingly, Mexican history is also liberally sprinkled with colorful, but equally brutal, revolutionaries. Most did not enjoy long, nor happy, lives!

No exception was José Arango-Arámbula (AKA Francisco Villa or Pancho Villa), rebellious from early childhood, who openly appealed (with occasional success) to Germany, the United States, and several other national entities looking to increase their influence in Mexico, for material assistance. And, he got it, at least for a while, from the Taft Administration, only to be cut off by the succeeding Wilson Administration.

Like so many old-testament prophets, hated and reviled in their own day, only to be revered as national heroes several generations later, Villa, today a romantic Robin-Hood in the minds of those who never personally witnessed his depraved barbarism, was, in his own time, simultaneously feared and hated by just about everyone, on either side of the border.

Villa, endowed with extraordinary political/diplomatic acumen, also displayed inordinate talent for inspiring his men and for ruthlessly keeping his local revolution going. And, his exceptional abilities did not go unnoticed. In the view of several Mexican monarchs, he gradually evolved from common bandit, to “ally-of-convenience,” to dangerous competition.

After Villa’s famous cross-border raid on the town of Columbus, NM in 1916, and lesser-known raids on Glen Springs and San Ygnacio, TX, revenge for being rebuffed by Wilson, the ever-dithering US President sent General John Pershing, at the head of a mobile army (which included a young Lieutenant George Patton), into Mexico in an attempt to destroy Villa’s band and capture Villa himself. It was, as it turns out, the last horse-cavalry expedition ever undertaken by the US Army.

Pershing’s expedition enjoyed the covert blessing of the Mexican government, who, by this time, was as anxious to see an end to Villa as were the residents of Columbus, NM. Pershing’s men were, for the most part, treated like tourists by locals. However, owing to Wilson’s exasperating micro-management, the year-long expedition failed, on both counts!

Unlike today, the US/Mexican border was, at the time, “militarized.” Detachments of US troops were permanently stationed in major border towns. In fact, a unit of US cavalry drove Villa’s band out of Colombus, NM and aggressively pursued them into Mexico. Columbus was, however, extensively burned and pillaged in the process, and a number of US Citizens were murdered. The cavalry’s response would have been faster, but for the fact their rifles were chained into racks in the armory, and of course “the-guy-with-the-key” could not be located.

Imagine that! Commanders and politicians didn’t trust their troops then, any more than they do today.

In the end, like Napoleon in France, Villa was first isolated to a remote ranch, in virtual exile. Then, when the government still considered him too dangerous, he was assassinated, shot to pieces while driving his own car, a 1919 Dodge Roadster, in 1923. He was only forty-five when he died, although he looked much older.

The dangerous situation along the US/Mexican border has not improved since 1916. The Mexican “government” is still weak and corrupt, and vicious gangs of revolutionaries still prowl the countryside. Only names have changed.

Bungling President Wilson at least had the common decency to recognize and acknowledge his responsibility to safeguard the Country’s borders and protect American citizens in border states.

The current administration fails even that basic test!



27 July 10

The New Mexican War, Coming North!

Recent data from the current armed conflict in Mexico between rival drug-gangs, and, occasionally, government forces, reveals many well-prepared ambushes, usually of vehicle convoys, sometimes individual vehicles. Military small-arms are mostly involved, and Kalashnikovs, ARs, FALs, et al are typically recovered in the aftermath. RPG launchers are occasionally recovered also, but few actual uses have thus-far been reported.

At least one gang is now employing command-detonated car-bombs, and using them to directly attack government forces.

Another commonality of these ambushes is that everyone is murdered! There is apparently little interest, on the part of any parties involved, in taking prisoners.

There is scant doubt that similar ambushes will start occurring within CONUS, in AZ, NM, TX, CA, and other states, so long as our southern “border” remains unguarded, indeed unattended, and US citizens living in border states, along with their property, continue to be written off by the BHO Administration, just as lives and property of Mexican citizens has long-since been written off by the Calderon Administration.

Those living and traveling in these areas will thus continue to experience an exponential spike in risk-exposure! When there, all must be extremely alert, heavily armed, and fully prepared to shoot their way out of life-threatening assaults.

As always, expert riflery will rule the day! Who represent a direct, imminent, and lethal threat must be located, identified, and neutralized without fail, and without delay. All of us, LEOs and non-LEOs, will have to become accustomed to the routine of traveling with rifles, as well as pistols.

Politicians, on both sides of the border, safe and secure behind an army of heavily-armed bodyguards (conveniently provided at taxpayers’ expense), are conspicuously unconcerned with the current level of carnage, and it is extremely unlikely they will become any more concerned as carnage increases, as it surely will.

Citizens and local police, abandoned by both sides, are on their own!

One comment on your rifle:

When hunting prairie-dogs, high-magnification, close eye-relief optics make sense. Conversely, when hunting leopards, you’ll get lenses away from your face, if you know what’s good for you.

Ask me how I know this!



27 July 10


Here is my “Leopard Story:”

While hunting in South Africa several years ago, I had the personal experience of suddenly noticing, out of the corner of my eye, that a leopard, a large male I never even knew was there, was staring at me curiously from my right, rear. I speculated, of course, how long he had been there, and how much longer I had to enjoy life!

I would never have seen him at all, had I been peering through a close eye-relief optic on my rifle, because the scope itself would have blocked the view of my left eye. Happily, the rifle I was holding at the time (and pointed in another direction) had iron sights. So, I saw the leopard, just in time to witness him scampering away.

I was lucky to have lived through the experience. I likely would not have, had my rifle been equipped with a typical high-magnification, close eye-relief scope. My last recollection while on this Earth would have been a finely-detailed image of a lonely springbuck at which I had my rifle pointed!

When reacting to a threat, assuming you see it in time, quickness on target is critical, and there is nothing in this world quicker than an Aimpoint T1/H1, forward mounted and away from your face. It is observably faster, and allows the Operator to see more, than is the case with any ACOG and, for that matter, any other close eye-relief, magnifying optic.

In addition, your rifle has to be ever-handy and ready to go. Accordingly, any red-dot optic will have to be “on” all the time, as there will be scant opportunity to mess with an on/off switch during an emergency. Aimpoint’s legendary battery life certainly favors this scenario.

Also, the T1, being small and short, allows the support-side eye to see around it. Not possible with bigger, longer, bulkier optics.

So, how about threats in excess of 100m distance? Well, a 4 MOA dot will subtend six inches at 150m, and that is a just about right for “leopards.”

Magnification, when needed, is necessary for target identification, not any kind of accuracy enhancement. A T1-equipped rifle is plenty accurate enough for just about any identified threat at any range within 300m.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I like the T1’s speed, ruggedness, and small size. It is fast and, when forward-mounted and away from my face, doesn’t prevent me from seeing other threats all around me, because it is not big and blocky and thus doesn’t block-out large areas of my view, particularly the view of my support-side eye, which I try to keep open.

Yes, I know! “Where you stand depends on where you sit,” and the needs of an Independent Operator (who are the ones upon whom I concentrate) are not exactly the same as those of an infantryman, operating as part of a larger group. And, neither have much in common with a sniper, and even less with a prairie-dog hunter.

No one combination of gear will serve all purposes perfectly.

You have to look into the future and decide what challenges are most likely, and prepare/equip accordingly. Since my personal crystal ball is always a bit foggy, I prefer universal tools that do most things adequately, but aren’t utterly dedicated to doing just one thing.

Specialization is for insects!



28 July 10

Signs of the Times?

From a student:

“As a family outing, we attending a baseball game at the downtown stadium yesterday.

I had tickets for ground-level seats, down the 3rd base-line.

As we entered our seating area, we all noticed endless warning-signs indicating that we would be sitting in a ‘foul-ball’ section. In addition, similar warnings could be heard every few minutes over the PA system. It would have been difficult not to have gotten the hint!

Sure enough, a number of fouls came our way. As they crashed down into the stands, I noticed three reactions on the part of fellow spectators:

(1) At least one fearless kid aggressively attempted to catch the ball, and was ultimately successful (after dropping it at least once).

(2) Two or three got up and moved out of the way.

But, (3) the vast majority just took a fetal position and froze!

This is apparently the programmed reaction most Americans exhibit to physical threats, even expected ones! Being ever-alert, facing the music, and finding a way to win is not a part of most peoples’ standard repitatoire.

Sticking one’s head in the sand evidently is!”


“The game of Poker is about personal discipline, calculation, but mostly Providence.

To bet on horses, dogs, random lottery numbers, on a little ivory ball rattling around a roulette wheel, or on raindrops sliding down a window-pane is, at best, a delusional, romantic weakness.

At worst, an addiction.

You must be persuaded that you have a special relationship with Fate, that you, for reasons beyond all understanding, have been blessed and chosen. Against all evidence to the contrary, you have to be an incurable optimist.

Who believe that have little chance of winning.

Who don’t, have no chance!”