2 Apr 07
My friends with big gun retailer in Oklahoma City, OK tell me that the one gun they sell more of than any other, week in and week out, is the S&W642, Snubby 38Spl revolver!
Many want to “go armed ,” and they think a five-shot snubby in a pocket provides what they need. The Taurus equivalent, which is perfectly serviceable and ten percent less expensive, has thus far failed to catch on. Most customers specifically ask for the S&W.
Most purchase the 135gr Speer Gold dot round to carry in their new snubby.
G19/23 is in second place, but the S&W M&P is coming on strong. Many consider it on par with the Glock.
XDs sell well also, but are hard to get. Supply is sporadic.
Scant demand so far for G37/38s. 45GAP is still an unknown caliber to many.
Slight demand for pistols chambered for 357SIG, but well behind 40S&W, 9mm, and 45ACP. This, in spite of the fact that the Oklahoma State Patrol carries the SIG 226/DAK in 357SIG caliber.
The new Taurus 1911 sells extremely well. It has nice features, and the price is hard to beat! It currently outsells all other 1911s!
223 ammunition, in just about any format, is increasingly hard to get. Most pistol calibers, 9mm, 40S&W, 45ACP are still in good supply.
The election season has, as always, spurred sales of guns, ammunition, and accouterments. It’s a good time to be a gun retailer!
5 Apr 07
Comments on SA’s new EMP from a noted gunsmith:
“As is the case with so many factory guns, the frame and slide were full of metal filings and grinding grit. The rear sight fell off the slide when I loosened the set screw. I replaced it with Heinie’s rear sight. The trigger over-travel adjustment screw was set too deep, and the sear was dragging on the hammer. Easily fixed.
On the plus side, magazines are beautiful, designed and finished well. Barrel lock-up is snug. Parts are sound. Accuracy is reasonable.
I test-fired the gun in the condition it arrived, and experienced several failures to feed. Rounds were stopping on the feed ramp. After cleaning out grit and metal shavings and generally slicking it up, reliability problems disappeared.
A number of sharp edges and corners needed to be smoothed; some fitting of parts was necessary, and the ‘ambidextrous’ safety lever on the right side of the pistol is now gone.
The recoil spring assembly should be replaced after two thousand rounds. Inherent to any pistol this small.”
Comment: All too typical of factory pistols these days! The EMP represents a good idea, and it is basically a sound gun, but, since labor is so expensive, finish is only half completed. Most competent gunsmiths can clean/slick it up, but it shouldn’t be necessary. Now that my copy is “finished,” (and has comfortably passed thorough testing) I have no compunction about carrying it. I suspect SA will sell a lot of these!
6 Apr 07
Golfers call it “The Yips”
The three-foot putt should be golf’s easiest shot. Experience has shown, however, that “easy” putts are where the entire game is often won or lost. In fact, some of golf’s best players have developed a recurrent, apprehensive fear of the short putt, so much so that this fear has effectively ended the professional careers of many of the games’s legendary players, including Tom Watson and Johnnie Miller.
The “Yips,” as it is called, can be described as a psychologically-induced, neuro-muscular affliction, always associated with anxiety. Symptoms include jerks, tremors, and freezing. Heart rates typically increase, and nerves become jangled. One can clearly see the Yips developing as the fidgety golfer leans over his ball and attempts to make multiple, often self-contradictory, adjustments to his stance and grip. His brain is obviously sending too many conflicting signals to arms and hands. When the club finally makes contact, the ball invariably shoots six feet past the hole, and the player unfailingly cruses himself and the whole disgusting game! It’s an affliction that sends aspiring golfers to clinics and personal trainers by the bus-load!
Professional golfers agree that the Yips is always associated with three conditions:
(1) The player cares about his personal score more than he does The Game, and the more self-conscious he is, the worse the Yips becomes.
(2) The player makes a habit of practicing unsound technique, and
(3) The player is hyper-analytical, so that he tends to over-analyze every situation and over-correct every perceived imperfection.
Since there is a lot of money in professional golf, teams of physicians and psychologists have studied the Yips in great detail. They have concluded that it is a combination of an anxiety-induced, uncontrollable twitchyness of muscles and focal dystrophy, and it is not limited to players of the game of golf. Similar symptoms are reported by dentists and surgeons as well as performing musicians, all of whom must have a delicate touch while under pressure
The other class of professionals who are affected are, of course, professional gunmen. In our Art, it is called “flinching,” “jerking the trigger,” “choking,” etc, but the cause is usually the same,
and the result is always the same: missed shots.
Golfers have discovered treatments which, while not eliminating the Yips completely, significantly cut down on its pernicious symptoms. Anxiety-diminishing drugs are now in common use among sufferers of the Yips. Unfortunately, no drug therapy is going to be helpful to us. To be of use to a professional gunmen, he would have to take the drug continuously, since he never knows when the next emergency will present itself. This solution is obviously no solution at all. We gunmen have to find a solution within ourselves, so that it will always be available to us on a moment’s notice.
One important step is to train correctly, eliminating wrong technique and wrong thinking. We need to realize that, as with so many of the ills to which flesh is heir, the Yips will never be completely eliminated. The best we can reasonably expect is to bring it under control, so that, while it will always affect our accuracy, it will cease to affect it significantly. Thus, when we train, we must, in our minds, always separate result from action. Right action is likely to produce good results, but there is no guarantee. Wrong action is unlikely to produce good results, but they sometimes happen anyway. That is why “good results” often reinforce wrong technique. We must stop demanding guarantees and understand that the best we can do is stack the odds in our favor. Even the best poker players in the world still don’t win every hand. The odds may favor them, but winning and losing is still part of every game.
In every fight, we must flow in a continuous whirlwind of action, never stopping until the fight is clearly over. We must never allow ourselves to suffer from the “paralysis-of-analysis.” Over-analyzing and over-correcting will lead to confusion and hesitation. Smoothing flowing from one action to the next, even when it is not all perfect, will generate victory far more often than will stagnation or indecisive dithering.
In training, we must not dwell on our failures. When we do, we simply reinforce what caused the failure in the first place, as well as breaking our flow of action with an annoying mental interruption. Cursing oneself after a poor shot makes it all that much more likely that the next shot will be a poor one also! Poor shots must be forgotten immediately. We must dwell on our victories and thus reinforce the actions that brought them about.
We must lose our fear of failure, of disgrace, even of death itself. We cannot care so much about the result that we become paralyzed. In every fight, we must go forward boldly, separating (in our minds) our action from the ultimate outcome, valuing the Game more than the prize, having strong faith that we will put forth our best effort, but making no demands upon chance. We must accept what fate issues to us, controlling what we can, and not worrying about the rest. In the end, we’re all dead anyway! In short, we must become smooth, cool-headed warriors, afraid of nothing. As such, we will be unbeatable!
7 Apr 07
Ancient voices with their advice to gunmen and poker players:
You may not always be right, but you can always be convincing. Announce your orders with a self-assured voice. This applies even when you are announcing checks and folds. “Right-action/right-mind.” A timid voice and bearing projects weakness and confusion of purpose.
Be righteous in thought and deed. Angle shooters are universally despised, as are petty thieves. Worrying about getting caught and subsequently disgraced will drain your energy and make you weary.
You are at the center of only your own universe. You and your troubles are of no interest to anyone else. Other people really don’t care about all your failures and your excuses for them, and when you talk about them constantly, you’ll be generally held as a loser and regarded with contempt. They will all quickly get the impression they are superior to you. Why would you want to reinforce that perception? Keep your troubles to yourself.
Only victims are victimized. People with patterns of loser behavior, such as whining, sniveling, self-pity, blame-shifting, rationalizing, excuse making, and never taking personal responsibility for their own actions encourage victimizers to select them for victimization. Conversely, winners always look and act as if they are walking on sunshine, even when they are inwardly troubled. Victimizers customarily pass them by.
You brought nothing into this world when you came, and you’ll surely carry nothing out when you leave. Everything in between is just fluctuation. Difficult to retain when on a losing streak, but remember this day is just one of many thousands in your life. Always take the long view, the longest view possible, and allow today’s annoyances to recede into proper prospective.
Don’t speak ill of those who make you look good. There will always be those greater and lesser than you. When someone is in the process of losing to you, don’t distract him from his task with unkind comments!
Gain is only important to those who have nothing important in their lives. Attempting to fill an erstwhile empty life with “stuff” is an exercise in futility. When gain is the only thing that matters to you, you’ll become so hooked on the feeling you get from a positive outcome, the pressure to perform will cripple you. You won’t bear the strain. What matters, and the only thing that does matter, is the way in which you influence history. By comparison, accumulated wealth is pitifully inconsequential. Live a full life. You’ll die soon enough!
Don’t just look. See! Study everything carefully. Most of all, look at yourself as others see you. The easiest thing in the world to do is stay where you are, particularly when you’re comfortable. The drudgery of perpetual self-improvement is something that is easy to procrastinate. But, the better you know yourself, the better your game.
Think! Don’t “feel.” Ask yourself, “How can I use this information to improve my situation?” Never ask yourself, “How does this information make me feel?” Those who are enslaved by their emotions and “feelings” are perpetual losers. They are universally regarded as weaklings, and are thus consistently selected for victimization. They only care about “feeling good,” and they are deathly afraid of “feeling bad.” They therefore predictably act exclusively according to that interest.
At every turn of a card, you have a choice. You can deal with the new information rationally and use it logically to plan your next move, or you can “feel” your way to calamity. You can use the information to improve your play, or you can use it to alter your mood. You can think your way to victory, or you can wallow in fantasy-land, where everything that makes you feel bad is displayed on an imaginary scoreboard, labeled “How I feel right now!”
“Feeling good about yourself” is something which must be earned; earned over the long haul. Instant “good feelings” are fleeting. If you chase them, the way an addict chases his next fix, you’ll blunder into one disaster after another. Runaway emotions are like fire. When you don’t put it out, it will burn itself out!
“The unarmed are not just defenseless. They are contemptible.”
9 Apr 07
Not long ago, I attended the demonstration of a pneumatic target system designed for pistol training. A crowd of police officers also gathered to see this new device. We all watched as pneumatically-actuated steel plates popped up and down from behind a steel sill. As you might imagine, this system allowed the operator to pop targets up and down in sequence, and for adjustable amounts of exposure time.
The manufacturer had a well-known, competitive shooter on hand to demonstrate his system. Ever the showman, the competition shooter performed several shooting exhibitions, using a typical hyper-tricked-out, race-gun/monstrosity and utterly impractical, competition leather gear. In addition, like all pistol competitors these days, he wore satin pajamas full of assorted, commercial messages. While entertaining, I wondered what the purpose of this exhibition was, other than pure amusement. When I put this question to the manufacturer, he replied that he wanted to show us all that his system can train police officers to shoot “really fast.”
“Why is that important?” I asked. “Well, don’t you want to be able to shoot fast?” was his exasperated reply. He went on by pointing out that his hired pretty-boy could consistently shoot plates which were exposed for a mere three-quarters of a second, from a range of eight meters, all from the ready position.
“I’m not sure I’m making myself clear,” I continued, “but I need to point out that your exhibition shooter, although starting from the ready position, has his finger in contact with the trigger all the time, even when he was not on target. Further, his signal to shoot is ANY movement of the target. Again, this is all entertaining, but it is NOT training.”
I reminded him that, in all legitimate, defensive firearms training, we teach students to keep trigger fingers in register until (1) there is a legitimate threat, (2) the sights are aligned on the target, and (3) the shooter has made the decision to fire.
I continued, “It’s indeed dramatic to be able to hit a plate in under a second from the ready position, but I DON’T THINK ANY OF US CAN EVEN ACCESS, MUCH LESS ACCURATELY EVALUATE, A THREAT THAT FAST, and training people to shoot things simply because they move, is not something that will be found in any legitimate defensive firearms training curriculum. Being able to neutralize a lethal threat quickly is surely an important skill, but incorporating unsafe, indeed reckless, habits into one’s protocol in an effort to shoot ‘really fast’ is an obvious misdeed.”
Not surprisingly, the manufacturer ignored my comments and went on with his demonstration as if nothing had happened.
Lesson: SLOW DOWN AND HIT! Don’t be mesmerized, or even particularly impressed, by pajama-wearing trick/exhibition shooters. They are entertainers, not fighters. They know nothing about fighting and don’t even carry guns.
Our colleagues at the FBI recently re-discovered, painfully, that the “fingers-on-triggers-at-inappropriate-times” syndrome is the source of no end of grief! How many catastrophes will it take for us to cement this lesson into our being?
Legitimate training is more than just ego-massaging masturbation. We are preparing officers for the fight of their lives! There are two kinds of pain: the (1) Pain of Discipline, and the (2) Pain of Regret. You can avoid one, but not both!
“The grave is a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.”
9 Apr 07
… and the Governor wonders why gun sales in his state are way up:
Here is a quotation from the IL State Police Web Page, under “Women’s Defense:”
“Use of a firearm to protect yourself or property is not recommended. Guns stolen from residences are a primary way of getting guns into the hands of criminals. Half of all the women that fire a gun trying to protect themselves shoot someone they do not want to, ie friend, neighbors, relatives, etc.”
Now, here is that mealy-mouthed twaddle once again, this time translated into plain English:
“You dippy bimbos are just too stupid to own guns. Some criminal will steal it from you anyway. Besides, you’re so half-witted, you’ll probably shoot yourself. In the end, you’re not worth protecting anyway.”
The article goes on to encourage women to attack violent criminals in the “groin, eyes, ears, nose and throat,” just so long as they don’t use the only weapon that is likely to be effective.
This is the kind of contemptible, condescending drivel that gives government a bad name. When this is the best advice they can provide, what shall we think of anything they say? And, shall we logically conclude that they really couldn’t care less about any of us?
10 Apr 07
Vented Pistol Barrels:
Students often bring pistols to classes with “compensated,” or vented, barrels. Glock offers “compensated” models of their pistols directly from the factory, and a number of gunsmiths offer the process as a retrofit. The supposed benefit of barrel venting is a reduction in muzzle flip and a consequent improvement in recovery time. However, the risk/benefit balance argues against barrel venting in any defensive handgun, particularly autoloaders.
Here are problems with vented barrels:
(1) Barrel cracking. I’ve seen venting cuts in barrels, on both revolvers and autoloaders, develop cracks that made their way all the way to the muzzle. Cutting holes into pistol barrels weakens the entire structure.
(2) Muzzle flash. Venting gasses upwards creates a wad of flame in the shooter’s sighting plane every time the weapon fires. The effect can range from a minor nuisance to a major bloom-out. Far from attenuating muzzle flash, venting typically exacerbates it, aggravating launch signature as well as hindering the shooter. And, the closer the pistol is to the shooter’s body, the more of an issue vents create. At extremely close range, vents will direct flaming gas directly into the shooter’s ribs and face!
(3) Reliability reduction. When autoloaders are vented, not only the barrel has holes in it, but corresponding holes must also be cut in the slide. Thus, every time the weapon is fired, soot, unburnt powder, and additional associated crud are blown under the slide in the vicinity of the muzzle. Normally, all that garbage is jettisoned out the muzzle, but a significant amount of it ends up between the slide and barrel on vented pistols. Before long, the pistol starts experiencing failures of the slide to go all the way into battery.
(4) Maintenance challenges. Cleaning vented autoloaders is obviously a daunting task. Getting all that caked-on soot out from under the slide and off of the barrel requires considerable elbow grease.
I don’t have vented barrels on any of my pistols. There is little to recommend them. The only holes your pistol barrel should have in it is the muzzle and the chamber!
10 Apr 07
The “Trigger-Slam” Technique
A student some time ago was shooting a 1911 clone with a exceedingly light trigger, and he was practicing the “trigger-slam” technique. One sees this technique mostly among competitive shooters, and it involves getting a running start on the trigger and then slamming the trigger finger into it. The entire body is held rigid. The idea is that, with the body stiff, the gun can’t possibly move much.
This student tried and tried to pass his qualification test and was unable to. The trigger-slam technique is just too inflexible. One can’t fine tune it to conform to changing circumstances, opportunities, and target windows. It’s a coarse, speed technique which only works with pistols with short, light triggers. It obviously is unusable with any trigger-cocking pistol.
The student finally had to admit that it was not working. He could make some shots but not all that he needed to make.
This is an inherent problem with all techniques which are equipment-specific and situation-specific. They are too narrow in scope. Human evolution, indeed all evolution, has shown us that change is one hundred percent certain. As change overtakes us, we can either adapt or go extinct. Those are the only two possible outcomes.
Lesson: I teach broad-spectrum techniques that work under the widest possible spectrum of circumstances. Inflexible, stilted, narrow techniques are invariably selected by those headed for extinction.
12 Apr 07
The Northwest Wars:
Nations like to recollect military victories, even when they are just a small part of a larger pattern of military blunders. The blunder portion is, of course, quickly consigned to the dustbin of failures that every nation keeps hidden. The space devoted in history books to a nation’s embarrassing episodes is rarely more than a footnote or two, and such things are examined in detail only by students of military history. However, there is much to be learned by studying the whole of history, instead of just the agreeable parts, and those of us who take our Art seriously must never succumb to the temptation to wear rose-colored glasses and thus fail to see the “suchness” of things:
The first phase of the American Revolutionary War, which began in 1776, finally ended via treaty in 1783. With few decisive victories to their credit, Americans had, over seven years of sporadic warfare, simply worn the British out. The Crown, now at war with France and weary of this foreign distraction, reluctantly recognized the independence of the various “United” States and withdrew its remaining soldiers from the Colonies. Florida remained in Spanish hands, and Canada remained British. A Constitution that would officially unite the former Colonies was still a long way off.
It was not until 1787 that, with the “Articles of Confederation” proving clearly inadequate, a Constitution was ultimately created, after a painfully arduous approval process. George Washington was unanimously elected first president of the Republic of the United States of America.
The Continental Army had been officially disbanded in 1783, although each of the former Colonies (now called “States”) retained its own militia. Washington soon discovered that he had no way to enforce his decrees. Seeing the problem, Washington hastily put together a regiment of militia “volunteers,” with each of the states contributing men. In most cases, the number was less than one hundred. The leader of the Pennsylvania contingent, Josiah Harmar, was appointed “Colonel” and given command. The Continental Congress viewed Washington’s “private army” with considerable suspicion, and they were not about to supply it lavishly.
Harmar discovered this the hard way when he tried, in vain as it turns out, to requisition supplies for his fledgling force. His men were paid intermittently and every kind of provision was continuously in short supply. Moral was low. Desertion was high. Yet, Harmar and his men were responsible for the preservation of peace in the entire “Northwest Territory,” a vast, ill-defined region occupying most of present-day Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and the western part of New York.
The British, still smarting from their embarrassing and ignominious defeat at the hands of what could not even be classified as a third-rate military force, were reluctant to close their forts in western New York, Ohio, and Michigan. Those forts continued to be manned and maintained by British soldiers, in unmistakable and flagrant violation of the “Treaty of 1783.” British were confident the new nation (lacking a king) would quickly fall apart and even more confident that the provisions of the treaty could not be enforced anyway. In addition, British were not about to give up their lucrative trade with indigenous Shawnee and other tribes.
What happened next would not have been difficult to predict. Shawnee warriors stepped up their raids on American settlers in the Northwest territory, secretly (and eventually openly) aided and supplied by the British. In addition, the Indians’ proclivity toward heartless torture and mutilation enraged citizens of the new nation and brought forth demands for action, at the federal level. Their clamorous demands could not be ignored for long.
Arthur St Clair (pronounced “Sinclair”), the general who, during the Revolutionary War, bumbled the defense of Ft Ticonderoga so nefariously that the fort was captured by the British without a shot being fired, proved better at politics than tactics. He was now governor of the Northwest Territory, and he aggressively lobbied Washington and Jefferson to send Harmar and his force to eject the Indians and the British from the area once and for all. With great misgivings, Harmar was promptly promoted to the rank of General, and the humble predecessor of the United States Army was off on its first mission!
Harmar’s force confidently proceeded up the Maumee and Miami rivers looking for Shawnee villages. They found and destroyed a few, but all had been abandoned prior to Harmar’s arrival. That should have been a clue! The Shawnee themselves had been watching and waiting for their opportunity. It arrived when Harmar foolishly divided his force and sent out small units in search of Indians. They found them! The small units were ambushed and wiped out one by one, and the survivors who made it back to the main camp were mostly injured and completely demoralized. With winter fast approaching, Harmar decided to retreat back to civilization with the remainder of his host.
St Claire was infuriated! The Army’s one and only General had shown himself to be inadequate to the task. Congress was also unhappy and not a little nervous! Many constituents were getting the feeling that the new nation was not long for this world. Congress had to do something fast to bolster confidence and save face, so they authorized a second expedition, this time under the personal command of St Claire himself, his former military blunders apparently a distant memory. They wouldn’t stay distant for long!
St Claire was confident that he could defeat his Indian enemies “in detail.” That is, Indians were seldom found in large bodies. If small war parties could be located and successively engaged by his large force, the entire male Indian population could be destroyed piecemeal. The few Indian men who remained, along with women and children, would then be forced to move out of the area. Twenty-five years earlier, the Northwest tribes had put aside their individual animosities and successively united under Chief Pontiac, but the emergence of a “new” Pontiac was considered unlikely. Unfortunately, intelligence gathering was so poor that political developments within the Tribes went unnoticed.
Unknown to St Claire, a “new Pontiac” had emerged. He was from the Eel tribe, and his name was Little Turtle. In fact, it had been Little Turtle and his highly organized army made up of amalgamated tribesmen, along with a party of British “advisors,” that had defeated Harmar, and Little Turtle now watched with eager anticipation at St Claire made exactly the same mistake as his hapless predecessor.
Upon discovering that several deserters had left camp one morning, St Claire hastily sent a large contingent, made up of his best soldiers, to pursue and capture them. It was the moment Little Turtle had been waiting for! St Claire was convinced the Indians would never attack his main force, even weakened by the departure of a significant portion of his soldiers. So, when Little Turtle attacked early one morning, his warriors found only a few sentries awake. Everyone else, including St Claire himself, was asleep.
The outer perimeter of St Clair’s camp was quickly overwhelmed, but soldiers in the center hastily formed a rank and fired a volley at charging Indians, just in the nick of time. St Claire dithered for several more hours but finally ordered a bayonet charge which further confused and ultimately disbursed the Indians. Before the Indians could get reorganized, St Claire and the survivors of his command expeditiously escaped and returned to civilization. St Claire escaped, but he had suffered significant losses. His expeditionary force of 2,400 had been reduced to a rag-tag, demoralized band of 472, with no victory to show for it!
Like Harmar before him, St Claire was the object of ridicule and was promptly stripped of his commission. In fact, his checkmate at the hands of Little Turtle became the focus of his life from that point forward, and he spent the rest of his days rationalizing his defeat to anyone who would listen. Few did! He died a bitter and broken man. Harmar also left military service and became lost in the obscurity of civil service. Nether Harmar nor St Claire ever commanded troops again.
Congress was now despairing candidly. Owing to two disastrous routs in a row, the proxy war waged by the British had now become a real war, with British “advisors” openly serving with Indian war parties. In desperation, Congress hastily raised a third army, only this time they prudently put it under the command of a general who had actually won a battle! The new commander was “Mad” Anthony Wayne, a brazen and crusty veteran who was famous for never letting his guard down.
Wayne wasted no time. He went right for Little Turtle’s throat. On 20 Aug 1794 his force lured Little Turtle into an area on the Maumee River where a massive tornado had touched down the year before. It was called “Fallen Timbers,” and it was here that Wayne’s army crushed Little Turtle so thoroughly that the entire Indian amalgamation fell apart almost overnight.
Defeated Indian survivors fled to a nearby British fort, but, famous for such double-crosses, the British refused to let them in! Without their former British allies, disheartened individual tribal chiefs now approached Wayne, one by one, and surrendered. The only “terms” they were offered was to evacuate the entire area and never to return, in exchange for their lives. They complied and left.
The British, as it turned out, shot themselves in the foot by depriving themselves of their only indigenous ally. They had figured that former white loyalists would join with them and allow them to keep their forts. They badly miscalculated. No one joined them. No one wanted them. Like the Indians, they too were jettisoned from “American soil” once and for all.
Again, the Battle of Fallen Timbers is what we all read about in history books. Harmar’s and St Claire’s disgraceful defeats are rarely mentioned, except in passing. Both British and Americans regarded it as an embarrassing and unsavory chapter in their history. Shawnee and other northwest tribes remembered their high-water mark only on song. Having no written language, succeeding generations forgot the details, and eventually the songs themselves faded away.
Anthony Wayne was elected to Congress, dying from gout in 1796. Little Turtle survived the Battle and subsequently became a celebrity, even eventually meeting George Washington! He died in (of all places!) Ft Wayne, IN in 1812, surviving Wayne by sixteen years.
The “Revolutionary War” continued, to including the War of 1812. Finally, in 1818, then in Florida, Andrew Jackson executed two captured Englishmen (one was hanged; one was shot) who were inciting local Seminoles. Those British nationals were the last two casualties of this protracted conflict, America’s longest war, which had begun forty-three years earlier at Lexington Common in Massachusetts. American and British soldiers would never fight each other again, although anti-British sentiments would continue in the new nation for several more generations, as would a national longing back in England to re-absorb America . In fact, as late as 1863, British were still meddling in American internal affairs as they sent military “attachés” to consult with Confederate military commanders during the American Civil War.
After siding with losers (first the French, then the British) northern American Indians found few sympathizers in the new American Nation. Any accommodation had been precluded by the hostilities of the last two generations.
Lesson: Wars need to be decisively concluded. That is: they need to be won! Unfinished wars reignite continuously. They are a plague upon history. As Doug Mac Arthur reminded us, “There is no ‘substitute’ for victory!”
History does not deal kindly with the arrogant and self-consumed. That is the lesson of the Northwest Wars. Indeed, it is the lesson of all wars!
Faithful dedication to worthy causes and the selfless sacrifice of an entire generation of brave combatants is customarily rewarded with little more than careless yawns by succeeding generations who owe their very existence to these courageous warriors. After the soil, soaked with brave men’s blood, is finally liberated, battered warriors rarely even hear a “Thank-you!”
In this world, civilizations come and go! Who take their existence lightly needn’t imagine they’ll be around long enough to regret it!
“All this through mighty deeds is done
All this by steadfast hearts is born,
And they through whom the laurel’s wonAre seldom they by whom it’s worn”
13 Apr 07
When you discover you’re booked on a flight that has just been canceled, you have several options. From someone who has had this happen at several inconvenient times, here is some sage advice:
In your carry-on bag, have a toothbrush, electric shaver, comb, and two sets of underwear. That way, even when you don’t have access to your checked luggage, you can at least look presentable for a day or two. A small plastic bag containing toothpaste and other toiletries, as well as required medications is also recommended. TSA has no problem with this, so long as quantities are small, and the whole thing is in a sealed, plastic bag.
Most flight cancellation are due to weather, which means no new flights are going to your destination for at least twenty-four hours. Whatever you do, you’re in for a miserable day and evening!
Here are your choices:
(1) You can try to get on a later flight, but, as stated above, nothing is likely going into your destination city for the rest of the day. When your airline isn’t flying there, others aren’t either! You’ll spend most of rest of the day and evening standing in line just to be told that!
(2) Try to get on a flight to a city close to your original destination. Once there, you may be close enough to rent a car and drive the rest of the way, or have someone come and pick you up.
(3) Rush to the rental car counter and get a car. If your destination is within a day’s drive, you may still be able to get there and maintain your schedule.
(4) Get on a bus to the local AMTRACK station. Often, when planes are not flying, trains are going along just fine! Again, when the distance is not too great, you may still be able to maintain your schedule.
(5) Check into an airport hotel and sit it out for the rest of the day. You may not be able to maintain your schedule, but a nice motel room and nearby restaurant it is infinitely better than spending a night or two sitting in an airport!
No matter what you do, you’ll not see your checked luggage for several days! Eventually, it will end up at the city to which it was originally checked, but, in all likelihood, the airline luggage system will be completely overwhelmed. It won’t be scanned in for days and will just sit there until it is.
There is no “good way” to deal with canceled flights. The above advice is just “the best of the worst!”
16 Apr 07
Our new contact in Iraq is:
Maj JL Nickerl
FPO AP 96426-3040
Maj Nickerl will see to it that everything sent over there gets to the Marines who need it most. We need to continuously remind these Marines that they are not forgotten!
16 Apr 07
Incident in VA:
As details of today’s murder spree (no, it not a “tragedy” It’s a crime!) in VA slowly trickle out, several facts are not in dispute:
(1) The perpetrator carried firearms onto a college campus in flagrant and contemptuous defiance of existing “rules” prohibiting guns on campus. Such rules were obviously a “deterrent” only to those who don’t commit crimes anyway.
(2) Every innocent person who was shot was, at the time, unarmed and defenseless. There were no armed, good people physically present as murders were being committed. No one in a position to stop these crimes had the ability to confront the perpetrator with lethal force. And, nothing less was, or would have been, effective!
(3) Armed police responded aggressively, courageously, and about as fast as they’re ever going to. Nonetheless, all murders had already been completed by the time they arrived. They did not get there in time to prevent a single one. They never fired a shot!
(4) With all recent, similar incidents, the foregoing has been the pattern.
The usual “solutions” are predictably being regurgitated by leftist politicians and media socialists, ranging from airport-like security at the entrance to all educational buildings, to a camera on every corner! No one dares mention the only solution that can work, or has ever worked: good people, armed. To naive grasseaters, such a thing is beyond imagination!
Real Americans, however, are not waiting for assorted political gasbags to, once again, make their tired case for a Soviet-style police-state. I just talked with a friend who is a large gun retailer in CO. Today was his busiest, single sales day in several years. People flooded his store and carried away nearly every gun and round of ammunition he had in stock! Americans are weary of hearing about government “security plans.” They are putting together their own, personal “security plan!”
Our Second Amendment, the original “Homeland Security,” is alive and well, except in designated “Criminal Empowerment Zones,” like college campuses!
17 Apr 07
News from ILEETA:
The 2007 ILEETA Conference in Wheeling, IL started today. Vicki and I spent most of our time at the huge vendor’s area. ILEETA has grown rapidly into a major force in our industry!
Ruger’s Mini-14 LEO version now comes with a rail on top, standard. Like all manufacturers, Ruger noted a relentless demand for the ability to mount EOTechs, Aimpoints, and Trijicons.
EOTech now has a separate “Magnifier.” It is a 3X scope that mounts directly behind the standard EOTech sight. It cleverly swings in and out of position, as the discretion of the user. 4X is also available. Many chiefs want this optional magnification, so shooters can make out detail downrange. Aimpoint has something similar. Close eye-relief is required in both cases, which is the downside.
ACOG now makes a “Mini-EOTech,” similar to the DR sight. Small and rugged, with zero magnification, it fits nicely on an urban rifle, and it will run fine with nearly any eye relief. I like it!
Meggit now owns both FATS and Caswell. The latest version of FATS is extremely sophisticated, incorporating just about every variable imaginable. They are already making military systems in an IMAX format, and that technology will be filtering down to law-enforcement versions before long.
Savage Systems has bought out Porta-Target.
Action Target is marketing a completely man-portable steel target, with integral (collapsible) stand, all for under $100.00. They’ll sell lots of these!
“Dummies Unlimited” is marketing “Cuff-Man!” It is a mannequin with realistically-jointed arms and hands that can be used for eidetic Mechanics-of-Arrest training. He can be cuffed over and over. Clever!
SIG’s new polymer-framed P250 will see the light of day in September of this year! Like S&W’s M&P and Beretta’s PX4, it will feature interchangeable grip panels (three different sizes), obviously a popular feature these days, eh? It will look like a 229 and feature the DAK trigger system. Smart move on SIG’s part!
19 Apr 07
More from ILEETA:
I had the opportunity to handle the compact version of S&W’s M&P Pistol. It is “just the right size” for concealed carry, about as small as it can get and still be useable. The copy I handled was in 9mm. A 45ACP version will be available by the end of the year. For those who carry concealed regularly, the M&P Compact is an excellent way to go.
The current, full-sized, M&P 45ACP has an optional, two-position, ambidextrous, manual safety, similar to the one found on 1911 pistols. It is there to fulfill some cockeyed, military “requirement.” While I regard it as a pointless redundancy, it still would not be a deal-buster, were it not for the “ambidextrous” part. Again, safety levers, facing to the outside as the pistol is carried, are dangerous and should not be found on any pistol that is carried on the person, particularly when it is carried concealed.
On a similar vein, Glock had on display their G21/SF. Slide and barrel are unchanged from the standard G21, but the frame is 1/8″ shorter, in order to be more appealing to shall-handed users. However, the grip continues to be too big for many.
Again, to fulfill some general’s wet dream, the G21/SF features ambidextrous magazine-release buttons, one on each side, although the pistol will also be available with the a conventional, single-point magazine release button only on the left side, as many (like me!) will have no interest in a magazine-release button facing to the outside as the pistol is carried, for the same reasons noted above.
In addition, the G21/SF, when equipped with ambidextrous magazine-release buttons, will NOT fit into conventional, G21 holsters. Conversely, with the single-point magazine release button, the G21/SF will fit just fine.
DSA showed their “Spartan” AR-15 and FAL. Both rifles are slick, smooth, and devoid of superfluous junk! All internal parts are NP3’ed by friend and colleague, Robbie Barrkman at ROBAR. Polymer coating (ROGUARD) on external parts. They will run and run! Nice package!
Safe Direction is making a full-function gun/range bag, with an integral, fold-out Safe-Direction, Kevlar pad. Now, you can always have your Safe-Direction pad with you for safe loading and unloading no matter where you find yourself. Everybody should have a copy!
First Light’s (1) hands-free, (2) hand-optional, (3) hand-directed flashlights now feature multiple levels of light and a strobe. First Light is re-educating us all with regard to what flashlights should look like and the way the should function and serve their users. All LEOs should have a copy!
Ka-Bar had on display their new “LDK” (Last Ditch Knife). It is an amazingly small and flat neck knife that can be worn, undetected by nearly anyone, dressed in nearly any kind of shirt. I immediately acquired several copies, so that all my children can have one!
19 Apr 07
More on VA Incident:
Truth with regard to the shooting incident in VA are hard to come by, since the media only interviews those long on hollow emotion and leftist political agendas, but, as always, short on facts! The media can’t seem to find anyone who actually knows anything.
However, since we know that the historical fatality percentage from handgun wounds is relatively low, why is it so high in this incident? The answer is unescapable: The majority of wounds were at contact distance and to the head. The conclusion is also unescapable: Most victims lined up neatly and waited patiently for their turn to be executed!
The goal of leftist politicians, to make all Americans (1) helpless, (2) defenseless, (3) frightened, and (4) utterly dependant is obviously succeeding! Being a “good victim” is now conspicuously considered one’s ultimate civic duty.
The “solution,” offered up by the “usual idiots,” who are the only ones the media ever wants to interview, is predictably more of what has perpetually failed in the past and failed miserably here: More cameras, more criminal-empowerment zones, more unarmed campus police, less individual self-reliance, and the elimination of all privately-owned guns. These are the same people who, not surprisingly, believe Communism really works. It’s just that the wrong people have been in change so far!
What has failed in the past will continue to fail! The only thing that will prevent these kinds of crimes are good people, armed. The one thing leftists are always too scared to try!
23 Apr 07
The current generation of video simulators, recently on display at the ILEETA Conference, exhibited an impressive and ever-increasing level of electronic sophistication. Conditional branching and verbal interaction are now standard. Prop pistols, rifles, and shotguns function realistically and no longer have tethers. Batons, Tasers, flashlights, and OC are all now optionally integrated into scenarios, and sound systems are vastly improved, providing enhanced realism and scenario immersion.
The downside with all current systems is still the fact that action is limited to a relatively small screen in front of participants, and they are thus not compelled to look all around , look up and down, move more than short distances, or turn to face threats coming from the side or the rear.
My friend and colleague, Tony Blauer, has effectively addressed these shortcomings by integrating physical roll playing into video-simulation training. It is an idea I wish I’d thought of! Tony are his crew demonstrated his idea at the Conference by inviting four video simulator manufacturers to participate in a round-robin presentation, where students were compelled to interact with live actors (coming in from the sides and rear) AS video scenarios played out on the screen. During the session, students had to deal with several developing circumstances, from all angles, simultaneously.
It struck me that this is an excellent enhancement of video simulation training and one we all need to adopt and make standard. Until all video simulators adopt an IMAX format, Tony’s idea will be the next-best thing!
Something else struck me as I watched students going through this training: Of all video simulator manufacturers, FATS and CAPS are the one closest associated with American policing. Their scenarios are realistic and reasoned.
Conversely, systems manufactured in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, though electronically sophisticated, displayed obvious cultural gaffs. The problem is that Asians and Europeans know nothing about guns or shooting, and their scenarios are heavily influenced by American movies and television, to which they mistakenly looked for verity. For example, we see criminals, upon being shot, flying into the air and landing on the deck ten feet distant. At the beginning of each video scenario, script on the screen reminds students to “Load your weapon,” as if weapons were unloaded up until that point! And, at the end of the scenario, we are admonished to “Make your weapon safe” (as if that were possible!). They apparently believe all police weapons should be immediately unloaded after the presumed last round is fired, while gunsmoke still hangs in the air!
It is painfully obvious that Europeans believe there is no such thing as legitimate self-defense, that police officers are expendable, and that violent criminals should never be shot under any circumstances. That naive philosophy is betrayed in, of all places, video trainers marketed to American police!
FATS and CAPS, while not perfect, still have the best scenarios for training American police.
I particularly like Dave Young’s CAPS System, because it is designed for use with live fire. However, we cannot, of course, integrate live fire with roll-playing.
24 Apr 07
Slow progress at NRA, from a friend and NRA Training Counselor:
“.. in NRA’s current edition of its ‘Guide to Basics of Personal Protection,’ we read ‘… racking the slide after sweeping the (stovepipe) case normally is not necessary. In fact, doing so may cause a double feed…’
This dubious advice obviously fails to address the situation where the shooter has a stovepipe but no round chambered! It is yet another ivory-tower technique, inspired by quaint, collegial competition shooting, not serious shooting.
Of course, NRA still runs only cold ranges, and their notorious Rule #3, ‘Keep all guns unloaded until ready to use,’ is intended for children and ignores adults who regularly keep and carry guns for serious purposes.
I’m beginning to wonder if anyone at the NRA actually carries a gun or has ever been exposed to up-to-date, relevant weapons training !”
Comment: Were it not for the NRA, our Second Amendment Rights would have, long-since, been regulated out of existence and snuffed out completely, so we all owe them a great deal of gratitude and our continued, enthusiastic support. They are great political advocates for our Cause, and we need them!
However, like any big bureaucracy, the NRA is infiltrated with stuffy grasseaters who are afraid of guns and who are infinitely more interested in sterile, uninspired, “safe” training than they ever will be in genuinely relevant, serious training.
Those of us at the tip of the spear must continue, undaunted, to refine and advance the Art, as we are the ones who really are!
26 Apr 07
From a friend and student who is also a lawyer:
“It is a rare thing to find an accountant, or a lawyer, who isn’t afraid of guns. Most have been spoon-fed Marxist dogma since they left elementary school. Since those two occupations infiltrate the upper echelon of most bureaucracies, it is not surprising that big organizations display an anti-gun bias, even gun manufacturers, even the NRA!
I had a discussion yesterday with a grasseating colleague about this very subject. His contention was that guns will ‘go off at any moment.’ I asked, ‘Has your car ever started itself and then driven itself around the block? Has your computer ever turned itself on and spontaneously composed a sonnet?’
I continued, ‘I have intentionally fired well over a million rounds of live ammunition, and never has a single one of my guns precipitously decided, on its own, to discharge itself, with no input from me.’
Again, no reply.
I continued, ‘If you eggheads would apply the same cold, incisive logic to this subject that you apply to everything else in your life, you would not be so easily ensnared by the Marxist con-job that simultaneously ensnares the ignorant and uneducated.’
Again, no reply!”
Comment: Most erroneous ideas quickly become discredited and are ultimately discarded, of their own accord, when they are just expressed clearly! Beware of chronic purveyors of weasel-words. They have good reason for not speaking plainly!
26 Apr 07
This List may be modified shortly, but these items are still in need by deployed Marines:
Knee pads. Contact KP Industries at www.kpindustries.com. Get hold Chuck Knox at 760 599 9882. Best ones are KneePro Tactical Ultraflex II in tan.
Oakley Pilot Tactical Gloves. Contact Ed Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him that CWO3 Phil Ross referred you. You’ll get a discount
Hatch Desert Tan Nomex Flight gloves. www.attackopgear.com
STICKY, ROLL FLY PAPER
Cold Steel, Emerson knives, fixed and folding
Dry lube, Hoppe’s, Outer’s, Remington
9mm and 223 Boresnake
Beretta OEM 92F normal-capacity magazines
Leatherman tools, “Wave” and “Crunch”
Gerber Utility Tools (similar to Leatherman)
LED “soft” lights (Map lights)
Again, our current contact over there is:
Maj JL Nickerl
FPO AP 96426-3040
Maj Nickerl will see to it that everything sent over there gets to the Marines who need it most. We need to continuously remind these Marines that they are not forgotten!
26 Apr 07
My good friend and colleague, Jim Fotis, is running for Sheriff in Prince William County, VA. Look at his Web Page at http://www.fotisforsheriff.com/
Jim is the kind of articulate spokesman for the law enforcement profession and for armed citizens that we need in that post, particularly because it is so close to Washington DC.
Jim has my endorsement. Right readily!
28 Apr 07
Clarification of NRA’s Rule #3, from a friend in the NRA:
“Keep all guns unloaded until ready to use,” is dissected in other NRA documents thus:
“A self-defense firearm kept in your home or carried concealed is defined as ‘ready to use’ throughout the entire period you have direct control over it. Conversely, unattended guns over which no one has direct control must be kept unloaded and appropriately secured, in order to prevent theft and inappropriate/unauthorized access.”
Comment: The “expanded” version of Rule #3 surely makes more sense than does the abbreviated version. The clarification is much appreciated.
However, I am still troubled that we apparently are prohibited from articulating important gun-handling principles in plain English, so we have to craftily assign mysterious, ill-defined double-meanings to words and phrases. It is almost as if our instructional booklets have to be written in cryptic cipher, so only the “initiated” get to know the real meaning, after the fashion of The De Vinci Code!
For one, I am weary of apologizing for the truth! For one, I prefer plain English, so my real meaning cannot be mistaken. Dancing around important issues with confusing double-meanings and weasel-words is the domain of charlatans. We expect such things from sleazy politicians, but not from heroes and righteous warriors.
28 Apr 07
Gun accident in SC:
“A gun-owner here dropped his pistol yesterday and subsequently attempted to catch it in mid-air. He was about to enter a local gunshop, where it was his intention that they perform minor repairs on his gun.
As he reached for his falling pistol (G22, ammunition unknown, but probably hardball), a finger inadvertently entered the trigger-guard, depressed the trigger, and the pistol discharged. The single bullet went through-and-through his left hand and then continued and went through-and-through his left leg, in the calf. The bullet thereafter demolished itself as it struck the concrete sidewalk.
He is scheduled to undergo surgery on his hand next week. The bullet passed cleanly through his palm, but some permanent disability will probably result. His leg wound required no surgery at all, just two band-aids!
After the ND, he continued to walk into the gunshop and asked the clerk to call EMS, pointing to his hand wound. He was unaware of his additional leg wound for several minutes thereafter, and would probably have remained oblivious had not the clerk directed his attention to a stream of blood emanating from his calf!”
Lesson: We cover this subject at the beginning of every Course:
WHEN YOU LOSE CONTROL OF YOUR GUN, LET IT DROP, UNHINDERED, TO THE GROUND. Then, immediately draw your back-up pistol and continue with the drill, leaving the dropped gun where it fell. We carefully pick it up only after the drill is completed.
We admonish all students not to try to catch, in mid-air, guns that have been inadvertently dropped. Neither the gravity-engendered trip to the ground, nor the impact, are dangerous! Nearly all modern pistols are drop-safe just for this reason.
What is dangerous is trying to intercept, with your hands, a gun that is in mid-air. In so doing, it is impossible to control where the gun is pointed, and it is impossible to guarantee that a finger will not unintentionally inset itself into the trigger guard, as obviously happened here.
29 April 07
Many, who don’t have time to acquire and send stuff to our Marines overseas in care of Maj Nickerl, have asked about just sending cash.
Friend, former Marine, and gun retailer, Joe Chetwood, or Murray, UT has generously informed me that he will be happy to send your package, containing items he is providing at his cost, overseas. You may contact him directly.
Howling Wolf Arms
5972 Roanoke Dr.
Murray, Ut 84123
801 808 6439
29 Apr 07
Another gun accident, this time in CA:
“A patrol officer from an LA suburb, with only a few weeks on the Job, accidentally shot himself four weeks ago. He is returning to normal duty next week.
He was walking out the front door of his girlfriend’s house, with her by his side. He reached into his right/front pocket in an effort to retrieve his car keys. Sharing that same pocket was a G27, not in a holster but loose in his pants pocket.
You guessed it! As he pulled them out, his keys caught in the trigger guard and made contact with the trigger. Both pistol and ammunition functioned normally! A single bullet went through the bottom of the pocket and entered his thigh. The trajectory passed through the outside of his thigh, exiting just above his knee. The wound was actually little more than a streak-mark, as, happily, the bullet did not penetrate significantly. He’ll inherit a sexy scar to show people at parties, but no permanent disability.
The officer’s first assignment next week is to the range, for remediation!”
Comment: PISTOLS CARRIED CONCEALED, OR OPENLY FOR THAT MATTER, NEED TO BE SECURED IN WELL-DESIGNED (PROTECTED TRIGGER AND TRIGGER GUARD), HIGH-QUALITY HOLSTERS, NOT LOOSE IN POCKETS OR RATTLING AROUND IN THE BOTTOM OF HANDBAGS. Carrying loose guns in pockets is fairly an invitation to disaster, as this young lad discovered. Fortunately, his “lesson” was not fatal. Many others have not been so lucky!
30 Apr 07
I recently reported from the ILEETA Conference in Wheeling, IL about my friend Tony Blauer conducing interactive, combination training, using a video simulator in conjunction with role-playing. I was, and continue to be, enthusiastic about this clever approach, as it gets us away from the “video-game” atmosphere that has plagued simulators since their introduction.
As it turns out, Tony was only assisting. The entire Program has been developed and refined by
Randy Revling and his crew at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, WI, and they are the ones who deserve mention and credit.
Out Art needs constant advancement and refinement, and these are the guys who work at it every day. Good show, Randy!
30 Apr 07
Handgun Training in the Philippines, from a friend there:
“I was recently asked to assist with defensive handgun instruction. The instructor is an acquaintance, and two of his students had just narrowly escaped a kidnapping attempt.
However, I had to check my candor when the instructor emphasized the need for chambers to be empty whenever a pistol is carried. The reason given was: ‘When we are aware enough of our surroundings, we will always have plenty of time to chamber a round. The rest of the time, the pistol will be ‘safe.’‘
During the first break, I spoke in private with my friend and said:
(1) Racking the slide is normally a two-handed procedure. Those of us unlucky enough to have our support hand already critically occupied will find your technique unusable, at a most inconvenient time!
(2) While we all struggle to remain ‘switched-on’ (condition yellow) all day, there will be moments wherein we are less alert than we should be. Having to rack a slide AFTER being caught with our pants down will not contribute to our happiness!
(3) When the student loads his pistol and then discovers he doesn’t need to shoot immediately but does need both his hands, what does he do with the pistol? Does he holster it in its loaded condition, having never been trained to carry a loaded pistol?
He flat refused to even mention carrying a truly loaded pistol, saying that it was too dangerous for beginners. Of course, to him all students are forever ‘beginners,’ as he indicated he never allows loaded pistols on any range, no matter whom he is training. I countered that during my experience with hot ranges (including yours!), I had never observed a single ND.
I then thanked him for inviting me and abruptly departed, wanting nothing more to do with this blatant fraud.
Serious guns are loaded! Who can’t get past this primary axiom needs to reconsider his interest in the entire subject.”
Lesson: Competent teachers don’t pussyfoot about the subject of serious weaponcraft! We tell students, in plain English, (1) What kind of commitment our Craft entails, (2) What sacrifices will be required , and (3) What gains can reasonably be expected. We develop correct habits, so our students can fight effectively with any weapon. We push them, making sure that “safety” is a function of the mind, not the result of some gadget. Delusion is not part of the professional gunman’s calling!