4 Sept 07
Incident in OK, from a colleague there:
“One of my off-duty officers was at a local convenience store last Thursday. Staring at him, he noticed a VCA he had previously arrested for assault. Our officer turned to leave, having no wish for a confrontation. Unfortunately, the suspect, actively seeking a confrontation, continued to stare, cursing under his breath.
The suspect made his move, walking over to our officer, fists clenched and by now cursing and threatening loudly. The officer stepped back, assuming an interview stance. He politely told the VCA that he couldn’t help him and that he needed to move on. Suddenly, the suspect reached into his pants pocket.
Using a technique called “bursting,” our officer pinned the suspect’s hand with his support hand and simultaneously punched him in the face with the other. This maneuver sent the astonished suspect sprawling to the ground. Before he could recover, our officer delivered several more precise strikes, then backed off and commanded the suspect to stay on the floor. Other officers arrived quickly and took the suspect into custody without further incidence.
This particular officer is a true Operator. He trains constantly and attends continuing education at every opportunity. Here is an example of preparation and opportunity having a chance meeting!”
Lessons: Be alert/aware. Go armed. Know when to disengage, and when to stand and fight. Overwhelm your opponent quickly. Don’t allow him to recover. The best kind of fight is a short one!
Comment: Our civilization is stuck in “negotiation mode.” We have deluded ourselves into foolishly believing that all criminal violence can be dealt with effectively through negotiation. We have unwisely tried to persuade ourselves that it will never be necessary to stand and fight. We couldn’t be more wrong!
Force may not always be the answer. But, when it is, it is the only answer!
7 Sept 07
Range accident, from an instructor in SC:
“We had a accident on our police range Friday.
One of our instructors left the line to take a phone call. While back at the administration building, he raised his safety glasses, placing them on his forehead. We concluded our course of fire and were preparing to leave the range just as he returned to the line, with his safety glasses still on perched his forehead! Nobody, including me, noticed.
We had finished shooting, but a student was in the process of unloading his AK-47. With his muzzle correctly pointed downrange, and after removing the magazine, he pulled the bolt to the rear briskly in order to remove the chambered round. As you know, Kalashnikovs eject with much force, typically flinging the round, or ejected case, a considerable distance.
You guessed it! The ejected round flew down the line and struck this instructor right in his unprotected, right eye. He immediately dropped to his knees, in great pain! He had to be transported to the hospital, and we still don’t have a prognosis.
This is the first significant injury we’ve experienced on this range”
Lessons: Harmful objects fly around ranges with no objective predictability, and not all are associated directly with shooting! That is inherent in the nature of ranges and of any shooting activity. Accordingly, while on any shooting range, eye protection must be worn constantly, by everyone, not just active participants, and not just when people are actually shooting.
It’s cheap insurance!
7 Sept 07
SIG’s Short-Reset Trigger (SRT):
This week, I had the opportunity to use a SIG 229, equipped with SIG’s SRT system. The second and subsequent shots from this pistol (until it has been decocked) all reset crisply and distinctly, but the reset point is shallow, similar that found on S&W’s four-digit autoloading pistols. Of course, the SRT System is only available with SIG’s manually-decocking pistols.
For now, SIG will continue make pistols on all three systems (four, if you count the new single-action 220). That is, some may still prefer the conventional, deep-reset SIG trigger, and others will want the new SRT, while still others will prefer the self-decocking DAK System.
My conclusion is that the SRT is a real boon to Operators who can recognize, appreciate, and take full advantage of the increase in speed and accuracy this shallow reset affords. The difference between the conventional deep-reset trigger and the SRT is surely noticeable among experienced gunman. Probably not among amateurs.
The SRT is available on most SIG models, and, for seasoned Operators, I recommend it. It will eventually be available as a kit/retrofit, as the upgrade involves the replacement of only four parts.
Many, like me, will still prefer SIG’s DAK Trigger System for its simplicity, but SIG is obviously doing its best to appeal to both the beginner and the sophisticated shooter, the glib competitor, and the serious gun-carrier/Operator. They listen, and I admire them for that!
7 Sept 07
Federal Flight-Control Shotshells:
At a LEO Program this week in OH, one of my students, Training Officer for a large agency, brought a copy of his department’s short-barreled Mossberg 590 shotgun. He came with two brands of 00 buckshot ammunition. His agency does not issue slugs nor any other size of buckshot.
Current department-issue is WW “reduced-recoil” buckshot, and he had a supply of that. However, he is considering switching over to Federal “Flight-Control,” also in 00 buckshot, so he had some of that also.
The Federal rounds are full-power (not “reduced-recoil), and the recoil difference is noticeable when one shoots one, then the other.
However, what jumped out at all of us was the difference in patterning! Shooting at ten meters, WW rounds consistently produced twelve-inch, uniform-density patterns out of the short-barreled shotgun. Out of the same shotgun, Federal rounds produced dense, eight-inch patterns. A two-thirds reduction! From an eighteen-inch-barreled shotgun, the same Federal round produced four-inch patterns, an eighty-percent reduction, all uniformly dense, and with no flyers.
Wad technology employed by Federal is clever. The one-piece, plastic wad has fins that deploy after exit from the muzzle. When deployed, the fins resemble those on a high-drag bomb. They are designed to immediately slow the wad and prevent it from overtaking and passing through the pellet mass. It works, in spades!
A similar effect can be attained with conventional buckshot rounds on shotguns equipped with the wad-retarding Wad-Wizard device or that have been modified with a Vang-Comp. Now, Federal has incorporated the technology into the shotshell itself.
When using this ammunition, even in a short-barreled shotgun, one is essentially shooting a “bullet” between the muzzle and seven meters. Maximum useable range has been effectively extended from twenty meters to twenty-five meters; thirty meters with an eighteen-inch barreled shotgun!
For those using shotguns for serious purposes, Federal Flight-Control is a good way to go!
8 Sept 07
Do we need to add another step to our Tap-Rack-Resume procedure?
At one time, I advocated, as part of our autoloading pistol stoppage-reduction procedure, that one should, as a first step, first release the trigger all the way and then press it again. Only when that failed to get the pistol running need one continue with the T/R/R.
However, we began eliminating that first step when most of our students started showing up with striker-fired pistols, like Glocks.
Striker-fired pistols lack a traditional, arching hammer. The ignition system is littler more than a spring-loaded firing pin. There are many advantages, but there is one disadvantage: striker-fired pistols cannot be made with a double-strike capability. That is, when the striker falls on a dud round, releasing the trigger and pressing it again accomplishes nothing! The entire slide must reciprocate normally in order for the trigger to reactivate, a procedure that will, of course, remove the bad round and replace it with a fresh one.
By contrast, trigger-cocking, hammer-fired pistols, which feature an arching hammer and separate firing pin, can be designed so that, when the hammer falls on a dud, releasing the trigger and pressing it again will re-cock the hammer and cause it to fall a second time on the same round, without the slide having to reciprocate, or move at all. Most trigger-cocking, hammer-fired pistols, like SIGs, feature a double-strike capability. Some don’t.
The dud round is often not “dead,” but just recalcitrant, and a second strike will cause many to fire normally. Accordingly, some argue that a “double-strike” capability is a desirable, even critical, feature on a serious pistol.
In any event, we reasoned that pressing the trigger a second time should be part of the stoppage reduction procedure, only with hammer-fired pistols, and, of those, only the ones that have the double-strike feature.
However, it isn’t just “duds” and empty chambers that cause pistols not to fire when the trigger is pressed. There are two other conditions that give rise to the same result: (1) The slide is out of battery far enough to activate the disconnector, and (2) the shooter short-stroked the trigger, failing to let it go forward far enough to “catch the like” (engage the reset). Both these conditions occur with striker-fired and hammer-fired autoloading pistols, and releasing the trigger and pressing it a second time will surely remedy the second and may well remedy the first also.
So, should we reinstate a second trigger press as the first step in our stoppage-reduction procedure, with all autoloading pistols?
I say yes! It is a quick step, consuming only a small fraction of a second, and many of our students are unconsciously doing it already! I’ve found it easy to teach, and students pick it up quickly and naturally. However, a single, second drop will suffice. When that is not efficacious, the student must go on with T/R/R, rather than pressing the trigger again and again.
9 Sept 07
Field use of Federal 12ga Flight-Control Buckshot, from a range officer with a large Midwestern PD:
“Last week, one of our patrol officers confronted a single, armed, robbery suspect at a range of ten meters. When the suspect made threatening verbalizations and gestures, the officer fired a single shot from his department-issued Remington 870. The round was Federal Flight-Control 00 Buckshot.
The tight cluster of 00 pellets struck the suspect in the right side of his hip. He went right down, offering no further resistance. At the hospital, attending sturgeons asked if the suspect had been hit with a slug. We assured them that it was a single, buckshot round.
X-rays revealed that several pellets were still in the suspects’s body, but that most had transverse-penetrated and subsequently exited. Tissue destruction was copious, so much so that the suspect’s right leg had to be amputated at the hip. He is expected to survive, but has obviously sustained permanent, disabling/disfiguring injury.
We are most pleased with this round’s fight-stopping ability. This suspect went from dangerous/threatening to meek/crippled, all in less than a second!”
Comment: It is difficult to imagine a better fight-stopping effect than described in the foregoing. Federal’s new wad technology represents a pivotal improvement in shotshell performance, breathing new life into the “old-standby” police shotgun. Something we all need to look at seriously!
9 Sept 07
A friend just returned from AK, where he worked on a protective detail, protecting field surveyors and others from bear attacks in the wilderness:
“We used shotgun-launched, rubber slugs to ostensibly “discourage” curious bears who came too close. Results inspired little confidence, particularly with large males.
Brenicke three-inch slugs in pump-shotguns were used to “stop” committed bear attacks. While in common use, ostensibly for that purpose, they are minimally adequate when used against mature bears. Those who depend upon them are largely kidding themselves, in my opinion. To get a dependable stop, better choices include rifles in 45-70, 338, 375, or 458WM. Even then, against a charging Grizzly, crashing through alders and willows, your window is less than two seconds. A smooth mount and careful trigger press are still required. You’ll probably not get a second chance!
Slings are not recommended! They get constantly tangled in underbrush, and having your longarm in hand and immediately available for use is superior to fumbling with a slung weapon in thick vegetation.
Short barrels are better than long ones! Once again, trying to swing a long-barreled rifle or shotgun in thick brush is an exercise in futility. On five occasions, I spotted bear beds with fresh, steaming scat only feet in front of me. I literally blundered into them! Under such circumstances, speed of deployment is critical.
Longarm optics: When one is hunting bear, scopes may be satisfactory. But, on protective details, optics on longarms are contra-indicated. It is difficult to describe the extreme speed at which bears can close the distance between them and you! Many protective escorts, even hunters, have been killed as they dithered, confused by, and lost in, their telescopic sights. Zero-magnification EOTechs and Aimpoints might be the exceptions, but my comments on them will have to wait for another day.
Handguns in 45ACP, 40S&W, 357SIG, and 9mm are fine for people, but none of those rounds will do any more than annoy a bear! None are recommended. Revolvers chambered for 41Mg or larger are recommended, but only as back-up.”
Comment: Confronting dangerous game, inadvertently or intentionally, is no activity that should ever be undertaken by the nonchalant! As I discovered last February in Africa: (1) Use enough gun, (2) Don’t dither/hesitate, (3) Be smooth, fast, and deliberate; (4) Don’t miss!
10 Sept 07
I had the opportunity to thoroughly test my Aimpoint Micro that is now installed on our Remington 11-87, 20ga Shotgun. It is forward-mounted, with a full, twenty centimeters of eye-relief. Shooting Federal, three-inch, Premium, #2 Buckshot, it is a legitimate twenty-meter gun!
The Aimpoint is fast and eminently useable! It’s small bulk and weight makes the shotgun handy and agile. Target pick-up and analysis is effortless.
I particularly like Aimpoint’s “constant-on” feature. I never have to remember to turn it on or off! EOTech’s automatic shut-off feature surely preserves battery life, but the unit sometime shuts itself off at inconvenient times!
A shotgun set up like this makes a formidable weapon that is easy to use effectively.
The Aimpoint Micro is available from my friend, Mark LaRue
850 CR 177
Leander, TX 78641
512 259 1585
11 Sept 07
LaserMax Rifle System
Last weekend, I also had the opportunity to use and evaluate LaserMax’s compact rifle-mounted system. Within minutes, it goes right on any rifle that has rails, and it can be at least coarsely adjusted by coordinating it with existing iron sights or optics.
LaserMax employs a pulsating, rather than a constant-on, laser. Pulsations are designed to catch the user’s attention, and it really works. I think it is significantly superior to a constant-on laser. Even in daylight, one can, without much difficulty, find the laser dot out to twenty meters, even when wearing sunglasses!
However, when the target starts moving, it is difficult to keep the dot on him. Even the pulsating dot typically gets lost, except in low light. Indeed, in low light the whole laser concept comes into its own, but one must drill until he can move the rifle smoothly. The temptation is to constantly overcorrect.
The great advantage of having this laser available is that you can keep track of target movement, keeping both eyes open, and using a chin-weld. With iron sights and optics, moving targets have an annoying habit of moving out of the shooter’s field of view. The shooter than must depress the muzzle, open both eyes, relocate the target, remount the rifle, and reacquire the target, only to have to repeat the entire process more-or-less continuously so long at the target remains in motion.
Aimpoints and EOTechs have the advantage of having a wide field of view, so the shooter can spend more time “in-his-sight” than is possible with iron sights, but even they have limits. Conversely, with the LaserMax System, the target really can’t get away from you!
There are disadvantages:
A laser has a distinct and conspicuous launch signature, made all the more conspicuous by gun-smoke, dust, and fog. Thus, it can’t be “on” continually. As with a flashlight, one must use it only intermittently, changing position when it is off.
Lasers are most useful in low light. In bright sunlight, even pulsating lasers are only marginally useful. And, in total darkness, that dancing red dot downrange provides one with scant useful information. In total darkness, one must use the laser on concert with a flashlight.
Accuracy is limited. My laser is mounted under and left of the muzzle. I have it set dead-on at forty meters. At less than forty meters, the dot will be slightly low and left of actual bullet impact. At greater than forty meters, impact will be high and right.
Overall, LaserMax deserves credit for making this unit so rugged, convenient, and compact. On balance, advantages outweigh disadvantages.
It has a place!
13 Sept 07
Operant training is always “personal.”
All training is simulation. Particularly with regard to firearms, we can make training only so “real.” In Western Civilization, a high level of training casualties will not be tolerated, as it is in other cultures. Any training that becomes excessively hazardous, to the point where trainees and others are seriously injured on anything more than a extremely rare basis, will be shut down immediately. None of us doubts that.
Under these restraints, and in the short amount of time we have to work with our students, how do we train them to be routinely victorious in serious fights, when most of them have never participated in any kind of physical fight and are inclined to take little of what we say seriously? Short of actually shooting at them, how do we “wake them up” and ultimately inspire them to start thinking in terms of personal victory?
It is my contention that, sometime during their training, students must attain a personal, emotional involvement/investment. That is, at some point they need to get mad! They need to get angry with themselves, with their equipment, with the challenge at hand, with me. They need to be exhausted, exasperated, and personally embarrassed by their own performance. Once they become annoyed to the point of anger, it all suddenly becomes personal. And, once I set that emotional hook, real learning will finally start. I can touch their hearts, and my students will, at long-last, begin to benefit from what I am trying so desperately to share with them.
We trainers are only too skillful at presenting information in the abstract. In fact, many of us are accomplished showmen, cleverly, garishly acquainting student with facts. But all too often, while the circus proceeds, both we, and they, remain too emotionally removed, too content to sit back and be entertained, too accustomed to being in the bleachers rather than in the arena, too used to aspiring only to the minimum necessary to meet some arbitrary, and ridiculously low, “standard.”
Accordingly, getting students out of their “comfort zone” and in the arena has to be a primary goal of anything that legitimately claims the title of “training.” Students should never be led to expect a relaxing, entertaining, comfortable, or “fun” training session. Scant will ever be accomplished thus. Until training becomes “personal,” we’re mostly running in place.
14 Sept 07
When carrying rifles and shotguns while moving in tactical environments, I’ve advocated keeping the muzzle down and the stock indexed into the shoulder. In fact, “muzzle-down; head-up” is the by-word with all longarm handling.
However, my colleague, Henk Iverson, showed me a better way of positioning the rifle while in the depressed-ready position. He calls it the “Flat-Stock” technique, and I’ve gradually come to see its inherent superiority.
When the rifle is at eye level, we emphasize the importance of a consistent cheek-weld that reliably positions the eye in line with the weapon’s sights. However, we can only “stay-in-the-sights” for short periods, because our view is limited. Except when shooting, and particularly when moving, we must arc the rifle downward, open both eyes, and move our head, so neither threats nor other important details escape our notice.
Heretofore, we’ve arched the rifle straight up and straight down. Now, when arching the rifle downward, we rotate the stock ninety degrees counter-clockwise (right-handed shooter), so that the stock lays flat on our shoulder. That will, of course, necessitate a half-turn when the rifle is remounted, and therein is the great benefit if the “Flat-Stock” technique.
That half-turn during remounting arrests the rifle’s motion as the sights lock on target. This is particularly apparent when the shooter is pivoting and mounting simultaneously in an attempt to engage a threat to the side. The flat-stock technique, by and large, eliminates characteristic over-shooting of the threat and subsequently over-correcting when trying to get back on target, that is commonly associated with the conventional, straight-stock technique.
I now teach the flat-stock technique and find most students pick it up right readily. Speed and accuracy are substantially increased (as is weapon retention, owing to ease of retraction) and over-shooting/over-correcting is essentially eliminated.
Rubber butt-pads need to be removed on longarms with which the flat-stock technique is used, as they will snag on clothing as the stock torques on the shoulder.
14 Sept 07
Exigent Gun Maintenance:
There are many wonderful commercially-available solvents, lubricants, and devices made specifically for firearms maintenance, and all work well. However, in a crisis, none of that stuff is likely to be available. What still will be universally available is (1) hot, soapy water, (2) diesel fuel, (3) transmission fluid, (4) old T-shirts, (5) a toothbrush. Those five items can be used to adequately clean and lubricate nearly any gun, and you’ll seldom find yourself in a place where they are not readily at hand.
After soaking for a few minutes in hot, soapy water, nearly all hardened deposits of crud on gun parts will soften and can then be easily removed with a toothbrush. After a subsequent hot-water rinse, excess moisture will self-evaporate. A light coat of diesel fuel can then be applied to prevent steel parts from rusting. Chamber and bore are particularly susceptible to rust and must be continuously coated with oil.
Only water will dissolve various salts that are mixed in with sooty grime. No petroleum-based solvent will. Salt is corrosive to metal parts, and hot, soapy water is still the best way to remove it.
On any car or truck, both transmission housing and crankcase have dipsticks. Remove the dipstick from the transmission. On the tip will be several drops of transmission fluid, one of the best lubricants in existence! Half-dozen drops of transmission fluid is all that is necessary to adequately lubricate most guns. The power-steering-fluid reservoir is also easily accessed on most cars and is filled with what amounts to the same stuff. All moving parts that rub against other parts should be lubricated. On large-caliber pistols, dipsticks can be used to drag an oily T-shirt remnant through the bore.
Gasoline is an unsound choice for cleaning guns. Gasoline has a paraffin (wax) base, and, when the aromatic portion evaporates, a coating of wax is left on parts. Wax is a poor lubricant, and holds grit. Little to recommend it! In addition, gasoline vapor is unhealthy and extremely flammable. A superior choice is mineral spirits (paint thinner), when available. Mineral spirits is also flammable, but much less so, and it is a powerful solvent that leaves neither wax nor oil residue behind.
These is little reason, and even less excuse, to be packing poorly-maintained guns. In exigent circumstances, we may have to get creative, but sensible gun maintenance at the user level is always possible and ever necessary!
16 Sept 07
CQB class to be held 2-4 Nov 07 in Columbia, SC.
Richard Wright and I are offering a new class this fall, Close Quarter Battle. This class will deal with the realities of close confrontations with VCAs. We will deal with the realities of shooting and fighting from contact distance to a maximum of five meters.
This is a cutting-edge class, as we will, for the first time, integrate force-on-force drills with live fire drills (done separately, of course), in order to see if what we do on the range holds up to the realities of real fighting and live, thinking opponents. We will put aside our real guns and don AIRSOFT weapons.
How will you perform in your next gunfight? Do your square-range techniques really work, or are you praying at the alter of a false god?
Come and train with us… and find out!
Get hold of Rich Wright at Labradorone@bellsouth.net
18 Sept 07
Late last week, Vicki and Diane Nichol presented their famous “Teaching Women to Shoot” Class to several police departments in GA. As always, the most politically incorrect of all questions was asked by several female instructors:
They indicated that a number of female patrol officers, who chronically perform poorly on the range, don’t interact profitably with female instructors. Sometimes, there is a racial component. “They refuse to listen. How do we communicated effectively with them?” Was the question.
We explain this in many different ways. This is the latest iteration:
Sub-standard results are a result of the student acting poorly, and acting poorly is a direct result of flawed thinking. So long as students thinks wrongly, nothing will improve, and little we instructors do or say will be helpful.
We instructors present students with the best information we have, information that has been learned and refined, at great price, over many decades, indeed many centuries. There are any number of ways of using weapons. Most produce poor results, but a select few produce good results. Naturally, those are what we teach. We call it The Way, The True Way. While we have not yet reached perfection, and probably never will, we are persuaded that what we are teaching represents the State of the Art.
However, some students come to us, not to learn The True Way, but to convince us (but mostly themselves) that their way is best. They refuse to repent nor even listen, but instead stubbornly do everything their way, and, as a result, consistently perform poorly. When we point out to them that their repeated poor performance is prima-facie evidence that their way is inferior and that they need to abandon it, they become defensive, change the subject, and start accusing us personally of harassment and all manner of other misdeeds. In addition, they will predictably blame the gun, the target, the holster, the ammunition, the range, the weather, the department, their parents, their religion, … ad nauseam.
As with all unrepentant sinners, the first thing they need is the last thing they want! Outwardly, they claim to want to improve, but the only thing they really want is coddlers and enablers, just as they’ve had at their disposal their entire lives (until now). They are comfortable being known as losers, because there is no pressure to meliorate. For their sake and ours, we can’t accede to this self-destructive pattern of thinking. We have to continue to hold a mirror to their faces and compel them to gradually abandon their fantasy world, as comfortable as it is, and confront the stark reality that is the stock-and-trade of all Operators. Only then will they forsake their vanity and narcissistic arrogance and begin to believe their beliefs. And, when they believe their beliefs, they will start doubting their doubts. Put another way, they will start thinking rightly. As it is, they doubt their beliefs and believe their doubts, and that is why they fail!
It is a tenant of Western Civilization that elitism applies only to ideas. Egalitarianism applies only to individuals. We are a society of Free Men, created equal. We have no kingly line nor elite group that has the privilege of lording it over the rest of us. As Free Men, we come together to discuss ideas, and no voice has more or less authority than any other.
Some ideas are true and right, and others are false and evil. Not all ideas, not all information, is of equal value. But, as our Civilization declines, we find ourselves wallowing in Eastern Mysticism, the kind of wrong thinking that our marvelous ancestors bravely rejected at Thermopylae. An example is the patently false notion that we can alter reality by “believing.” Under this fallacy, there is no truth nor lies, no good nor evil, just “what I feel right now.” Call it “New-Age,” “Spiritualism,” or whatever, it is all the same hackneyed wish-wash our righteous forefathers threw out so long ago. Deliver us from this sewage, almighty God!
This is what wrong-thinking students will try to convince us of on the range. “Results don’t matter. The only important thing is what I feel.” Difficult as it is, they must be guided to confront the fact that, not only are they losers, but that they have never been anything but losers, and, if they’re not careful, losers/slaves are all they’re ever going to be!
At Thermopylae, when he confronted King Leonidas of Sparta, Xerxes of Persia said, “You cannot possibly think your three hundred can stop my vast forces. Your position is untenable. Victory is impossible.” Leonidas replied, “Until now, oh great King, you have fought only slaves and conscripts. Today, you fight Free Men, and, in our vocabulary, you will find the word, ‘impossible,’ conspicuously absent!”
Spartans never inquired about the size of the enemy host. They only asked where they were!
This is the crux of what Western Civilization have given to human history, and, in the continuing (and currently losing) war for its preservation, the gun range, in so many ways, is the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA)!
19 Sept 07
Fantasyland! This from one of our instructors, a gun retailer in OK:
“I had a curious conversation yesterday with a young couple in our store. He has purchased several pistols from us and has a state CCW permit. She ‘doesn’t believe in guns.’ Both were in the shop.
He confessed that he carries his concealed pistol (S&W M&P) with an empty chamber! He went on to say that he never chambers a round in his holstered handgun, because he has children, and it’s ‘just not safe to carry a loaded pistol near them.’ ‘Besides,’ he continued, ‘all I have to do is rack the slide. Then, I can shoot. Right?’
I asked him bluntly, ‘Who promised you that both your hands will be available the next time you need your pistol?’ He stammered and squirmed. ‘You may be pushing those children of yours behind cover while trying to draw your pistol at the same time. You might find a home-invader on top of you doing his best to stick a screwdriver into your eye. As you fend off the screwdriver with one hand and draw your pistol with the other, how will you persuade it to fire then?’ I concluded, ‘Who don’t carry loaded pistols needn’t bother carrying at all!’
By now, his wife, having lost all of her color, looked at me and said, ‘I’m SO glad we don’t live in YOUR world.’ I replied unapologetically, ‘There is only one world, my dear, and we’re all currently immersed in it, right up to our necks!’”
Lesson: Many still foolishly entertain the fantasy that pistols possess an inherent, magical ability to repel evil, and that mere proximity grants one a violence-free existence! Again, they act poorly, because they think wrongly. “Emotional thinking” is not thinking at all!
In high school, my trigonometry teacher referred to the “Wishing-Will-Make-It-So” Theorem so often used by some of my classmates. It wasn’t acceptable even among children, and should be less so among (at least “professing”) adults.
In the Orwell novel, “1984,” emblazoned in raised letters above the entrance to the “Ministry of Truth” is:
Slavery is Freedom
War is Peace
Ignorance is Strength
20 Sept 07
Incident in OK, from an LEO friend there:
“Yesterday, two members of our Drug Task Force (in plain-clothes) confronted several suspects in a vehicle that had just departed a known drug-pad. The stop took place at night, in the parking lot of a local convenience store coincidentally frequented by our uniformed, patrol officers.
A CQB/struggle ensued, and one of the our officers immediately lost his sidearm (his only one) that he was carrying in a flimsy, ankle holster. His pistol went unceremoniously skidding across the parking lot. Two of our uniformed officers who (quite by accident) had just pulled up, saw the errant gun spinning along the pavement and immediately drew down on their still-unidentified colleagues.
Unfortunately, our detectives could not ‘stop,’ as they were in physical contact with actively-combative suspects.
It was tense for a few moments as our plain-clothed detectives attempted to identify themselves verbally. Fortunately, one of the uniformed officers recognized one of the detectives, and the situation instantly de-escalated.
Three suspects were then taken into custody that night without further incident. All our officers are okay. No shots fired.”
(1) In any circumstance, even when you are in uniform, don’t assume you’ll be taken for a “good-guy” just because you know yourself to be one. In the police business, as a normal part of competent and correct police work, we sometimes point our guns at innocent people. The practice is regrettable, but often intensely necessary.
(2) Carry your pistol(s) in serious holsters. I am continuously astonished at the chinchy, insecure pieces of garbage that pass for “holsters.” When you go armed, get serious, or get out of this business!
(3) When you need to carry a gun, you probably need to carry two! A backup gun, like all forms of insurance, is an annoying nuisance, until it’s needed. Then, it’s priceless!
24 Sept 07
Well-practiced skills come through. This from a student who had barely touched a pistol before he joined us at a Defensive Pistol Course in July:
“I wanted to let you know that the skills I acquired at your Course earlier this year served me and my family well.
I was prairie-dog hunting with my brother last Friday. We had just spotted prairie-dogs, and, after pulling the truck around, we stepped out. My brother set up on the hood as I went around the to set up on the tailgate.
I looked back and saw a coiled rattlesnake just inches from my brothers right foot! I yelled to him to look out. When he saw the snake, he started moving away from it.
Suddenly, there were several holes through the middle of the snake! I had smoothly drawn my SA/XD/45ACP, acquired the target, and fired just as soon as my brother was clear. I barely realized I had done it. It was near automatic!
Your course, and the skills I learned there, made my decisive, precise action possible. My brother was astonished and said, in a shaky voice, ‘Where did you learn to shoot like that?’ I may have saved his life.
During your Course, I remember thinking I would probably never have to use any of the skills I was learning. How wrong I was!”
Comment: When it’s least expected, you’re elected! Danger, when it comes, comes fast and unannounced, and rarely at a “convenient” time. It’s a “ready-or-not” world!
26 Sept 07
Confirmation of pernicious gun-phobia, with requiem fear and distrust, that still paralyzes the Army, even today. From a friend in the NG:
“I have been activated several times since 9/11. On one domestic guard detail near the border, we were initially issued our M-16A2s and fully-charged magazines, but sternly instructed never to actually load our rifles, under any circumstances. Rifles were to remain ‘unloaded at all times!’
However, some atta-boy up the food-chain soon realized the career-ending insanity of issuing us peons potentially-functional weapons. Suddenly, ammunition was whisked away. Magazines suffered the same fate a day later. We were told that rifles and magazines (even empty ones) actually inserted into magazines wells looked ‘too militaristic.’
I’m sure the same atta-boy then realized the ridiculousness of obviously unloaded rifles being carried about by uniformed Guardsmen. The conspicuous solution: take away our rifles too! Sure enough, that happened two days later.
All this time, our guard posts were being actively surveilled by suspicious people with video cameras, on foot and in vehicles. None were ever confronted.
When word got back to Santa Fe that we had all advised our families on whom to sue when we, now completely defenseless, were attacked and murdered by invading Mexican drug dealers, rifles were mysteriously “returned”. That, at least, was the cover-story for public consumption.
The truth is that rifles were placed in a locked room, inside a locked building, nearly a quarter mile away from our guard post. Magazines were locked in a different room. Keys to the various locks were given to our sergeant who was told that weapons and ammunition were to be unlocked and issued (a process that would take at least an hour) only upon direct attack of the post. Even then, soldiers would have to sign out weapons and ammunition, individually. After all that, we were then told point-blank that if any of us ever actually fired a shot, we would all spend the rest of our lives in Federal prison!
It being obvious that our safety, indeed our very lives, meant nothing to the atta-boy in question, nor anyone else up the food chain, I began carrying my personal pistol, concealed in a shoulder holster. Blades too! With my encouragement, others did the same. We put together an (unauthorized) plan whereby those of us who were thus armed would hold off the bad guys until rifles could be accessed.
When we finally stood down, a CWO, asked me directly if I had been carrying personal weapons during mobilization.
‘Of course not! Where did you get such a crazy idea?’
His unkind reply was, ‘Well, if you had, and I had known it, I would have had you court-martialed.’
I countered, ‘Why would you ever think those of us down here actually doing the job would ever place any value on our own lives? Why, we know we’re just highly expendable, cannon-fodder, and when we’re all massacred, because we’re unable to defend ourselves, you’ll just recruit more. Right?’
I could hear him grind his teeth as he walked away in a huff. I’m sure my comments made him late for coffee!”
Comment: What makes me most angry is that no one seems to care a whit for the lives and safety of these brave lads who courageously volunteered to serve their Country. For one, I will serve no one who doesn’t trust me with my weapons! These guys, correctly and audaciously, took matters into their own hands. In the end, we’re all going to have to!
Thomas Jefferson reminded us, “Who bend their swords into plow-shears will plow for those who don’t!”
26 Sept 07
Close-call creates a convert! This from the wife of one of our students:
“Until yesterday, I good-naturedly tolerated my husband’s interest in Operator skills and lifestyle. However, when I worked outside at our place in the country, I chose not to carry a pistol, even though he gently encouraged me to do so.
Again and again, I told him it is just not convenient to lug that pistol around while stacking wood. After all, I would continue, we live in this sleepy, little town where nothing bad ever happens. I would then give him the old ‘whatever-eye-roll’
That all changed yesterday! I’m writing to you, John, to proclaim that he, and you, are SO RIGHT, and always have been!
Early yesterday one morning, we were our walking our two dogs in our large back yard. We both caught a glimpse of something running across our driveway. We started moving back toward our house. Then, we saw them all!
A group of six, large, wild dogs were running in a pack, digging wildly under a fence in an effort to get at the neighbors’ horses. At once, they noticed us and all began running in our direction. Luckily, we, and our dogs, got back to the house in time. My heroic husband, pistol at the ready, brought up the rear, covering me.
We found out later that our (unarmed) neighbors tried, mostly unsuccessfully, fighting off the dogs with a shovel and trash-can lid. Their horses were seriously injured. Local deputies, when they finally arrived, were far more concerned about having to pay the dog catcher overtime than they were about protecting any of us.
I, at long last, learned to put what you and my husband teach into my heart and mind forever! As you’ve reminded us, we are all individually responsible for our own safety. That now has special meaning for me!”
Comment: Fortunately, an important lesson was learned without a painful price, this time!
Threats seldom come at us in “expected” forms, nor at “convenient” times.
“Hope” is not a “strategy!”
27 Sept 07
Comments on unarmed soldiers, from a puzzled friend in the Philippines:
“…aren’t soldiers in uniform supposed to ‘look militaristic?’ When they don’t, who will?
When the situation has deteriorated to the point wherein a government sends in warfighters, then one would think ‘war’ is to be expected, and those fighters must be geared for battle. In your Country, military bureaucrats are apparently more afraid of their own soldiers than they are of enemy soldiers!
Missiles fail. Airplanes conk-out. Ships run aground. Tanks run out of gas. But, a competent Operator with a rifle, armed with unimpeachable resolve, will never fail the flag under which he serves.
No one fears sheep. But, even elephants respect tigers.”
Comment: “One seldom errors when attributing (1) extreme actions to vanity, (2) average ones to habit, and (3) petty ones to fear”
28 Sept 07
Everything but the truth! This sad commentary from a currently-deployed officer, in Country:
“Having spent three decades on active duty, here is my view:
Damage inflicted upon our military culture by MacNamara/Johnson, Carter, and Clinton has been irreversibly institutionalized, and the current Bush Administration has done precious little to turn it around:
Being promoted has taken precedence over mission accomplishment and devotion to Duty. Eg:
(1) Good men, needlessly killed and maimed during contact with the enemy, as a direct result of ill-preparedness and poor training, is not career-ending. Training injuries are!
(2) Good men, killed/maimed as a direct result of being inexplicably unarmed while occupying remote outposts in hostile territory, is not career-ending. NDs are!
(3) Failure to accomplish the mission is not career-ending. Failure to dot an “I” or cross a “T” in some insignificant/irrelevant, multi-ream document is!
(4) Deployed soldiers, morbidly fearful of (and blatantly unfamiliar with) their primary weapons, is not career-ending. A single loose round of ammunition, discovered in the pocket of some tired, hapless soldier eating lunch, is!
… ad nauseam
Those few of us who are still devoted to the defense of the Constitution and to our Duty, and who are still trying to actually make the System work have grown weary of mind-numbing sound-bites, whose purpose is to make lies sound truthful, sleazy misdeeds sound respectable, and lend a suggestion of substance to pure wind:
“Peace, with honor;” translation: “Ignominious defeat”
“Workable solutions;” translation: “Ignominious defeat”
“Satisfactory resolution;” translation: “Ignominious defeat”
“Redeployment;” translation: “Ignominious defeat, combined with cowardly flight”
“Surgical strike;” translation: “Futile pin-prick, which serves only to confirm our lack of resolve”
“Ongoing negotiations;” translation; “Excuse-making in progress”
“Safety concerns;” translation “We don’t trust you with guns”
… ad nauseam
We still have courageous people in uniform, but even we daily have to make potentially career-ending decisions regarding our personal safety.”
Comment: History has incontrovertibly demonstrated this truth:
There is only one thing that will reliably stop evil men with guns, and that is good men with guns. Our Soldiers and Marines need to be (in fact, not just theory) professional gunmen. Seasoned Operators, always armed, and with irreproachable purpose and devotion to Duty. Conversely, unarmed sheep, however well-intentioned, will accomplish nothing, syrupy sound-bites notwithstanding!