12 Dec 04
I’m back from SA! Just arrived yesterday. Full report shortly.
14 Dec 04
From one of our students who is a high-school teacher:
“I recently resorted to using the integral lock on my S&W snubby revolver while additionally locking it in my vehicle, out of sight, when on school grounds. Grass-eating administrators want to be sure we’re all helpless and defenseless. To them, being a ‘good victim’ is our ultimate civic duty and ‘living in fear’ is the natural state.
Yesterday, when I left school grounds, I slipped the snubby into my pocket. On this one occasion where I used the integral lock, I realized halfway home, to my horror, that I had forgotten to unlock it! I said to myself, out loud, ‘This stupid lock is going to get me killed!’
The very places (schools and hospitals) where innocent people are most vulnerable, I continually struggle to invent creative ways to go about in an appropriate state of readiness, despite cumbersome and foolish restrictions. But, integral locks on guns? Never again!”
Lesson: “Safe gun” is a contradiction of terms. Trying to make guns “safe” is delusional and a dangerous exercise in self-deception. Those who want “safe” guns shouldn’t have guns at all. Anyone who thinks some kind of mechanical “safety” device on a gun substitutes for correct gun handling and storage is a fool and needs to get guns out of his life altogether. The only ones made “safe” by such devices are violent criminals.
Gallant, fearless men and women boldly confront and accept all risks inherent with life. They proudly claim their own magnificence and confidently step into the arena every day. Such personal daring is incomprehensible to grasseaters, for whom perpetual fear and self-doubt is a way of life. They invariably die is wretchedly as they live. We owe them no apology!
14 Dec 04
I’ve just returned from South Africa from a two-week trip. I flew on SA Airlines, and they are excellent. You actually get to eat dinner with a metal knife! My Cold Steel City Stick flew on board with me, both ways. Not a word was said!
In Pretoria, it was my honor and privilege to train a group of “Scorpions,” SA’s version of the FBI. The agency is headed by John Welch, a good friend and a man with an iron will and a heart of gold. He is determined to get the best equipment and training for his crew. As the stand-up guy he is, he was there personally assisting with the instruction. Mike Nickerson, a local cop and longtime friend, and Joe DaSilva, another longtime friend, also helped with the instruction. Our class of twenty was made up of all races, and all readily helped each other. There is no segregation on the range. On our level, race relations are just fine. It is only politicians who ferment racial animosity for their own political purposes.
The outdoor range we used is near Bronkhorst Sprit, the place where the first Anglo-Boer War started in 1880. Lots of history there.
Scorpions use G22s, G23s, and G27s in Fobus holsters. Some now have Comp-Tac IWB (C-Tac) holsters. John is trying to get high-performance ammunition for his guys, but none is available locally. I suggested Cor-Bon 135gr Power ball. They now have some for testing. I carried a borrowed G19 in an C-Tac, loaded w/Powerball. In addition I had my usual complement of Cold Steel knives. Cold Steel knives are highly prized in Africa as they are hard to get. My friends all have them. I also carried Fox OC. I had it in my hand a number of times!
We used LM4 rifles (R4), SA’s version of the Galil, in 223. They all worked flawlessly, as Kalashnikovs usually do. Excellent guns. Iron sights ruled the day. Their shotgun is, unfortunately, the locally-made R12, manufactured by Republic Arms. Ammunition is locally-manufactured #4Bk and Brennecki slugs. Awkward, poorly designed, user-hostile, the R12 is an abomination! It is basically a Beretta 1201 in pump action. All had a bead front sight only. The slide-release button is also the shell release, so pushing it at the wrong time manufactures a double feed! We struggled with these clunks for most of an afternoon. They are in the system because they are inexpensive. I suggested junking them all and converting over to the Mossberg 590 or Remington 870.
Scorpions were created three years ago specifically to investigate and prosecute official corruption and other major crimes. Most in the current government are sorry they did, as many are themselves now under investigation! Not surprisingly, there is an ongoing campaign among politicians to disband the agency. John has his hands full!
I went hunting after the course and shot two excellent zebras and a record-book kudu. My old friend, and the best PH in all of Africa, Joe DaSilva, guided me. I used a borrowed Winchester M70 in 300H&H with a Leupold 4X12 scope. Perfect caliber for this kind of hunting. Shots were 50m to 200m. All shots were broadside. One bullet exited. The other two did not. It is indeed thrilling to sit and watch herds of impala, wildebeest, hartebeest, giraffe, zebra, and springbuck running free. I can watch them for hours!
On the last day I had a chance to shoot a warthog. They bolt quickly, so one customarily has only a three-second window. I got on him nimbly at 75m. He was in my crosshairs, and I initiated the ignition sequence, as I knew he would bolt any second. Then, I said to myself, “If you shoot him, we’ll be up half the night.” My finger returned to register, and I let him go. He ran away a second later. I decided to save him for next time!
Dung beetles are everywhere, and they are huge. They don’t fly well, but one is amazed they fly at all! Centipedes over six inches long and nearly a inch in diameter were spotted several times. Happily, I didn’t see any snakes.
SA’s current government had just passed a set of Draconian gun laws, the purpose of which is to eliminate private gun ownership in SA within five years. If you own a gun now, you might keep it for the next five years. If you don’t own a gun now, the is no chance that you’ll be able to acquire one legally. New purchase applications are rapidly accumulating in warehouses. Most just gather dust. Backup is over a year now. If you’re turned down, there is supposed to be an “appeals board,” but members have not been appointed and the board has never convened, and never will. In five years, or sooner, all privately-owned guns will be forcibly confiscated. Promised compensation for turned-in guns is not happening either. They seem to have no regard even for the hunting industry. PHs are trying to make an exception for themselves as are professional trainers. Gun dealers are all going out of business. SA’s new gun laws are on the Canadian model. The Canadian experiment is such a colossal failure, one wonders why anyone in SA would think their version would be any different, but politician never care about anything but staying in power.
South Africa is still one of the friendliest countries in the world, despite all the violent crime. I am concerned for my friends there, but they’re fighting the system as best they can. I find myself strangely drawn back to Africa. It is, after all, probably where we all came from. Going to Africa is, to me, going home.
16 Dec 04
On personal weapons, from a friend in Country:
“Personal guns (pistols) are still a awkward issue here. Senior commanders, it seems, are incapable of formulating sensible policy. Most are still deathly afraid of guns, all guns, but epically pistols. Mid-level and junior commanders are more progressive, but even they really don’t want to confront the issue, so they mostly stick their collective heads in the sand.
While they are trying to make up their minds, on your advice, I carry my pistol (and blades) concealed all the time. Guns are supposed to be ‘unloaded, with magazine removed,’ everywhere on post. However, when a holster is not visible, everyone assumes you don’t have a pistol. I am happy to let them think that. I gave up on the M9 (too big!) and now carry a G19. Much better!
Black Hills 77gr HPBT works well. It makes the 223 work about as well as it is ever going to. Vastly superior, in both penetration and terminal performance, to the 62gr we still have in the system. Marines are in the process of switching over to it, but sufficient quantities are still not available.”
Comment: The American mind, unique in world history, will invariably find innovative and daring solutions to life’s challenges, no matter what the circumstances, and we do it with dash and without apology. Americans always have. God bless America!
16 Dec 04
Dogs and OC, from a friend and student!
“There is a German Shepherd in our neighborhood with a bad reputation. He is aggressive and territorial. Not surprisingly, he is owned by a demented, little old man. Last week, the dog pinned a neighbor to the side of her car before the man could get it under control. The dog routinely lunges, biting and growling, to the end of its leash at anyone he can see. It was only a matter of time before this dog and I would confront each other. Well, the time came yesterday!
As I was returning home after walking our own dog (a Lab puppy), I saw the little old man and his dog coming up the street towards us. I got my Fox OC in hand and moved to the other side of the street. Sure enough, the German Shepherd lunged straight at me, yanking the leash out of his owner’s hand. As trained, I immediately moved off the line of force, and laid down a zig-zag ‘screen’ of OC in front of me. As the dog reached the cloud of OC, he yelped once, did a mid-air about face, and scurried back to his owner, whining, sneezing and pawing at his eyes and muzzle! The man grabbed the leash and scurried away with his floundering dog, mumbling over his shoulder something about unreasonable neighbors.
Now here’s what else happened without conscious thought: At the critical moment, I dropped my own dog’s leash, dropped the OC bottle (after spraying the screen,) retracted my left hand, indexed and cleared my pistol from its holster. As I realized that the offensive dog was retreating, I stopped in the ‘rock-and-lock’ stage. When the man gained control and scurried away, I quickly reholstered. I don’t think he ever saw my pistol. I executed a step-and-scan before reholstering.
Moving off the line of force, getting my hands free, initiating a proper draw, stopping and reholstering all were automatic; I did not do any of this on conscious command. Training and preparedness works. So does Fox!”
Comment: When it is least expected, you’re elected! Competent training pays off. There is no substitute for being properly equipped, trained, and having the personal resolve to finish the fight.
20 Dec 04
Yesterday on CNN, there was a report of the profusion of surveillance cameras in recent times. Millions of them in stores, casinos, parking lots, government buildings, busy intersections, etc. In their typical shallow, incredulous way CNN reporters cited a “survey” in which people were asked if all those cameras made them “feel more secure.” If they had asked me, I would have replied, “more than what?” “Feelings,” not reality, is all that matters to grasseaters at CNN and most of the media. That is why they are incapable of any species of objectivity. To them, we can all just “feel our problems away.”
To the best of my knowledge, no camera has ever prevented a violent crime. The naive assumption is that a real person, with a telephone, is actually watching all those screens. Pretty unlikely. A local prosecutor stated that cameras provide valuable evidence, so that offenders can be identified and tracked down. “That way,” said he, “victims can have their day in court.” I’m sure that makes potential victims “feel” much better, but it strikes me that the only “victim’s right” that has any importance for most is the RIGHT NOT TO BE A VICTIM!
The idea that we can elude personal responsibility for our own well being by “feeling safe” because of cameras, or any other community gimmick, is delusional. Thinking that someone else cares about us more than we care about ourselves is patently ridiculous, the domain of self-deceptive grasseaters, not men.
Fear is shamefully used by sleazy politicians, and their media allies, to manipulate the public and keep themselves in power. Leftist politicians and bureaucrats yearn for a fearful and cowardly population, because such people will automatically look to government to solve all their problems and make all their decisions. Fearless, magnificent, armed, and independent citizens, who proudly look after themselves, don’t want, in fact, resent, government “snoopervision.” We Americans did not descend from fearful men!
In the end, CNN assures us that we don’t need individual liberty. No, we just need more cameras!
21 Dec 04
Camera comments from one of our instructors:
“We teach DTI students well regarding the types of words and phrases that need to be used and those that need to be avoided. Hence, the instruction to shout ‘Drop your weapon!,’ whether we see one or not, and the strict admonition to never use any kind of derogatory language.
By the same token, we must now start to think about how we will look on the ‘silent movie’ that will likely result from ubiquitous surveillance cameras that will invariably witness our incident. For example, after a suspect is down, we surely don’t want to do anything that could be construed as spontaneously celebratory (eg: pumping a fist). More importantly, we want to make sure that, when we are forced to engage, we move both laterally and away from the threat. We can then successfully argue that our only goal was personal disengagement.”
Comment: Well said. I’m uncomfortable with the thought of being videoed every minute of every day, as I’m sure I look pretty foolish sometimes, but we all need to assume that a movie is going to be made from any violent event in which we find ourselves. All students of the defensive arts need to be constantly reminded of this. The movie needs to confirm that we are, in fact, the good people we claim to be.
21 Dec 04
A friend who owns a music store in PA recently sent me a viola case. I took it to a local upholstery shop and asked them to rip out the insides and install a foam lining, which they were happy to do. They also installed a carrying strap.
My RA-96, w/stock folded and 30-round magazine inserted, fits into it perfectly, along with a spare magazine.
Excellent for low-profile travel, no motel clerk has ever given it more than a casual glance. For one’s “car gun,” this is a good way to go. Tennis racket cases, baseball bat cases, and Lacrosse racket cases all work well too, but the viola case is hard on the outside, and the foam lining holds everything tight and well cushioned. Recommended!
22 Dec 04
“An organization called ‘Gun-Free South Africa’ has been lobbying relentlessly to get all schools in SA declared ‘gun free.’ This means that even police officers are not permitted to come on school property while armed. Yesterday, a father and his daughter were robbed, AT GUN POINT, on school grounds, where they had gone to pay school fees. It seems someone keeps forgetting to tell criminals about the new policy!”
Comment: Violent criminals will predictably strike where they perceive the softest targets to be. “Gun-Free” areas are really “Criminal-Empowerment Zones.” Naive Socialists, who persistently look upon personal helplessness as a virtue, believe that “being a good victim” is one’s ultimate civic duty. To them, victimhood is a way of life. It is an cheerless life indeed!
“We have discovered that the scheme of ‘outlawing war’ has made war more like an outlaw without making it less frequent, and, that to banish the knight, does not alleviate the suffering of the peasant.”
27 Dec 04
Good advice from a friend and Instructor:
“Stay away from ambi-safety/selector levers on the AR-15 system. With this dubious arrangement, it is difficult to rapidly put the selector into the ‘fire’ position with the right thumb, as the right index finger blocks rotation by the right extension of the lever. Accordingly, this setup will prevent the shooter from disengaging the manual safety rapidly and dependably, and thus may well endanger his life. Left-handers need to learn to operate the manual safety with their strong-hand index finger. When shooting off the left shoulder, right-handers need to acquire the same skill.”
Comment: As is the case with so many other errant add-ons, ambi-safety levers are for people who don’t plan on using the rifle for serious purposes. Highly not recommended!
29 Dec 04
A number of comments from my last posting indicated that ambi-safety levers on AR-15s are more popular and more well thought of than I realized.
Customizing any piece of emergency equipment to suite one’s own tastes and circumstances with after-market accessories may sometimes have its merits, but we should all, nonetheless, be comfortable and competent with stock gear. When your next emergency falls upon you like a tsunami, who knows what weapon you’ll get to use? If it is your own, that will be wonderful, but it may well be the first one your desperate hands find, and, in that case, it will probably be a stock piece, right from the factory.
Convincing yourself that victory is impossible unless you have everything exactly your way is a foolish exercise in self-deception. We should always look for a way to win, not for a plausible apology for failure.
Lesson: “Horum omnium fortssimi sunt Belgae, proptersa quod a cultu atque humanitate provincial absunt.”
(“The bravest of the Gauls are Belgians, because they are furthest removed from the ‘blessings’ of civilization.”)
30 Dec 04
Those of us who have been sending needed items of equipment to M/Gy/Sgt Mitchell in Theater need to stop for the time being. Upcoming rotation of units will be bringing M/Gy/Sgt Mitchell back to CONUS shortly. By the end of February I can give out the name of another trusted Marine staff NCO or officer who can pick up the baton.
In the interim, many thanks to all who have so unselfishly contributed. Really helps!
31 Dec 04
The Wisdom of Tom Givens
My friend and colleague, Tom Givens, runs Rangemasters, a wonderful retail gun shop and indoor range in Memphis, TN. Tom’s students have been involved in more self-defensive shootings than have those of any other instructor I know, including me! Tom is a top-drawer teacher, among the best in the business.
Memphis bears the dubious title of “Crime Capitol of the South,” with a homicide rate higher than many towns three times its size. The local PD is politicized, top-heavy, incapable, hopeless. When in Memphis, you are truly “on your own.”
Tom recently wrote an essay about the importance of carrying concealed consistently. His wisdom merits emphasis. He describes two of his students who were recent homicide victims in two separate and otherwise unrelated incidents. Both were mercilessly murdered by armed criminals. At the time of their deaths, both were unarmed! All their carefully learned and continuously practiced skills with firearms were of no use to either one. Both held valid CCW permits and owned suitable pistols, ammunition, holsters, etc. They were not armed at the critical moment, because of nonchalance, laziness, carelessness, or a deliberate decision not to be armed. We’ll never know. However, in one-sided gunfights, it comes as no surprise that both faired poorly.
Tom correctly points out that you will never get to decide which times are the dangerous ones. Someone else will decide that for you, and you’ll probably become aware only at the last moment! Since we therefore cannot know when personal readiness and valor are going to be critical to our continued good health, we must be “ready” all the time. In Memphis (and probably where you live too), that means being well trained, audacious, and constantly armed.
We cannot live victoriously when we are continuously unprepared. Tom is right! Be prepared, or go back to eating grass.
Happy New Year to all!