1 Nov 11
S&W BG380. Comments from one of our Instructors:
“I bought a new S&W BG380 last month, and I’ve been impressed!
Among its virtues:
It has been unfailingly reliable. Eats everything it gets fed, digests it, and gingerly disposes of the remains. S&W appears to have gotten magazine and feed-ramp geometry absolutely perfect. During my first extended range session with it, I thought I’d test myself by mixing spent cases in the magazine at random intervals with live rounds. The BG380 fed and chambered every one of them. I was amazed!
Sights are better than average, and much better than crude, hard-to-see sights often found on handguns this size.
Mechanical accuracy is very good.
Integral laser runs fine, but it is useable only in dim light. Every load I’ve tried smokes the laser lens within a half-dozen rounds. Given the purpose for which this gun and laser are intended, I don’t think that’s a serious issue, and there’s always your shirt-tail.
Trigger-stroke is smooth, but long, necessary for a pistol that may never see the inside of a holster. It’s a ‘concealed-hammer’ design rather than a ‘striker-fired’ design, so it has second-strike capability in the (hopefully rare) event of a reluctant primer.
I’m carrying my copy in a Nemesis Pocket Holder, on my non-primary side.
Given its performance, features, and price, I’m quite pleased.”
Comment: I’ve handled the BG380 at the SHOT Show, but haven’t yet carried one. Based on my friend’s experience, I might have to get a copy!
Of all small 380s available, Kahr’s P380 has occupied the top of my List. But, S&W’s contender seems to have a lot going for it.
Cor-Bon’s DPX tops the List of serious ammunition for these little pistols.
The 380Auto round, of course, has its limitations. However, for many, a small 380 pistol makes a reasonable second gun. For some, even a first gun!
2 Nov 11
Today, Vicki and I combined in killing a huge, five-hundred pound, feral hog in OH who precipitously decided to come after us!
We were watching several goats a hundred meters downrange, when the pig in question wandered into our view at fifty meters. He obviously knew we were there, but he ignored us, so we re-focused on the other game downrange.
The pig then started moving in our direction, but I’ve done this many times before, and I expected him to move past us, keeping his distance.
Vicki then asked our guide if her M1 Carbine (W/Cor-Bon DPX) was “enough gun” to take down the pig, seeing that the goats were moving away and that the pig now presented a broadside shot. Our guide answered in the affirmative, but asked me to function as back-up. I was armed with my RA/XCR in 7.62×39, also loaded with DPX.
“No problem,” was my confident response.
The pig then moved directly toward us, closing the remaining distance in only a few seconds!
Things then happened fast!
Vicki, using iron sights, was fighting a glare off the bolt-handle and didn’t realize the pig was coming directly toward us. I could see what was happening, and went from “sporting mode” to “emergency mode” in an instant.
I heard our guide say to Vicki, “… shoot now!” She fired once, and I fired a fraction of a second later.
Vicki’s round hit the pig just under his right eye. The pig abruptly veered to my right, and I shot once, hitting him in the point of the shoulder. He died less than two meters from my feet!
Far more excitement than either of us had planned on!
Cor-Bon ammunition worked well today, and kept all three of us from what could have been serious injury.
Just before we shot him, the pig let out a protracted grunt. Our guide subsequently explained that it was a characteristic territorial assertion. Next time, I’ll surely recognize it!
We re-learned today that animal behavior is unpredictable, and, when hunting pigs and other dangerous game, you dare not let them get too close, as they can close the remaining distance very fast!
Yes, today’s lesson was one of humility and complacency.
Be relentlessly ready for any change in circumstance, and don’t be so smug as to think everything will always go according to your plans.
It was a great day, but we were lucky. We won’t make those mistakes again.
3 Nov 11
After our exciting feral pig adventure, Vicki and I went on to look for other animals.
An hour later, Vicki shot a beautiful Angora Goat, with thick, curly hair- so long, he looked like a mop! Seventy-five meters, broadside, Vicki put him down decisively with a single shot from her iron-sighted M1 Carbine. When the shot hit him, his legs collapsed, and he died in place.
I, meanwhile, was having no luck getting a shot at a Scimitar Oryx. I’ve shot Oryx in South Africa, but the Scimitar variety come from further north. They have the same long horns, and face coloration is similar, but they are smaller and more tan in color. But, they are every bit as challenging!
The one I was stalking was by himself and did not like open space. He moved continually in thick forest, changing directions every few seconds. I could see him and then lost him, only to discover a moment later that he was going in the opposite direction I thought he would go!
After a long stalk, I got a head-on shot at 100m through a dense patch of trees. I put my Aimpoint T1 dot on the center of his chest and pressed off my first shot. As I recovered from recoil and caught the link, I expected to see him going down. What I saw instead was a shattered tree-limb flying through the air, and the animal walking away as if nothing had happened!
Over the next five minutes, I tried to thread bullets between tree trunks and branches, with scant success. I hit more wood than I want to admit, but one shot connected, hitting his spine, and he went down. Sure enough, in less than a minute, he struggled back to his feet!
As he started to walk away, he entered a small clearing. That provided me with the clear window I needed. Although he never stopped, my next shot hit him on the point of his shoulder, as is my preference. Still, he struggled, but went down after a few more meters.
When we found him, there were three, solid hits. He was tough, and constantly in motion. I’m still not sure how many trees I killed! When focused on your target, you tend not to notice intervening obstacles, like tree-trunks and branches. I need to remember that next time I’m hunting in heavy forest.
I was reminded, once again, that you have to finish the fight, no matter the unexpected twists and turns!
This wonderful adventure is one a group of us annually participate in this time of year, and a grand time was had by all!
We all hunt with military weapons, as we consider it a rare opportunity to use our serious weapons in unknown scenarios where we have the chance to shoot something that is alive, moving, and maybe dangerous, all at unknown ranges and in unrehearsed circumstances.
Not many get a chance to actually do it. I am grateful I’m among the ones who do!
“It is with ‘true love,’ as it is with ghosts. The whole world speaks of it, but few claim to have ever seen one!”
4 Nov 11
“Against stupidity, the very gods fight in vain!”
This from an LEO friend:
“I had to attend a district-wide school law-enforcement meeting today. There are fifteen local LEOs assigned to various schools in our County, and I was the only one who showed up armed! The other fourteen were dressed in snappy, badged polo-shirts and 511 pants, and all were driving marked, beat-cars, but none had and kind of gun, neither on them, nor in their car!
An officer leading the meeting had the gall to publically ridicule me, calling me “Rambo.” I was not amused! In a non-humorous retort, I pointed out all the liabilities of not being armed, particularly while readily-identifiable as an LEO.
He timidly responded that, in any emergency, he would simply summon an “on-duty” officer to protect him from harm.
You’re betting your life on that? Said I.
Unable to look me in the eye, he mumbled that I was just “paranoid.”
Few LEOs in this County take their responsibilities seriously. Far too few!”
Comment: “LEOs,” like the unarmed in the foregoing, are not earning their pay. In this increasingly-dangerous world, “unarmed police” is synonymous with “victim!”
2012 is shaping up as the “Year of Unrest.” We’re currently witnessing just the beginning. Big events, domestic and international (many foreseeable even now) will conspire to generate mob violence on a scale seldom seen here before. Who don’t take seriously their responsibilities need to find something else to do… while they still can!
Police departments are understaffed already. Pretenders, merely masquerading as police and thus doing little more than taking up space, need to get out, and out of our way.
They’re far worse than just useless, as we see!
7 Nov 11
“The Warrior Spirit, which alone can create and civilize a state, is absolutely essential to national perpetuity”
At an Urban Rifle Course last weekend on the East Coast, two of our students were active-duty lieutenant colonels from the Army.
Both were there on their own dime.
For both, a bona-fide “hot” range was a new experience, but they speedily adopted and became accustomed to carrying loaded rifles and pistols all day. And, they readily acknowledged the critical need to train the way we do.
They confided to me that, under the radar, they are making efforts to run some of their on-base small-arms ranges “hot.” They admitted that they may be ratted-out by some sniveling squealer, but they’re courageously taking the risk anyway, because they know how important truly competent training is. And, they actually have some respect for brave men and women in their charge who boldly stepped forth and volunteered to wear their Country’s uniform!
Both also confided that they, along with their units, are heading overseas within weeks, and that they were there to see how they can enhance their own last-minute training curriculum. Most of all, they needed encouragement, and they got it… in spades!
Even in our civilization, courageousness, honor, enterprise, and common sense continue to burst forth, despite sincere efforts on the part of political thugs to stamp them out completely!
I trust I filled their young minds with radical notions!
15 Nov 11
Yesterday, a man inadvertently shot himself, fatally, while seated in his car. Also in his car were his wife and children. The incident took place in a shopping-mall parking lot in PA.
It is not clear whether the G22 in question was loose in a pocket, or stuffed in a belt or waistband (“Mexican” carry). In any event, this person was practicing “holster-less” carry!
The single bullet perforated an artery, and the man bled to death. He was DOA at a local hospital.
The lesson here needs little embellishment!
Loaded pistols, rattling around loose in packets, handbags, et al, or stuffed in a waistband are a time-bomb that will invariably function normally at an extremely inopportune moment!
Triggers and trigger-guards must be securely protected as guns are carried on the person. That is the function of any high-quality holster.
Unprotected triggers and trigger-guards represent an extreme hazard with carry-guns, as we see.
Let us all learn, and re-learn, from this depressing incident!
17 Nov 11
Serious Rifle Set-up:
A student asks:
“For home-defense, will you discuss 5.56×45 rifle options you think are important? I’m especially interested in weight, sight radius, and rails/hand-guards.”
Lots of opinions here, but this is my best advice:
For personal defense, and most all other serious purposes, I like an M4-style AR, or SIG/556, RA/XCR, et al, as (1) short and (2) light as I can get it. Collapsible stock is necessary for correctly fitting individual shooters, and for reducing overall length when transporting. Fold-able stock is handy for low-profile transport.
The rifle needs a good flash-suppressor, sling, and a full-length top-rail. Rails on sides of the forward section of the hand-guard are also necessary for mounting co-axial flashlights, which I consider essential.
Iron sights need to be mounted on the top-rail so as to provide maximum, useable sight radius, and adequately co-witness with an in-line red-dot, should the Operator want to install one.
Red-dots need to be on quick-release mounts, so they can be promptly, and deftly, removed from the sight-line when they frost-over. Best are made by LaRue.
A good supply of magazines is also necessary, as well as lots of training ammunition (55gr hardball) for practice. Also a supply of high-performance ammunition (Cor-Bon DPX, Federal Tactical, et al) for bona-fide fighting.
Even when flying, I travel with a serious rifle. I don’t want to be anywhere without one, particularly when at home!
17 Nov 11
A student asked about my same rifle advice, as it pertains to 7.62×39 (30/Soviet).
The 5.56×45 (223) round makes a 150m rifle, with poor penetration. Happily, high-performance ammunition, like DPX, helps a little in the penetration department. Still, for domestic defense, the caliber is adequate. For military purposes, however, it is unsatisfactory, a fact that has been common knowledge for forty years!
Conversely, the 7.62×39 is a 300m rifle, with excellent penetration- even with practice ammunition. Very adequate for both domestic and military purposes. But, ammunition is heavier and bulkier than is the case with 5.56×45.
Thus, the 7.62×39 makes an extremely satisfactory caliber for most serious purposes. Only the 7.62×51 (or 308, seen less often now, owing to the high cost of ammunition), is superior.
In 7.62×39, your choices are a Kalashnikov, PTR-32, RA/XCR, SIG/556, and a few others.
A “service-grade” Kalashnikov is eminently functional, but user-hostile (at least by Western standards) with lots of sharp corners and edges, no manual bolt hold-open, and coarse, soviet-style, open sights that are hard to adjust. Krebs’ version is nicely smoothed-out, equipped with a western-style, aperture sight and bolt-hold open slot (cut into the manual safety lever), plus top and side rails. Nice rifle, but not inexpensive!
The others mentioned above are also very acceptable, and all will easily digest inexpensive steel-cased ammunition that is currently available in great abundance.
I do not recommend the use of steel-cased ammunition in any AR (Stoner System or gas-piston), no matter the caliber. The AR’s extractor is too delicate to stand up to steel cases and breaks routinely when the issued is forced. The same indictment applies to any rifle that incorporates the Stoner-system bolt, such as the SCAR, and a few others.
Conversely, extractors on Kalashnikovs, XCRs, SIGs, and PTRs are all massive and will not be harmed by the routine use of steel-cased ammunition, nor any other kind of ammunition, a feature I consider mightily desirable!
When I go pig-hunting, I use a 7.62×39 rifle, usually one of the ones mentioned above. I consider the 5.56×45, even with DPX ammunition, too light for pigs- at any range.
It is a respectable, honored caliber, and one that will be around for a long time to come!
17 Nov 11
This, from a friend who works at a commercial, indoor pistol range.
“Last Friday, we experienced an injury/accident at our range. It is not our first, but it is the most serious to date.
A father, and his sixteen-year-old, son were shooting in a booth. Upon finishing, the father placed his 45ACP 1911 pistol (brand unknown) into a hard, carrying case. Father claims that he manually ‘decocked’ the pistol (on a live round) prior to putting it away.
He further claims that when he closed and case, the pistol discharged while still inside.
I was not an eye-witness, but I can’t imagine how that is possible! So, in my opinion, his “version” of events is dubious, but police are still investigating.
In any event, here is the object-lesson:
The single, errant bullet struck the son in his pinky-finger, then went on to enter the kid’s abdomen. For a teenager, the kid was big and pudgy, in excess of two-hundred pounds. The round, a 45ACP Winchester Silvertip, is a good, high-performance, defensive pistol round. It penetrated a shirt, an undershirt, and then six inches of fatty abdomen before stopping. It did not exit.
Upon being thus struck, the kid was able to walk, without assistance, out of the range and into our lounge area, where he sat down and quietly waited. Police and EMS arrived within minutes, and the young man was transported to a local hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery, and the only apparent, permanent disability will result from trauma to his finger!
Here is the lesson for all of us:
This mild-mannered teenager, not belligerent nor under the influence of any drugs, absorbed a full-power, hollow-point 45ACP bullet, at point-blank range, and subsequently displayed scarcely more than moderate discomfort! He was able to walk under his own power, never lost consciousness, never collapsed, and reportedly joked with ambulance attendants on his way to the hospital!”
The foregoing is, of course, anecdotal, but it emphasizes an important training axiom:
A pistol, any pistol, is a poor fight-stopper! We carry pistols because they’re convenient, not because they’re effective.
In order to gain the most/best effect, we need to shoot with surgical precision, striking vital organs, and do it multiple times, in rapid succession.
Even then, we dare not expect miracles, even with “high-performance” ammunition!
23 Nov 11
No free lunch! This from a Range Officer with a big department:
“We ruined one of our department’s G35 pistols (40S&W) last week.
During a range exercise, one of our Deputies experienced catastrophic splitting of the pistol’s frame, along with ballistic-ejection of the magazine. No significant injury, but the pistol itself is toast!
We found the offending case. It was split its entire length.
We started reloading our own training ammunition a year ago, due to the exponentially-increasing cost of new ammunition. Since, we’re had a few incidents, this being the
It seems, with high-pressure cartridges like the 40S&W, expansion during the firing process weakens brass cases far more than is the case with lower-pressure cartridges, and the phenomenon is not confined to Glocks. I suspect this is one reason Glock recommends against using reloaded ammunition, for any purpose!
In any event, we’ve reluctantly concluded that using 40S&W reloads, even for practice, represents false economy.”
Comment: My friend is right! I, along with Glock, strongly recommend against reloading 40S&W, 357SIG, and 45GAP cases, even once. Ruined guns, and personal injury, will quickly negate any savings in ammunition cost.
24 Nov 11
Have a plan!
This from a friend on the East Coast:
“We (wife and I) stayed in a multi-story hotel in a popular destination area last week.
Thursday evening, I was alone in our room when an alarm went off. The recorded message said ‘cease operations and evacuate immediately.’ Curious choice of words for a resort hotel!
In any event, I put my ‘rifle-case’ (outwardly a guitar-case) over my shoulder, collected up the balance of our high-density valuables and left the room. I was also carrying a pistol concealed, of course.
I called my wife and told her to stay away from the hotel and to rendezvous with me at pre-determined location.
Elevators weren’t working, so I proceeded down the stairs.
On my way down, I encountered a uniformed security guard who informed me that there was actually no emergency and that the hotel’s alarm system had malfunctioned. She said the fire department would, nonetheless, need to inspect the building. I exited anyway and waited for the fire department to clear the building before returning to my room.
All was well, but I was reminded:
1) Always have an emergency evacuation plan. You can never know every detail, but you do need a blueprint firmly in mind, particularly when you must coordinate with others.
2) Take instructions and advice from security personnel, particularly ‘all-clear’ announcements, with a grain of salt! They’re looking after their best interests, not yours!
3) Always have with you: guns, blades, flashlight, cash, personal resolve. Do, without hesitation, what appears to be right and necessary. Don’t be a lemming!”
Comment: The foregoing will be ever-important in 2012, when civil unrest will become far more common than it is even now.
“Think first, then act; lest foolish be thy deed”
25 Nov 11
This from a friend and Instructor:
“While shooting my S&W 686 Revolver (L-frame 357mg) last week, the gun locked up after firing exactly one round of factory, magnum ammunition. The cylinder would neither open nor turn. I eventually got the cylinder freed-up and the revolver working again, but only after several minutes of fussing and foul language!
I bought this gun, new, in the 1980s and have put uncounted thousands of rounds through it (both 357mg and 38Spl) without failure of any kind. It has long been one of my most tested and trusted firearms.
Inspection revealed metal from the primer had ‘flowed’ back into the firing-pin hole, locking the cylinder.
S&W issued a recall on L-frame revolvers back in the 1980s, because of precisely that issue. My revolver had never shown the slightest hint of a problem, so I never bothered to send it back.
Now, I realize that was clearly a mistake!
This incident reminded me of a couple of things:
1) Any firearm can fail, even a trusted revolver. Fortunately, per your instructions, I was carrying a backup that day.
(2) When a manufacturer issues a recall, pay attention to it! Needless to say, my 686 will be making its belated trip back to S&W in the immediate future.”
Comment: Causes of gun failures are too myriad to enumerate, and none are precisely predictable, as we see!
I’ve mentioned a few of the more common in Quips, but there are many more, some documented, but many others as yet unidentified. We can control some of these issues, but not most, and, while manufacturers do their best to eliminate the greatest number possible through superior design, manufacturing techniques, and even post-sale recalls, some problems never even make themselves known until years, often decades, of use!
Competent user-level, and professional, maintenance certainly helps, but, as my friend points out, there is no substitute for adequate redundancy!
“Risk” is nothing more than an interaction between probability and consequences, but, at the critical moment, there are no “time-outs!”
28 Nov 11
On 6 June 1944, Tuesday, German commanders high atop bluffs overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy gleefully reported back to their superiors that the American Amphibious Invasion had been repulsed, stopped on the beach and going no further.
American Sherman “amphibian” tanks, launched into the ocean far offshore, instead of “swimming” to shore as planned, sank to the bottom almost immediately, along with their crews, and were never heard from again.
Arial “preparation” bombing had been largely ineffective. Allied landing craft started their journey to shore many miles out. The trip took several hours, and lateral currents assured that most hit the beach far from their intended objective. Mines and German artillery claimed many.
German machine-gunners greeted the first to make it to the beach. Many American soldiers drowned as they floundered in the water after going over the side. Of the entire First Wave, only a handful of Americans actually made it to the beach alive and still able to fight. Unit integrity was non-existent.
Omar Bradley, offshore on the British Cruiser Augusta, scanning Omaha through binoculars, saw that nearly every one of his landing craft was burning. He could see almost no motion on the beach itself. He was a hair’s breadth from cancelling remaining waves and withdrawing what few survivors remained alive. It looked to all like a replay of the Dieppe disaster of August 1942, two years earlier. To make matters worse, weather was turning bad.
There was scant optimism on the American and British side. All knew and understood that Omaha was the hinge. When it failed, the rest of the Invasion would disintegrate.
However, unlike the Dieppe catastrophe, heroic American destroyer, and even battle-cruiser, captains, brushing “procedure,” convention, and even orders aside, virtually beached their ships, so their could train their big guns directly on hapless German positions. Making stationary targets themselves, they blasted Germans until they ran out of ammunition. Those on shore, and offshore, all suddenly sensed that, ever so slightly, the tide was turning!
Against all odds, pockets of stouthearted American soldiers actually started moving forward.
Bradley recanted, and ordered the balance of waves to land immediately, and, by that evening, over 150,000 American fighting men were on shore, along with at least some of their vehicles and equipment. A substantial beach-head was now firmly, irreversibly established.
Rommel’s dream of crushing the Great Invasion on the beach was dashed. German forces in Normandy were compelled into disorganized retreat.
Less than a year later, the War in Europe ended in unconditional Allied victory!
A mere handful of heroes snatched victory from the jaws of defeat that day.
Who insist there are no individual heroes in war, and in most other human endeavors, do so mostly because they themselves lack the courage to ever be one! The foregoing illustrates that it is indeed individual initiative and, yes, personal heroism, that always “turns the tide.” In fact, nothing else ever does, nor ever has, nor ever will! Western Civilization doesn’t need more attaboys and system analysts. Neither do well in poker games!
We’ll be saved by heroes, or not at all!
“Though too much valor may our fortunes try, to live in fear of death is many times to die!”
Lope De Vega