4 Sept 06
The Graham Flashlight Method
My friend and colleague, Matt Graham, president of ITC and manufacturer of ITC three-dimensional targets, have developed a new pistol/flashlight method that I like. For those of us who don’t like physically attaching flashlights to guns, particularly pistols, the Harries and Goode Techniques, along with several others, have heretofore represented the only ways of using the pistol and flashlight in conjunction with each other. Those two have been the ones I routinely teach, until now.
Matt has persuaded Surefire to manufacture their famous 6P flashlight with a rubber, O-ring within a quarter inch of the control button on the end. This arrangement allows the operator to wedge the flashlight between the index and middle fingers of the support hand. Thus held, the light can be pressed against the front of the trigger guard as the pistol of held in the normal, two-handed grasp. Pressing the flashlight against the trigger guard will then turn it on, and the barrel of the flashlight will be parallel with the barrel of the pistol, putting light, on demand, directly on the target.
The Graham Method is quick to get into and out of, permits normal hand positioning on the pistol’s grip, and aligns the flashlight with the barrel of the gun more precisely than does most other methods. It has a lot going for it. The method requires a Surefire flashlight with a “Rhino Combat Ring,” available from Surefire
4 Sept 06
In recent times, handgun specifications promulgated by police departments have been updated to reflect new developments in the industry. Of course all the usual items are still mentioned, eg: accuracy, reliability, et al, but these are now with us too:
(1) Adjustable grip size. The S&W M&P, Beretta PX4, Kimber KPD, and a number of other modern pistols now have this feature. The grip can be made larger or smaller via interchangeable attachments that are supplied with each pistol. This makes it possible for the same pistol to be comfortably used by everyone within a department, regardless of hand size or finger length. Adjustable grip size eliminates innumerable equipment complaints and is thus popular with chiefs.
(2) Double-drop. Self-decocking (DAO) autoloaders are now the norm in American police circles, but most do not permit the hammer to be dropped on a recalcitrant primer a second time. Once the hammer is down, releasing and pressing the trigger a second time will not recock and fire the pistol. The slide must be reciprocated before the trigger is active again. The SIG/DAK is a notable exception. It does double-drop, a feature considered significant by many.
(3) Hammer fired vs striker fired. A traditional, arcing hammer will predictably deliver a heaver blow to the chambered cartridge’s primer and will a “striker,”which is little more than a spring-loaded firing pin. Many design engineers thus insist that hammer-fired pistols provide inherently more reliable ignition than do striker-fired ones. However, many trainers insist that a pistol with a hammer that visibly moves as the trigger is pressed is distracting to beginning students who should be learning to watch the front sight. No striker-fired pistol features double-drop.
(4) Field stripping without the necessity of first dry-firing the pistol. This is primarily a training/common-sense issue, but it has garnered the attention of many chiefs. The industry has taken notice. For example, the Beretta PX4 comes apart exactly as does a Glock, absent the dry-fire-first requirement.
Interestingly, Glock pistols, which are currently the top sellers, feature none of the above, and no pistol I know of features them all. However, it is fair to say that smart manufacturers will continue to modify products and create new ones in an effort to claim market share. And, when one wants to sell pistols in America, he has to sell them to police chiefs. Pistols not popular with police will not be popular in the general market.
5 Sept 06
Several have suggested I also enumerate those other directions in pistol design that range from useless to hurtful. Not all can be legitimately called “trends,” but all of the following are manifestations of manufacturers going in the wrong direction:
(1) Grip Safety. Grip safeties have been standard on 1911s from the beginning. They are also found on the more current SA/XD. Happily, none of the other major manufacturers have seen a need for them. Grip safeties are called “passive” safety devices, because they are not deliberately, or even consciously, operated by the shooter. The pistol can’t be fired unless grasped in the normal, firing grip, an act which depresses the grip safety and enables the trigger mechanism. When they work, grip safeties function just fine, but people with skinny/bony hands sometimes fail to depress them sufficiently, even when they grasp the pistol correctly. In fact, a poorly-adjusted grip safety can be a problem even for those with average hands. I, for one, would not like to see grip safeties added to pistols that do not already have them.
(2) Loaded-Chamber Indicator. Taking the form of a bulge on the extractor or a hole drilled into the chamber itself, loaded-chamber indicators are supposed to provide an tactile/visual indication of the status of the chamber. They now come standard on several otherwise excellent pistols. My advice is to ignore them. When ignored, loaded-chamber indicators are, at least, harmless. The danger comes when naive shooters rely upon the dubious information provided by the device, instead of performing a legitimate chamber check. The world would be better off without them.
(3) Forward Slide Serrations. Another “feature” best ignored. The trouble starts when shooters use them when they attempt to reciprocate the slide with the traditional (and correct) support-hand, overhand grip. The support hand then gets too far forward and actually occludes the ejection port, making it impossible for the pistol to cleanly eject a recalcitrant round or an empty case. In addition, with the hand in this forward position, the little finger invariably drapes over the muzzle. Front slide serrations have no legitimate function on serious pistols. Covering the ejection port while reciprocating the slide would appear to be an inherent contradiction. Placing fingers in front of muzzles, for any reason or duration, is foolish.
(4) Manual Safety. The vast majority of pistols currently in production do not feature a two-position, manual safety, nor have they ever. In the opinion of professional gunmen, the weight and length of most pistols’ trigger pulls provides the margin of safety necessary for daily carry and serious use. The addition of a manual safety constitutes a superfluous and dangerous redundancy. I, for one, do not want to see two-position manual safeties added to pistols, such as the Glock, that do not already have them, even as an option. We’re all familiar with the way “options” quickly migrate to “requisites!”
(5) Hyper-Accuracy. There is no doubt that some pistols are inherently more accurate than others. SIG’s five-point lockup, for example, yields an intrinsically greater degree of accuracy than is the case with most other production pistols. However, in serious use, discussions of pistol accuracy are mostly irrelevant. Any production pistol, from any reputable manufacturer, is more than sufficiently accurate for nearly any practical purpose. The trouble comes when, in an attempt to produce hyper-accuracy, pistols are tightened up to the point where they become unreliable. Hyper-accurate, but temperamental, pistols are of no interest to serious gunmen.
(6) Magazine Safety. Worse than merely useless, magazine safeties are death traps! Formidable liability negates any conjectured “safety” benefit of this device. The presumed advantage is that a grip safety sterilizes the pistol when the magazine is removed. However, often the magazine in a pistol that is being carried for defensive purposes is inadvertently unseated. Under these circumstances, the pistol will not fire and the owner doesn’t know it and won’t find out until the pistol is desperately needed to defend his life. In a worst case, the unseated magazine may, unnoticed, fall free from the pistol and thus not be immediately available for reseating. In addition, the pistol is unavoidably inoperable during much of the reloading process, and when magazines are damaged or unavailable, the pistol becomes completely useless. Worst of all, dependence on a magazine safety can be used to excuse sloppy and unsafe gun handling and storage. Storing an unsecured pistol with a round chambered is unsafe and improper, whether the pistol is equipped with a magazine safety or not.
In summary, magazine safeties provide precious little in the way of “safety” but do substantially jeopardize the health of the pistols’ owners.
(7) Key lock. Many manufacturers have decided to produce their guns with internal locking devices, operated via an external key. Their products are now unavailable without the locking device. Key locks enable the owner to sterilize a gun, even an otherwise loaded one, so that it cannot be fired without first being unlocked. Again, this “feature” is marketed as an “alternative” to proper storage. Some manufacturers, including Glock, offer it only as an option.
Again, this is a feature best ignored. It is akin to putting a lock on a fire extinguisher. It is impossible to tell, from looking, if the weapon is enabled or sterile, and keeping it locked with the intention of unlocking it in the middle of an emergency is self-deception in the extreme! Guns are best left permanently unlocked and then stored and carried properly. Actually using the locking device is an invitation to disaster, a death trap!
The foregoing are with us mostly as a result of gunmakers’ over-cautious, in-house councils trying desperately to justify their existence and not caring a whit for the poor schmuck whose life may, one day, depend upon their product. None come about as the result of consultation with real Operators and professional gunmen.
12 Sept 06
After surgery to remove superfluous material, my copy of the Beretta CX4 is back in service. We used it in OH last week, during a battery of courses. Ran just fine!
It is designed to be rapidly convertible from right-side ejection, to left side. The bolt handle can also be moved from side to side. Nice feature for use within a department.
We found it to be amazingly accurate, effortlessly delivering consistent brain-stem shots at twenty meters. Of course, it shoots 40S&W pistol ammunition, but it is light, smooth, short, handy, easy to maneuver, and easy to use. Excellent “car gun!”
12 Sept 06
On magazine safeties, from a friend and student:
“I remember you once said that you removed the magazine safety from all your S&W pistols as soon as you got them. Did you accomplish this by completely removing the appropriate plunger and spring from the slide? I’ve had a gunsmith do this on my S&W CS45. However, I am now wondering if having an open hole on the bottom of the slide (that communicates with the firing-pin channel) is a problem. My gun runs fine, but I’m wondering if this modification will increase fouling in the firing pin channel and create problems when the gun gets dirty.”
Removing the magazine safety on any S&W pistol will not create problems. S&W deliberately makes the process easy, knowing that serious gunmen will want nothing to do with magazine safeties. All who use these guns for any kind of serious purpose remove them. Little fouling ever makes its way into the firing pin channel. Get rid of it! Your pistol will continue to run just fine.
13 Sept 06
On Kalashnikovs, from a friend in SA:
“We ran an Urban Rifle Course here last weekend. A student (rank amateur) arrived with a dirty, rusty, beat-up, bone-dry, Chinese AKM and nine-hundred rounds of steel-case, Russian ammunition, dated 1963. It was all badly corroded, and I was skeptical, but, in the end, allowed him to use it anyway. Out of nine-hundred rounds, not one failure to fire! He had three failures to feed, as the cases involved were rusted to the point where they no longer fit in the chamber.”
Comment: Even under the worst conditions, Kalashnikovs, no matter where they were manufactured, usually come through. Rude and crude, by American standards, the Kalashnikov still proudly claims the title of a significant milestone in firearm history!
13 Sept 06
Many have asked about my recommended modifications to the Beretta CX4. Here is a summary from my riflesmith, Colby Adler:
“The pistol grip should be cut flush with the actual magazine well to allow normal seating of a magazine. The back of the pistol grip can then be radiused for appearance and comfort.
Cut the stock loop off with a hacksaw. You can then profile the stock with a wood rasp or coarse file. Don’t worry about making the stock perfectly smooth, as you will have to fill in voids with epoxy or fiberglass anyway, and then file off the excess.
I also trimmed one-third of the bolt-lock/release lever. As it comes from the factory, the lever is too long. When you trim some of it off, there will be less likelihood of the bolt locking to the rear prematurely when the shooter uses a thumbs-up grip.
John’s copy of the CX4 also had a spacer in front of the recoil pad. Unless you have unusually long arms, get rid of it! The recoil pad just snaps on, and the spacer can be removed with one screw.”
Comment: These relatively simple modifications make this handy carbine even handier and easier to use. Recommended!
13 Sept 06
Excellent bullet performance from Federal, from a friend who just returned from a Cape Buffalo hunt in Zimbabwe:
“While some consider the 375 H&H marginal for Cape Buffalo, the one I used performed just fine. In the hands of competent riflemen, it is more than enough.
I shot two buffalo, the first at fifty meters with a Federal 300gr ‘Trophy-Bonded-Bear-Claw.’ It transverse penetrated the entire chest cavity on a broadside shot, fully expanding, and retaining most of its weight. It came to rest just under the skin on the opposite side. The buffalo staggered and went down on the spot.
The second was an old bull. I used a Federal ‘Trophy-Bonded-Sledgehammer,’ also 300gr. This buffalo, at ninety meters, was quartering away. The bullet penetrated the rear ribs, went all the way to the heart, penetrated it, and, once more, lodged just under the skin near the shoulder. The ageing bull ran thirty yards and then laid down for the last time.
I like these Federal loads! Both worked as advertised.”
Comment: In all my African hunting, I’ve mostly used Barnes, all-copper bullets, and have become sold on them. This heartening report indicates to me that Federal has pretty good bullet designs too. When I finally get to hunt Cape Buffalo, I’ll have to decide!
15 Sept 06
Spot-on comments on rifle selection, from a friend in the Phillippines. Some truths resurface continually!
“In the early 90s, a Russian delegation came over here to demonstrate various Kalashnikov platforms to Philippine Military and LE agencies. By this time, reserve stocks of serviceable M16 rifles were running low, and the US State Department was dragging its heels over export permits. The Russians saw an opportunity for a big sale!
The weapons, as you noted, functioned well. Yes, sights are crude, and the selector is anything but handy. Still, they offered to sell our government AK rifles at an extremely attractive price. Equally attractive, the Russians would also ship manufacturing equipment so that the rifles could be made in-country. This would allow us to use mass production to remedy issues with sights and selectors. The offer to bring in equipment and components to locally manufacture ammunition was also made. Apparently, after the Cold War, 75% of these machines were idle, and so giving them away was an easy way to sweeten the offer.
But, the deal didn’t go through. In the end, the Philippine military wanted to look like their US counterparts, even if that meant having to make do with weapons that were worn out. Today, military and LE units are equipped with a mixture of Stoner rifles. Many are Frankenguns. cobbled together from an assortment of spare parts. In retrospect, we should have taken the Russians up on their offer!
The lesson here is this: we cannot fall in love with our guns. Something that works now is far better than what we want, but cannot have. Musashi learned to fight with any sword, even wooden ones, and still won! “Battlefield pickup” drills are incorporated into DTI classes precisely to stress this point. I see why! We need to be taught to rise to the situation while we can, not wait for perfect solutions to magically appear!”
Comment: Put another way, we need to spend our time finding a way to win, not looking for an excuse to lose. We see examples of this truth everywhere!
15 Sept 06
223 performance, from a friend who owns a large ranch:
“I shot fifteen wild pigs over the last two years with a 223 rifle. As I field-dress them, I have the opportunity to observe the extent of tissue destruction, in addition to observing the animal’s reaction to being shot. All pigs were shot through the shoulder, with the intent of striking both lungs. Pigs varied in weight from 100 pounds to 250 pounds. I will restrict my comments to animals that weighed at least 150 pounds.
WW 55gr JSP
Black Hills 68gr OTM
Black Hills 75gr OTM
Black Hills 77gr OTM
Federal 55gr TBBC (Trophy-Bonded Bear Claw)
Cor-Bon 53gr DPX (Barnes “Triple-Shok” bullet)
55gr JSP killed the pig to be sure, but the bullet broke up on ribs. Questionable stuff.
BH 68-77gr rounds either anchored the pig on the spot, or knocked it down. It ran as far as twenty yards before collapsing. The onside lung was greatly damaged, but offside lung showed few signs of harm.
Federal 55gr TBBC anchored pigs. Onside lung was moderately damaged. Offside lung showed some trauma.
Cor-Bon 53gr DPX: All pigs anchored! Onside lung exceedingly damaged. Offside lung significantly damaged also. The bullets exited two of the pigs, leaving one-inch exit wounds. Best performance of all rounds tested. My choice now.”
Comment: The foregoing mirrors my experience. Cor-Bon’s DPX is the top choice among serious, 223 rounds. To be sure, DPX does not magically convert the 223 into a 308, but it does significantly address the (1) penetration and (2) internal-tissue-destruction issues that have haunted the 223 from the beginning. It is what I routinely carry in my XCR/car gun.
17 Sept 06
At this year’s NTI, friend and colleague, Tom Givens, laid bare an unsavory fact, something I’ve tried, but failed thus far, to express clearly. He confronted us all: “When asked why you routinely bear arms, albeit concealed, what is your answer?” Do you shrewdly couch your response in ostensibly inoffensive phrases like, ‘personal security,’ ‘self-protection,’ or ‘accessing the full spectrum of the force continuum?’” He continued, “I believe it’s time we audaciously call a spade a spade! When asked that same question, my unmistakable and unapologetic responses is e’er, ‘I carry a gun so I can shoot people!’”
Under some circumstances, some people need to be shot, dead, on the spot! Indeed, there are times when shooting people, while always regrettable, is still acutely necessary in order to prevent the innocent from being hurt. That’s what guns are for, and we carry them constantly, because we cannot know when the pivotal moment will be upon us. I don’t keep a fire extinguisher in my home, because I harbor some secret, pestilent desire to put out fires! On the contrary, it is my sincerest wish that I never see a fire. Still, most regard keeping a fire extinguisher handy to be a reasonable precaution. Similarly, we look upon concealed guns as an item of emergency, safety equipment. Always ready, yet, as decent people, we wish never to be compelled by circumstance to use them for their intended purpose. We take no pleasure in doing harm, but we have fearlessly confronted the incontrovertible fact that it may well be necessary in order to abrogate an even greater harm.
Tom is right! We need to stop continually driving into our enemy’s strong suite, by pseudo-apologizing for refusing to be the perpetual victims that politicians and the media, at every level, so desperately want us to be. We need to speak clearly, without apology. While I don’t believe one should use language in an effort to be deliberately offensive, we have to stop letting the enemy set “language rules,” arbitrarily declaring this or that word or phrase “offensive,” and thus placing it off limits in polite conversation. In this way, they cleverly see to it that clear and uncluttered language is replaced with meaningless weasel-words and pretentious diction specifically designed to avoid engendering accurate, stark mental images. It is all contrived to make lies sound truthful, misdeeds sound respectable, and lend an appearance of substance to pure wind. Thus, the naive among us sit back, unaware, as a flood of bulky words falls upon pointy facts like soft snow, blurring outlines and covering inconvenient details.
Weasel-words are the domain of frauds and charlatans. As righteous warriors, we need to say what we mean, and mean what we say!
18 Sept 06
From my friend and colleague, Mike S. This says a lot about folks in that part of the world:
“Now, here’s a really telling quotation. Apparently Pakistan’s nuclear threat is nothing to worry about, as it’s clear that there are not a lot of rocket scientists there.”
“Anyone who describes Islam as intolerant encourages violence”
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman (of Pakistan) Tasnim Aslam, ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Sep 15, 2006 (AP)
18 Sept 06
Fatal shooting in the Midwest. Force-on-Force training pays off:
“The investigation is still in progress, but here is what we know:
Yesterday evening, our patrolman (just successfully completed probation) was in foot pursuit of a home-invasion suspect. The suspect suddenly stopped, turned around, and fired at least one shot in the direction of our officer. Range was less than three feet! Suspect had a four-inch, six-shot revolver. Not sure if he was firing 38Spl or 357Mg ammunition.
The suspect’s shot(s) missed! Our detectives are still trying to find the suspect’s bullet(s). Our officer instantly responded with eleven rounds from his 40S&W (G22, Gold Dot). The suspect may have fired one or two additional rounds. If he did, it/they also missed.
The suspect (local, six-time loser) went down immediately, DRT. At the scene, I counted nine entry wounds, chest and abdomen, but the medical people did not have all his cloths off yet, so there may have been additional wounds in his limbs. I did not see him when they rolled him over, so I don’t know about exit wounds. In any event, officer, pistol, and ammunition all performed well. Our officer sustained muzzle-blast burns on both arms, but is otherwise okay. No one else was hurt.
Co-incidentally, the entire department had just been exposed to force-on-force training, using Airsoft pistols. During training scenarios, we emphasized, among other things, shooting continuously until the threat is clearly stopped. This training surely paid off, much sooner than any of us thought it would!”
Comment: Force-on-force training, when conducted well, is invaluable, as we see! This officer knew what he had to do, and he did it with precision and without hesitation. Good guys are all okay, and one pernicious piece of human sewage is permanently removed from the gene pool.
18 Sept 06
In the early part of the last Century, as European colonization infused tribal Africa with the values and traditions of Western Civilization, vast areas of sub-equatorial Africa saw European-style, organized agriculture for the first time in history. While far-away governments in Portugal, England, Holland, France, Belgium, and Germany displayed great interest in their African colonies’ natural resources, they simultaneously displayed almost none for indigenous populations, whose lives and livelihoods (due to arbitrary lines drawn on maps) they routinely turned upside down. Local colonial administrators, many surprisingly enlightened, could count on scant interest, and even less tangible help, from Europe. European immigrants, seeking opportunity in this lush, new land, quickly learned not to depend upon any colonial administration. For those who didn’t learn self-reliance promptly, the “African Adventure” was short and unhappy, frequently lethal. For the unwary and uninitiated, the African bush was notoriously unforgiving. It still is! Believe me; I know.
Toward the end of 1937, unprecedented weather changes brought about compounded plagues in present-day Mozambique, on the east coast of the African Continent. Malaria, a perpetual problem, was joined by outbreaks of African sleeping sickness (spread via the ubiquitous Tsetse Fly) and leprosy. This resulted in a large percentage of local populations being incessantly sick and weakened. Many died, but nearly everyone was affected. An unforeseen consequence was that the local lion population suddenly discovered a relatively easy, high-protein diet!
In this way, large prides of man-eating lions, including both sexes, periodically made their frightful appearance, and the situation in 1937 was the worst on record! Hundreds, probably thousands, of weakened natives were attacked and eaten that year in southeast Africa. In fact, the odor of the sick and dying, wafting from villages, was known to attract entire prides of lions, sometimes from miles away. Lions quickly learned they had little to fear from frightened and emaciated natives, even the few healthy ones. Of course, none of this ever saw the light of day in any European nor American newspaper!
Heavily-armed European farmers looked upon lions as little more than pests, the same way coyotes are regarded today. However, to the less-technological natives, lions, particularly hungry ones, were about as scary as animals get, and many European farmers became instant heroes when they, at great personal risk, had enough empathy to hunt down and kill the man-eaters. It was an exciting time, a time of great danger and great heroes!
Today, descendants of those brave European adventurers are nearly all gone from the verdant Eden that was once the Zambezi Valley. Mozambique, plagued by civil war since Europeans left, is now barren, unproductive, embroiled in never-ending, sectarian violence, racked with a new plague (AIDS), and so littered with landmines (which will never be cleared) that it is too dangerous to travel into many areas, places that once supported a thriving, agricultural economy.
Writing about that best-of-times/worst-of-times era, Adelino Serras Pires, famous guide and hunter, says wistfully, “For the first time, local people felt that someone actually gave a damn! Another crisis had been survived. Until the next time. In that magic, African bush, there was always a next time. The mercy was that we could not see into the future!”
Perhaps it is merciful that we, in our era, can’t see the future either!
19 Sept 06
Current situation in Israel, from a friend there:
“…police top echelon claims, in essence, ‘We are not criminals, just incompetent!’ This is an often-used argument here. It’s called the SHIELD OF MEDIOCRITY. Unfortunately, it is an accepted defense that works 95% of the time.”
Comment: The “Shield of Mediocrity” argument is alive and well here too. Unfortunately, placing unqualified, incompetent, even dishonorable, people into important, public positions is a grand tradition in Western Civilization. One bungling blunder after another, and they are never disciplined, much less fired. In most cultures, and in nature, you only get to be incompetent once! Here, “The mediocre are always at their best!” Reassuring to hear that the practice is not confined to the USA.
20 Sept 06
Some users of Robinson Arms’ XCR rifle have reported slam fires, during the loading process and while otherwise firing normally. It apparently involves several, specific brands of ammunition that have particularly sensitive primers.
Alex Robinson immediately identified and solved the problem by designing and installing, on the existing bolt, a firing-pin buffer. My bolt has just been thus updated, and my XCR now runs fine. Of course, it ran fine before the update, but now, if there ever was an issue, it has been put to bed.
Owners of XCRs need to contact RA and make arrangements to send in their bolts for this update, even though their rifles may be working normally. No need to send the entire rifle. The bolt is all that is necessary, and it can be sent in a small, padded envelope. RA turned mine around in a week.
Current production of XCRs ship with the update in place, so it is no longer an issue with new rifles. RA quickly isolated and fixed the problem, like the premier manufacturer they are. Good show!
21 Sept 06
News from Glock-dom:
Friends at Glock tell me (1) Glock polymer, pistol frames are now being manufactured entirely in the USA (GA). The intent is to eventually move a substantial portion of production over here from Europe. This is strong evidence that Glock is anticipating large, US military orders, where one condition will be that weapons be made within the borders of CONUS.
The USMC has taken the lead on designing the new, military pistol. However, certain semi-autonomous military units, weary of waiting on the military bureaucracy to make a decision, have, on their own, ordered quantities of G22s, in 40S&W! So, it looks as if we’ll end up with a mixture of pistols, and calibers, throughout the military system, no matter how hard those within the system try to standardize on one. Interestingly, 40S&W is a good performer in its various high-performance manifestations, all of which feature controlled-expansion bullets. Conversely, 40S&W hardball doesn’t perform much better than does 9mm hardball! Are these high-speed folks planning on being autonomous enough to procure their own, non-hardball ammunition inventory too?
(2) Glock’s contender for this next, military pistol will look like a G21, only slimmer. The slide will be the same size, and it will still have a double-column magazine, but the grip will not be nearly as fat as is currently the case with the G21. Right now, it’s called the “SF45.” In Glock numerology, the next number in line would be “G40,” which would, of course, generate no end of confusion, so the designation, for now anyway, is GSF45. The Marines like 45GAP caliber, considering it a good performer, even in the hardball configuration they believe themselves to be stuck with. However, vendors have been told there will be no new small-arms calibers in the military system for the foreseeable future. No 45GAP. No 6.8mm.
The issue is not performance. It’s a ponderous military logistics system, combined with the extremely limited ammunition production capacity we find ourselves presently saddled with. Under the GH Bush and Clinton Administrations, our national archipelago military ammunition plants were all decommissioned, save one. We now discover, to our dismay, that one plant, with the assistance of virtually every major, domestic, private-sector ammunition manufacturer, still cannot keep up with demand, even in the relatively low-intensity conflict we’re in right now (much less, a world war!). Under the GW Bush Administration, the situation has not improved. So, to get a new pistol caliber selected, tested, ordered, produced, an ultimately distributed to every military storage area (and there are thousands!), worldwide, in sufficient quantity to supply a major operation would take at least six years, more like ten! Accordingly, I’m told any new gun, rifle or pistol, that ever sees the light of day, is going to have to shoot what we already have on hand (with all its faults). The new pistol will be chambered for 45ACP. NATO pressure to stick with 9mm are, at least for the present, being ignored.
(3) The SF45 will have an ambidextrous, two-position, manual safety. It is designed to mostly disengage itself as the shooter acquires a normal, shooting grip. But, it must be manually, consciously re-engaged. Resembles a cross-bolt. Magazine release is ambidextrous/switchable. The ostensible necessity for a manual safety is still being hotly debated, but the “pro” side currently has the upper hand.
(4) The “G36 Tactical” will soon make its appearance. The current G36 is Glock’s slim, single-column, compact 45ACP carry gun. I carry my copy regularly, and it is a great concealment pistol. Now, imagine a G36 with a five-inch slide! Apparently, there is a big demand for a Glock pistol that is close to the dimensions of a 1911. The customer is always right!
(5) Those anticipating the debut of Glock’s long-awaited 223 rifle and/or staple-gun, will still be waiting this time next year! Glock is trying to get it produced, but we’ve been hearing about it for ten years now, and I suspect the military pistol project is consuming so much attention that no Glock rifle will see the light of day in the foreseeable future.
Both the GSF45 and the G36T will be making their debut at the 2007 SHOT Show in Orlando, FL in January.
26 Sept 06
Gun Auction by the Park Co Sheriff’s Dept, Fairplay, CO:
Next weekend, the PCSO is hosting an auction, open to the public, of guns and other goods impounded by the SO during the course of the past few years. Making it possible for good and decent citizens to legally acquire firearms that would otherwise be wholesaled or destroyed is extraordinary indeed, and the PCSO deserves much credit for this courageous and enlightened policy.
Who are interested in attending need to contact Undersheriff Monty Gore:
Undersheriff Monty Gore
Park Co Sheriff’s Office
PO Bx 27
Fairplay, CO 80440
719 836 2494
26 Sept 06
On DAKs and Kydex holsters, from a friend in the Philippines:
“I had the opportunity to shoot a SIG 226/DAK over the weekend. I love that trigger! SIG’s “short” (actually “thin”) trigger works well in our small, Asian hands, and the DAK pull is the smoothest I’ve encountered in a factory pistol. Glock still leads the market here, but I think this player offers an excellent alternative.
I gave away several Comp-Tac C-Tac holsters to friends, some over a year ago. Gregg’s products have stood the test, and even my fears of leather connectors rotting in our climate were unfounded. No one I’ve given a Comp-Tac to has had to replace it.”
Comment: Where you stand depends on where you sit!
26 Sept 06
9mm hardball “performance,” from an LEO friend on the East Coast:
“Victim, a large, athletic, muscular male, was shot three times at close range with 9mm, 115gr FMJ. The lethal round went in through his sternum, pierced his heart and one lung, exited under his shoulder blade, and went out through the back of his heavy, leather coat. Second round went in through the front of his leather coat, through the center of his muscular thigh, just missing the bone, exited just below the buttocks, and, like the other, out through the rear of his leather coat. Third round went through and through his right hand.
All three bullets were recovered! One plowed into dirt fifty yards away. One buried itself nearly two inches into a wooden plank. The third hit (and substantially deformed) a metal stair railing, then bounced back into a hallway floor.
Upon sustaining these three hits, over a period of a few seconds, the victim walked fifteen feet, then down a flight of stairs, traversed the stair landing, and had started down the next flight of stairs when he collapsed and fell the rest of the way. He was DRT, but he remained completely conscious and fully capable of fighting for at least twenty seconds, all after being “fatally” wounded.
Let us remind ourselves:
(1) Bullet placement is important, to be sure, but even perfect placement cannot overcome ballistic inadequacy and poor terminal performance. Controlled expansion bullets, in heavy calibers, will always be superior, for personal defensive purposes, than hardball, particularly in light calibers.
(2) Multiple hits need to be inflicted, as rapidly as accuracy will permit. Your opponent must be overwhelmed to the point where his will to fight rapidly disintegrates.
(3) Impacts into extremities, arms and legs, are seldom beneficial. In fact, such peripheral hits rarely do anything except energize the target! Impacts to the body midline are the only ones that count.
(4) Most important is you own mind. You cannot allow yourself to be surprised (and thus stalled into inaction) when your opponent doesn’t immediately give in, in spite of repeated, well-centered, heavy-caliber hits from high-performance ammunition. It’s still just a pistol!
(5) In my experience, FMJ ammunition, particularly in 9mm and .45ACP (and, by interpolation, 40S&W) will through-and-through penetrate the human torso more often than not, usually with enough retained velocity to seriously injure bystanders. High-performance, controlled-expansion bullets, on the other hand, rarely exit a human torso. Accordingly, not carrying high-performance ammunition, when it is available, carries with it great (and pointless) risk.”
26 Sept 06
Interesting development in NY, from a friend there:
“After several, recent shootings involving NYSP (New York State Police) Troopers and their G17 pistols, the decision has been made to change caliber for the entire agency! G17s have functioned just fine, but troopers are no longer satisfied with the performance of any brand of 9mm.
CCI/Speer has been asked to develop a round specifically for NYSP, in 45GAP! Testing is nearly complete, and the entire agency will be transitioning to Glocks (G37, G38) in 45GAP caliber shortly.”
Comment: The trend among state police troopers has heretofore been in the direction of 357SIG.
This is the first to go with 45GAP.
26 Sept 06
Comments on training for nuclear plant guards, from a friend in the industry:
“Our team recently engaged in a competition among other teams from a number of nuclear plants from around the Country. Courses of fire were simple, yet challenging, testing weapons skills and individual and team tactics. It was a good drill, and most guards displayed at least some acumen.
The unhappy part was gun handling. It was abysmal! Cavalier disregard for muzzle consciousness was standard procedure for some teams. I grew so weary of having rifles carelessly pointed at me that I left the area. I didn’t want to get hurt, and I surely didn’t want to be a witness!”
Comment: This is the depressing (and always covered up) legacy of cold ranges. Gun accidents that are merely postponed are not thus “prevented!” The routine handling of sterile guns engenders and perpetuates all manner of bad habits, habits that will inevitably cause accidents long after participants depart the “safe” range. Who are unwilling to adopt hot ranges as the standard mode of training do their students no good service, as we see!
27 Sept 06
Comments on cold ranges, from a friend in the Philippines:
“Cold range philosophy has been standard here since we went soft in the 1970s. When a return to hot ranges is suggested, all kinds of fraudulent rationalizations are frantically served up in order to refute any such idea. Curiously, “safety” is rarely mentioned. Political big shots don’t like the idea of we peons going armed, even on ranges. The only ones they want continuously armed are their own bodyguards!
We do our best to teach people to be safe and competent with guns, with an eye toward our students some day being faced with a security emergency. Yet, cold ranges betray our lack of dedication. As with trap and skeet shooters (who, for example, insist on resting muzzles on their toes) cold-range training rapidly deteriorates into just a game, a diversion from more important activities, like closing the next deal.
On those rare occasions when anyone listens to me, I confront them with the inconvenient fact that cold ranges are little more than crystallized hypocrisy. We need to get back to the day when our students came first!”
28 Sept 06
We conducted an Urban Rifle/Shotgun Program in WA last weekend. As always, it was a high-volume, grueling program. Scant glamour; just demanding exertion.
A student made these sage comments:
(1) Indecision and dithering lead to lethal delays (gaps). Making a timely decision, and sticking with it, is thus critical to personal victory.
(2) Skillful use of cover is crucial, but even more important is a prompt and adequate volume of accurate fire. Deadly-accurate fire, at once, is ultimately the best cover! Ending the fight quickly and conclusively is yet another key to personal victory.
(3) Reckless speed, at the expense of accuracy, is invariably a death sentence. Well placed, deliberate shots are the unmistakable sign of competent riflemen.”
How similar are comments made many centuries earlier by Mushashi. He reminds us that true manhood, true warriorhood, true scholarship, and true citizenship are inseparable:
“ Dwell upon what is right and true. Do not fill your mind with sewage
Practice and cultivate the science; become acquainted with the arts; know the principles of the crafts
Understand the harm and benefit in everything
Learn to perceive all things accurately
Become aware of what is not obvious
Be careful, even in small matters
Do not do anything useless.”
Comment: Merely learning a set of skills associated with the operation of a machine does not a warrior make! True warriors relentlessly seek the True Way. During the journey, critical skills we all covet are added to us, almost without our notice!
29 Sept 06
One of our students puts it well:
“Our authentic duty, as responsible citizens, is to never lose sight of the simple fact that criminals are perfectly willing, at all times, to do us harm, and that such harm will be unexpected, unprovoked, unjustified, and in contemptuous defiance of extant laws and rules. Evil seeks neither approval nor consensus! It thus is necessary for righteous citizens, personally, to be always prepared to successfully, physically, and unapologetically repel criminal violence.
To the extent to which we depart from the truth and personal acceptance of this fact, we are naively living in dreamland, a fool’s paradise, manufactured by sleazy, power-hungry politicians for their benefit, not ours.
Demeaning, pathetic dependence, no matter how it is sugar-coated, is the way of bondage and slavery. Free men bear arms!”