10 Feb 07

Yesterday, 9 Feb 07, at 9:00AM (local time) I shot and killed a huge Cape Buffalo here in Africa. Buff was DRT!

I used a borrowed, iron-sighted FN bolt gun in 458WM. I hit the buff twice. First round was a Barnes 450gr solid. The second a Barnes 450gr DPX. Both had been prepared for me by friend and colleague, Mike Shove, at Cor-Bon.

We encountered the herd, six bulls, up close. They were tossing their heads in the air, trying to get the smell of us, but couldn’t, as the air was still. That made them nervous! One suddenly broke from the rest and charged us! I could hear the fear in my guide’s voice when he shouted at me, “Shoot that one. Shoot him now!”

The bull was facing me and starting to move directly toward me rapidly. I put my front sight just under his chin, held it steady, and pressed. When my shot broke, the buff appeared to have run into a glass wall! His chest piled into the ground as his rear end went up in the air. When his rear legs came back down, he lurched to side and ran to the right. The bullet hit him in the throat and then, amazingly, penetrated nearly six feet of buffalo flesh, lodging just under the skin on the inside of his right leg. The bronze, Barnes solid was not even scratched. It could be used again!

I bolted in another solid, but I short-stroked it, and the empty case stuck. I quickly flipped it and the next solid out and reloaded with DPX. I hit the buff again, this time in the side. The DPX went through, lodging, fully expanded, just under the skin on the opposite side, after completely obliterating both lungs!

Just then, we heard the characteristic bellow, signifying the buff had breathed his last. What a relief! I shot him once more, but it was unnecessary.

Most buffs don’t charge unless they’ve been wounded. This one did. When I hit him, the range was 15m. He would have been on top of me in scarcely more than two seconds! “Front sight and careful trigger!” The magic formula that we all teach worked, in spades!

More details later.



13 Feb 07

International travel:

When traveling internationally, here are some things which, when you have them with you, will make your trip infinitely more pleasant:

Washcloth. Washcloths are common only in the USA. If you’re accustomed to using one when taking a shower, better bring you own!

Electric plug converter. Being able to use your own electric shaver, toothbrush, hair drier, et al is a great convenience and comfort.

Broad-spectrum, heavy-duty, oral antibiotic. When you get a G-I tract full of strange bugs from bad water or food, you need to get rid of them right away, before they cost you five days of your vacation. Tell you doctor where you’re going, and he’ll fix you up.

Diarrhea pills. Diarrhea is common among foreign travelers for any number of reasons, and is leads to chronic dehydration and a host of other unpleasantries. Seldom fatal, but it takes all the fun out of your trip. Get rid of it!

Sunscreen. Amazing how hard sunscreen is to find! Be sure you bring you own.

Cough-suppressant. A nagging, persistent cough can make a good, night’s sleep impossible, and you won’t be able to find cough-suppressant in the middle of the night in BF-Egypt. Best to have it with you.

Nasal decongestant spray. A stuffy nose can also ruin a good-night’s sleep.

Take aspirin during long flights. It will thin you blood slightly and eliminate circulation problems commonly associated with sitting in one position for long periods.

Sleeping pills. You may have difficulty falling asleep for any number of reasons. Again, for one, I don’t have time for this crap!

Chapstick. Difficult to find outside of the USA and critical when you spend a lot of time outside. Bring it along!

Bug repellant. You’ll need it when in the field!

Make a color copy of your passport. When the original gets lost or stolen, a color copy will make it a simple matter to get it replaced.

The forgoing list is probably not complete, but it is what I consider most important.


22 Feb 07

I returned from Africa to CONUS today, none the worse for wear! We’ll be at Tom Givens’ Polite Society event this weekend.

Way behind on e-mail and regular mail. I’ll be catching up over the next week or so. I will personally answer all.



24 Feb 07

More on hunting in Africa:

When in Buffalo Country, you’re also in Lion Country! The two always go together. When the buff I shot finally died and let out his last bellow, nearby lions heard it as well as us! They immediately started roaring. We never saw one, but the death of the buffalo indisputably attracted their interest. The rule is: When in Buff/Lion Country, never leave your vehicle without your rifle! Put another way, “Don’t go looking for things, not expecting to find them!” We blundered into a herd of bull buffalo fifteen minutes into a hunt that was supposed to take three days.

Most hunters who are killed by Cape Buffalo die during a charge by one who has been wounded, but not decisively so. Wounded buffalo are extremely aggressive and dangerous! That is why, when hunting Cape Buffalo, your first shot must be a killer. The first shot is, by far, the most important. The buffalo that charged me had not been wounded, but we encountered the herd unexpectedly, and they became frightened. Even so, such charges are not common.

When they charge past you, Cape Buffalo will predictably turn around and come back. They will not relent until you are, in the words of the Coroner of Munchkinville, “…not merely dead, but most sincerely dead!”

Black Rhino are similar and probably the most dangerous animal on the African Continent. Were they not so rare, they would be responsible for many more deaths than they presently are. Black Rhino will predictably charge, wounded or not, the moment they see you. By contrast, the larger but more docile White Rhino rarely charge. We saw several while hunting buffalo, and they paid scant attention to us.

When they charge, Lions can often be successfully sidestepped by moving off the line of force. Lions rarely turn around and come back at you after you thus dodge their charge. They usually just keep running. Nearly everyone who spends any amount time in the bush has been charged by a Lion at one time or another. People are often mauled by Lions (and Leopards), but the fatality percentage is relatively low, as such attacks are usually short in duration. By contrast, attacks by Cape Buffalo are nearly always fatal!

More Later!



24 Feb 07

Cor-Bon PowerBall Shooting:

An African LEO student relates this story:

“Armed only with my G26 and 9mm PowerBall (that you brought me last time you were here), I was witness to a jewelry-store robbery in a Pretoria shopping mall. A gang of four robbery suspects, all armed with Kalashnikov rifles, approached the jewelry store and began blasting away at the barred entryway. They shot until the entire locking mechanism was shredded and gave way. Upon entering the store, the suspects gathered as much merchandise as they cold and then fled. Miraculously, no one in the store was injured.

I took cover hiding behind a potted palm as they ran past. I verbally challenged the third suspect, but he was obviously confused with regard to where my voice was coming from. When he didn’t drop his rifle, I fired three shots at him at a range of fifteen meters. All three struck him in the back but did not exit. He immediately screamed and dropped his rifle. After taking several more tentative steps, he collapsed, DRT. I don’t think he ever figured out where I had been. The balance of the suspects made good their escape.”

Comment: PowerBall worked just fine, and I’m glad he had a supply when he needed them. He is now armed with DPX!

My friend made a good plan and executed it well. Acting decisively, he emerged victorious! No dithering. No hesitation!



24 Feb 07

From a LEO friend on the East Coast:

“In January, we had an OIS here:

Four of our officers attempted to arrest a suspect with several outstanding felony warrants. When they approached the parked car he and a teenaged male were getting into, he locked the doors, started the engine, and drove straight into one of our deputies.

Our deputy wound up on the hood of the accelerating car, holding onto the edge of the hood (near the windshield wipers) with his left hand (in which he also held his flashlight), and holding his G27 in his right hand. The deputy hung on as the driver swerved back and forth, trying to throw him off the hood.

Finally, our officer fired a single shot through the windshield, hitting the driver in the chest. Our officer then came off the hood and hit the pavement, rolling until he struck a curb. The car continued for a short distance and then ran onto the curb and finally came to rest.

The suspect was removed from the car, DRT. The Gold-Dot 180 grain JHP performed well, penetrating the windshield and stopping the threat, even from the short-barreled Glock. Our deputy suffered leg injuries but is expected to recover fully. Even after hitting the pavement, rolling, and hitting the curb, our deputy still had his G27 in his right hand, with no accidental discharge during these forced acrobatics.

Other deputies did not fire at the vehicle for fear of hitting their comrade and the teenager who was an unwitting passenger. Our District Attorney has ruled the shooting ‘justifiable.’”

Comment: Here is where all that time and money spent on good weapons training and good equipment, including ammunition, really pays off. Gadgets don’t save lives. Competently trained and equipped officers do!

Good show!



26 Feb 07

Polite Society, 2007:

We just finished Tom Givens’ annual “Polite Society” Event in Memphis, TN. This year’s event was held at the MPD Academy, and many notable instructors, all dear colleagues, were there, generously sharing their expertise and experience.

Luminaries included Skip Gochenour, Paul Gomez, Steve Moses, Henk Iverson, Will Andrews, Mike Brown, Karl Rehn, Bill Aprill, John Hearne, Clyde Caceres, Dave Wittrock, Dave Biggers, and me.

The shooting competition included three stages on the Academy’s indoor range, with lighting reduced dim/night-time conditions. There were also two daylight exercises on one of the outdoor ranges.

Remotely-controlled, blank-firing shotguns were rigged on the indoor range, to simulate return fire, and, in one stage, car headlights were shining into the shooter’s face. On the outdoor range, one scenario required the shooter to engage targets from inside a vehicle, then exit and engage others. All targets were John Hearne’s wonderful Tactical Reactive Targets. Amazingly real looking, especially when “dressed” and in low light, they only fall when hit in the vital zone. “Non-targets were mixed in with active threats, making quick identification and careful shooting an inexorable part of the drill.

Like the NTI in PA, Tom’s courageous and generous event has become requiem on our circuit. Students of our Art are well advised to join us there!

Get hold of Tom at Rangemaster@peoplepc.com.



27 Feb 07

On ATMs, from a friend and student:

“I flew into northern Michigan last week. Multiple delays conspired to deliver me to my final destination at 2:00 AM. The weather was cold, and it was snowing.

In a momentary lapse in judgment, I decided to get cash on the way to my hotel. I found an outdoor ATM machine in a strip mall. I parked in front of the ATM and exited my rental car. I scanned the area as I’ve been trained and did not see anything unusual. However, the moment I exited my car, two men simultaneously exited a dark pick-up seventy-five feet to my left. Both hurriedly walked toward me.

I immediately abandoned my quest for cash, got back into my rental and left, never making contact with them.

Here is what I learned:

I should have had a pistol with me. Concealed guns need to be carried always, legally when possible, but carried in any event.

ATM’s are bad news, even during the day. Leave home with enough cash to make their routine use unnecessary. Outdoor ATM’s are particularly to be avoided, especially at night.

Serious predators are not easily dissuaded. The casual larcenist practices his trade only in good weather and can often be turned away with posture and verbal commands. VCAs who practice at night and in bad weather are probably a good deal more desperate, and dangerous.”

Comment: A fight avoided is better, by far, than is a fight won. My friend disengaged at the critical time. He was able to instantly shift his thinking from “convenience mode” to “survival mode.”

That critical capability may have saved his life.



28 Feb 07

Africa Today:

This trip to SA, we, once again, conducted a Defensive Handgun Training Program for the Scorpions, SA’s version of the FBI. Again, we had wonderful students who were all there because they wanted to be. For the first time in their lives, they all fired on Safe Direction’s famous Rotator Steel Targets. Agent fired a great deal of ammunition and made grand progress on the road to becoming a professional gunmen! Agents are issued G22s, G23s, and G27s. However, there are not yet enough Glocks to go around, so there were other, older pistols still in the system, Vektors and CZs.

Some agents were accustomed to carrying their pistol with an empty chamber. This delusional practice is common outside the USA and is a spin-off of the equally mendacious philosophy of “condition-based” gun handling. It was, of course, immediately corrected.

Yes, South Africa’s violent crime is out of control, and there are a host of other challenges, but the little nation still tries pretty hard to function, and this trip I was impressed by everyone’s determination to make things work and get along with each other. The Justice Minister (their “Attorney General”) personally visited us while we were shooting on the range! He made an inspiring speech where he commanded his agents to aggressively go after violent criminals and put them in jail. He concluded by saying, “Sometimes, in order to save a life, you have to take a life.” Oh, that we could get such gritty honesty out of any of our politicians!

In Capetown, one of our students, a young farmer working his family farm as his ancestors have for generations, expressed frustration over his mostly failed efforts to organize his neighbors and persuade them to bear arms regularly. “My neighbors, who have been murdered in their own homes, all died with a home-safe full of guns!” It struck me that we have much the same challenge over here. I’ve heard many say that when violent crime gets “bad enough,” grass-eating Americans will begin to carry guns regularly, more than just the two-percent who currently do.

Not so! In South Africa, where violent crime is many times what it is, even in the most crime-ridden places in the USA, instead of taking positive, pro-active measures to protect themselves from harm, most people simply sink deeper into denial and come up with ever-more preposterous rationalizations for doing nothing. Until a blade pierces their liver, they will tenaciously cling to dear falsehoods, because, to grass-eaters, it is less painful to face death itself than it is to face the prospect of being compelled to repent and admit that they’re not only wrong, but have always been wrong. They would rather die, and their wish is being granted every day, in spades!

The problem does not lie with restrictive gun laws, nor with a weak and hesitant criminal-justice system. The problem starts with a groveling, grass-eating, whining, excuse-making personal philosophy that is fostered, from an early age, by the educational establishment in all of Western Civilization. Instead of proudly claiming their own magnificence, children are taught to grovel, whine, and blindly do whatever all the other Lemmings are doing, no matter how stupid, so long personal responsibility can be avoided at all costs, even when the “cost” is violent death.

South Africa is like most of the rest of Western Civilization, just further along! Yet, I love it there, and I’m sure I’ll return.