1 Apr 03

From the NRA:

Holders of NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor’s certificates now have a continuing education requirement. All certificate holders will now have to take instruction every year in order to renew. We are honored to learn that DTI Courses qualify for such renewal instruction.



1 Apr 03

A friend overseas on the subject of shotgun flechette rounds:

“Twelve-gauge ‘flechette’ rounds are not recommended. Compared with 00 buckshot, their fatality potential, at least at close range, is similar, but stopping effect is disappointing. Buckshot takes people down much faster and is effective at a greater range. Flechette rounds have come and gone here!”

Comment: Like most fads, shotgun ‘flechette’ ammunition is inferior to what we’re already using. Don’t waste your money.



1 Apr 03

From one of my instructors in South Africa:

“I’ve just finished presenting a five-day Tactical Firearms Instructor’s Course here. Students fired 650 rifle, 650 handgun, 300 buckshot, and 10 slugs.

Mini-14 stopped working after 250 rounds. It lost its aftermarket flash hider (blew off the front). These rifles always gives us problems. Not my favorite.

Walther PPK 7.65 stopped working after 100 rounds. Terrible gun.

Rottweil semiauto shotgun stopped working after thirty rounds. Absolute junk!

Glocks all worked 100%

‘R’ rifles worked 100%

CBC Shotguns (Remington 870 copy) worked 100%. Sights are poor.

Leather holsters all turn to goo here sooner or later. Most of us have now gone to ky-dex. Gregg Garret’s stuff is our favorite.

Tactical slings are not recommended! Too slow to get into. Too slow to shift shoulders. Plain nylon straps or bungee slings are superior.

As coaxial-mounted flashlights, Surefires work well. Maglites do not.

One more topic: May God Bless your guys in Iraq. The good people in South Africa (there are a lot of us!) are backing you 100% !”



4 Apr 03

Shooting incident in South Africa:

“Two of our city police officers were in pursuit of a suspected stolen vehicle last Thursday. The driver of the pursued vehicle lost control and crashed. Our officers stopped and approached the vehicle in order to assist the injured and were promptly fired upon from within the crashed vehicle. Both officers were hit in the lower extremities. Suspect(s) escaped. Neither officer suffered life-threatening injuries, but both were hospitalized.”

Lesson: Sometimes we make too many assumptions! Injured suspects can still represent a deadly threat. Error on the side of caution!



9 Apr 03

From a friend at Cor-Bon:

“In all my years here I’ve never seen the likes of this 500S&W phenomenon. People have gone absolutely crazy over this new caliber. It is amazing. We’re having great difficulty keeping up with demand.”

Comment: New calibers! They’ll do it every time.



13 Apr 03

I had the opportunity last weekend to see demonstrated the Accu-Counter system. It is impressive. These folks are serious about making a superior product!

The Accu-Counter is a system consisting of a micro-sensor installed in weapons, a scanner, and computer software that makes it all work. The sensor I saw was installed on a G23. It did not modify the dimensions of the pistol at all, and a casual user would never even know it was there. It is sealed in plastic in the space behind the grip. Other weapons (rifles, shotguns) have similar installations. The battery lasts ten years. They even make installations for heavy weapons, tank guns, and artillery pieces.

The sensor logs every shot fired, the time it was fired, and the cumulative number of shots since it was last scanned. The scanner never even touches the pistol in order to extract the stored information. External blows to the weapon will not be counted as shots. The sensor is extremely sophisticated.

Like cameras in beat cars, my first impression was skepticism, but I can now see some genuine benefits to police departments and individual officers:

>Scheduled weapons maintenance/replacement can now be keyed to the number of shots actually fired through each gun. No estimates are required, and groups of guns don’t have to be arbitrarily lumped together. We’ll always know the exact number of shots fired through each individual gun. For example, if recoil springs are to be replaced every five thousand rounds, we’ll no longer have to guess when that point is reached. In fact, the software can be set to flag overdue maintenance any time the weapon’s sensor is scanned.

>Reconstruction of shooting events will now have an infallible source of critical data. Officers who did not shoot at all can now easily and indisputably prove it. Numbers of shots fired from all guns present and the exact moment each shot was fired are now unerringly recorded, right down to the millisecond.

>Demand for both training and service ammunition can now be predicted according to actual usage, not conjectured forecasts.

In any event, for military weapons and those of progressive police departments, this system really makes sense.



14 Apr 03

From a friend at Cor-Bon with regard to 9mm PowerBall:

“9mm PowRball is now available! We’re using a 100 gr projectile. Velocities range from 1515 f/s from a G17 to 1420 f/s from a Kahr P9 Covert.

Expansion is monotonously consistent and ranges from .58″ to .62″. Penetration is 11″ in gelatin (after penetrating four layers of denim). Muzzle flash is non existent.”

Comment: Nothing not to like here! Once again, Cor-Bon is unafraid to introduce new products and push the envelope. Those who carry 9mm pistols will find this new round to be superior.



18 Apr 03

Massacre at Balangiga, Island of Samar, Philippines, Sunday, 29 Sept 1901

In the current Gulf War, we’ve seen desperate and despondent Iraqi fighters using what we consider deceitful and opprobrious tactics in a forlorn effort to drive out invading American soldiers. We have predictably reacted with shock and indignation. What we need to remember is that none of this is new, nor should any of it be unexpected. Despairing people will always find unconventional and revolting methods for opposing what they consider to be invaders, even though the “invaders” are actually liberators and rescuers.

During the Spanish-American War, young American soldiers found themselves in the faraway Philippines, once again attending to their nation’s interests. Most Americans had never even heard of this part of the world before the war started. At that time, the Philippine Islands were a Spanish colony, and American Admiral George Dewey had already decisively defeated the Spanish naval fleet stationed at Manila Bay.

American soldiers encountered a few regular Spanish units on Philippine soil, but were mostly opposed by loosely organized native Filipino guerrilla fighters who didn’t like Americans any more than they liked the Spanish. Like today’s Iraqis, Filipinos were poorly armed and clearly outclassed, and thousands fell victim to superior American military technology, but they did put up a credible fight on occasion. They were not to be underestimated. As is the case today, unwary, naive, and presumptuous American commanders periodically learned that lesson the hard way.

During the week of 23 Sept 1901, a company from the American Ninth Infantry, under the command of Captain Thomas Connell, had landed on the small island of Samar and moved into the seaside hamlet of Balangiga in an effort to rid it and the surrounding countryside of guerrilla fighters under the leadership of Filipino General Lukban. Just as the unit had settled in and started operations, news reached Captain Connell that President William McKinley had been assassinated. McKinley had been shot in the stomach on 6 Sept by Leon Czolgosz while visiting a trade show. He died of a systemic infection eight days later, on the morning of 14 Sept 1901, only months after beginning his second term as president. Unexpectedly propelled into the Office of President was a young and impetuous Theodore Roosevelt! (Czolgosz was quickly convicted of murder and electrocuted)

Captain Connell decided that the late President McKinley needed to be grandly eulogized by himself during a special Sunday service hastily organized to mark the sad event. Security and all other operations in Balangiga suddenly became relatively unimportant as he labored over the text of his speech.

On Saturday evening, the few American sentries who were on duty noticed many women scurrying about the town’s only church. They were all wearing scarfs and heavy over-garments and were carrying small coffins. When sentries asked locals what was going on, they were told that the coffins contained the bodies of children who had succumbed to a cholera epidemic and that a service was scheduled for the next day (Sunday). Cholera epidemic? The sentries were unaware of one, but they decided not to disturb despondent Captain Connell with the news. Besides, the staunchly religious Captain had instructed them to have nothing to do with local women, so none of the “women” were ever questioned, nor searched.

Sunday morning came uneventfully, and American soldiers were solemnly assembled in the local canteen to mourn the President’s passing and listen to Connell’s lengthy and painstakingly prepared eulogy. Connell had ordered his men to show up unarmed, as he thought the presence of rifles and pistols would “disturb the solemn atmosphere of the occasion.” Weapons were all unloaded and locked up in an armory. Some prudent soldiers disobeyed this ridiculous order and carried concealed pistols with them.

General Lukban had studied the movements of the American Garrison carefully during the previous week, and he knew enough about American culture to know that a religious service would take place on Sunday morning and that most American troopers would be required to attend. The strange “women” in town were actually men disguised as women, and the coffins they carried contained knives and machetes which had been distributed among the men of the village during the night.

As Connell was about to emerge from his hut and deliver his speech, church bells suddenly rang. It was a prearranged signal for guerrilla fighters to attack American soldiers concentrated in the canteen. Many astonished (and unarmed) Americans were hacked and stabbed to death immediately, but many fought back, several drawing their concealed pistols and shooting as many of the attackers as they could. Others fought back with chairs, table legs, even hot coffee! Captain Connell was overwhelmed in his hut. He was murdered instantly, his head subsequently chopped off, and his over-embellished eulogy forever undelivered!

Even though all the officers and half the enlisted men had been killed within the first minutes, a heroic Sergeant Benton took command and ordered a fighting retreat to the shore. Survivors ultimately escaped in boats to the American garrison at Basey. Of eighty Americans, only six escaped unhurt. Another twenty-three were wounded. All the rest were murdered. A rescue force was sent from Basey the next day. The bodies of fallen American soldiers at Balangiga had been stripped, mutilated, and left laying where they fell.

An enraged American General Jacob Smith (“Howling Jake”) ordered the annihilation of everyone in the village and the entire island. His orders were largely carried out. He was subsequently court-martialed, but, when he returned to the United Stated, he was hailed as a national hero and defended by many who had served in the Philippine campaign.

Balangiga was the worse massacre of US troops since the Little Big Horn.

Lessons: When outclassed by superior military technology, cunning guerrilla fighters will develop clever ways to minimize technological advantage and still inflict casualties. To expect otherwise is to be naive in the extreme.

There is no substitute for alertness and the constant expectation of pernicious threats. Any time you hear, “Relax! There are no threats to your safety here,” don’t believe it. Let your guard down at your peril. Don’t depend upon others for your safety!

Never give up. Never give in. As Sergeant Benton demonstrated, even the most desperate of circumstances can be salvaged when aggressive leaders step up to the plate and lead the way.

To be unarmed is to be defenseless. We teach students to carry discreetly concealed pistols in an effort to hide the fact from casual observation of the general public. My friends overseas right now tell me they have to carry concealed in order to hide the fact from their own commanders!

We see from the foregoing that even that tactic is nothing new. God bless them!



21 Apr 03

From a friend with our forces in the Mideast:

“Got back in Kuwait on Easter Sunday. Over the last four weeks, we went all the way to Tikrit through Safwan, An Nasiriyah, An Numaniyah, Al Kut, and Baghdad.

Everywhere we went, we were greeted enthusiastically by local Iraqi people. In fact, the only significant resistance we encountered was from ‘Jihadists’ from Jordan, Chechnia, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, and Iran. I’m not sure what they were expecting, but they ran into a buzz saw! All are now in paradise with Allah, where they received, I’m sure, a warm welcome. It was surely warm when they left! Nearly all members of the ‘vaunted Republican Guard’ and Ba’ath Party fled like mice before we ever got close to them.

USMC Cobra helicopters performed superbly. They cleared the way all the way from Kuwait to Tikrit. Nothing stood up to them. They annihilated tanks, vehicles of all descriptions, artillery and mortar tubes, bunkers, troop concentrations, you name it. When we followed up, there was usually little remaining, save cinders!

I shot a gazelle in one of Saddam’s private game preserves. One shot from my Beretta M9 pistol dropped him at a range of twenty meters. I used Federal EFMJ. No exit, and the animal went right down. He sure tasted good, particularly after thirty days of MREs.

I toured one of Saddam’s Palaces. It is opulent beyond belief! All this while most Iraqis live in mud huts and barely eke out a living.

The Army is now taking over the humanitarian phase or the campaign. Unfortunately, many Army troopers (who missed out on the real excitement) are now shooting at destroyed Iraqi tanks and artillery pieces, all the stuff that we Marines demolished weeks ago. It is unnecessary and scares the snot out of local civilians. I surely hope this current ‘transition’ goes better than was the case in Haiti and Somalia.”

Comment: Makes me want to get back in uniform!



24 Apr 03

From a friend in South Africa:

“In 2002, year 9,498 people were murdered in South Africa! Twenty times that number injured in felonious attacks. Our murder rate is roughly one hundred times what it is in the USA! Our government is doing nothing to bring this figure down. In fact, all they can talk about is further restricting private ownership of firearms. This Sunday past, we had fifty armed robberies. Most suspects were armed with AK’s and R’s. Most all are stolen from the government or illegally imported (no private ownership involved).

Our politicians have come to the realization that ‘The more crime you have, the more government you need!’ The violent criminal element has, in effect, become a branch of government. Their job is to terrorize the public, so that the public will want a bigger and more intrusive government. Like politicians everywhere, none really care what happens to the nation, so long as they stay in power.”



24 Apr 03

Hobnobbing with gangsters:

Dr Reinhardt H Schwimmer was a successful young Chicago optometrist who apparently found associating with local gangsters exciting. It would be his undoing.

In early 1929, Al Capone had entrusted the job of eliminating his arch rival in the illegal booze business, George “Bugs” Moran, to his ruthless, but sharp-witted protegee, “Machinegun” Jack McGurn. An elaborate ambush was set up, with Al himself conveniently in Florida. At one of Moran’s camouflaged liquor depots on Chicago’s north Clark St, under the front “SCM Cartage Co,” McGurn’s scouts (hired from Detroit’s Purple Gang), from a boarding house across the street, spotted Moran and his crew enter the building.

What looked like a Chicago Police car pulled up in front of the building and four men emerged, two of whom were wearing CPD uniforms. The other two were in heavy overcoats. The unformed men burst into the building and ordered everyone to turn around, face the wall, and get their hands up. Expecting the customary shakedown and subsequent payoff, none of Moran’s men were particularly concerned for their safety. Immediately, the two men in overcoats produced Thompson submachine guns and shot to death all seven of Moran’s hapless associates, including the astonished Dr Schwimmer. Seventy expended 45ACP cases were found at the crime scene, indicating one of the Thompsons had a fifty-round drum, and the other had a twenty-round stick.

Actually, the scouts were mistaken. Moran himself arrived late and quickly left without entering the building when he noted suspicious activity. Of the seven murdered in the subsequent St Valentine’s Day Massacre on Thursday, 14 Feb 1929, Moran himself, the one Capone really wanted, was not included.

Several of the alleged shooters were eventually arrested, but none were ever convicted. Capone himself was also never convicted for any act of violence. In 1932, he ended up in California’s infamous Alcatraz Federal Prison anyway, but on tax evasion charges. During his internment, his mental faculties deteriorated catastrophically due to a lifelong case of venereal disease which he probably contracted in his early years when working as a bouncer in a sleazy cat house. When he was released in 1939, he was a broken, dilapidated, weak-minded invalid. He only lived another eight years, all in seclusion.

Moran would also end up in prison, in his case on robbery charges in Ohio. He died in prison, outliving Capone by ten years.

Lesson: Patterns of chronic criminal behavior are acquired early in life and are seldom cast off. Habitual criminals could not lead decent lives, even if they wanted to. At the appropriate moment, even “respectable” criminals will predictably revert to type. They are always capable of fearsome violence. Associating with them on any level is foolish and reckless, as the good doctor found out!



28 Apr 03

From a friend who shoots a lot of competitive rifle:

“I own a Garand I acquired ten years ago from the CMP. I was practicing with it for a match yesterday when the case of the fifth round separated in the middle. The forward half remained in the chamber, and the ejected half was found fourteen yards in front of the firing line. I got a good blast of hot gas on my face and glasses but was otherwise uninjured. Ammunition was new, Federal American Eagle 150gr FMJ. Firing had been slow, because I was working on my standing position. The rifle appears to be undamaged.

I have read about head separations with reloads, but, with new ammunition, it isn’t supposed to happen.”

Comment: No, it isn’t! The lesson here is that we all need to discipline ourselves to wear glasses and a baseball cap any time we’re shooting any kind of firearm. If it’s ‘unusual,” it will happen to you sooner or later, and always when you least expect it!



30 Apr 03

From an LEO friend:

“Had to fire on a pit bull a couple weeks ago. My Taurus model 85 (38Spl) failed to fire the first four times (striker pin struck off center and not hard enough to detonate primer). On my firth pull of trigger it finally fired and scared off dog (am ashamed to say I missed).

I was scared and, needless to say, unhappy with the gun. The next day I sent it back to Taurus with a letter. I got the repaired gun back, with no response. When I called, the person I talked with explained that they had replaced three parts, cylinder locking pin and spring as well as the firing pin spring. He went on to say that they had failed “due to excessive use”.

This is a titanium revolver with fewer than 150 rounds through it. I had been carrying it in an ankle holster, but no more. I traded it in the next day on a scandium S&W 340PD.

Good thing that dog didn’t charge!”

Comment: Taurus is surely not going to make many loyal customers this way!