1 Apr 04

Addendum to Carjackings in SA:

“An add-on to your carjacking posting: We just had another highly publicized incident here. A family, moving from Johannesburg to Cape Town, was forced of the road. The husband/father was shot immediately. He is currently clinging to life in the hospital. His wife and her fourteen-year-old niece were both gang raped. Both are currently critical, but stable. This kind of rape is extremely violent. Many women don’t survive. Carjacking death rate may be seventy-five percent, but the rape rate is one hundred percent! Hijacking always involves the gang rape of any females involved, no matter their age.

The situation here is so bad, smart people, when driving, never stop for any reason. They don’t stop for red lights, stop signs, or any other traffic control. In fact, if you start to slow down in traffic, cars behind will honk until you accelerate.”

Comment: You won’t hear about any of this on American media. The ANC, after all, can do no wrong!



1 Apr 04

Shotgun AD:

“One of our officers experienced an AD with his Benelli Shotgun last week. The incident took place in our parking lot. Fortunately, the errant slug was launched upward, ultimately impacted harmlessly, and did no damage.

I was inside working the desk when I heard the shot. The sergeant and I ran out to find a young trooper yelling that he was okay. I took him aside in an effort to figure out what happened. This really hit home, because I trained this kid personally with the Benelli. He keeps the shotgun in the condition that we teach, and he has always been a competent gun handler.

He was preparing to go out on patrol. He grabbed his shotgun, along with his radio, flashlight, et al, and walked out the door of our precinct station. He put everything down, and charged the magazine tube with five slugs. He then picked everything back up and went over to his beat car.
At some point before throwing all the stuff into the car, he inadvertently hit the cartridge-release lever, sending a slug onto the lifter. It happened while he was holding all the other junk, so he never heard or felt it. It was dark. Our officer then pulled back the bolt all the way and let it go, chambering a round. When he subsequently ‘dry fired,’ the shotgun, of course, discharged the round.

Our officer became confused when he started the procedure, got interrupted, than ‘resumed’ later. I taught this officer the correct procedure, but I never truly understood the consequences of short-circuiting the routine or transposing steps. I do now!”

Lesson: Stick with your shotgun procedure and perform it from beginning to end at one time! If you get interrupted, start all over. Charging to tube, then walking off and “finishing” the procedure a minute later introduced confusion into the mind of this young officer and contributed to this blunder.



1 Apr 04

Automated Rifle Range:

While at the MCAS in San Diego last week, I had the opportunity to see the new USMC Automated Rifle Range. The one I saw is the prototype. Copies will be installed throughout the system over the next few years. It is manufactured by ATA.

In years past, rifle range exercises would consist of half the group shooting and the other half operating manual target carriers downrange. The downrange area was called the “butts.” Bullet holes were identified, marked, and then the entire target was hoisted up, so that the shooter could see where his bullets hit. Halfway through the day, groups would switch positions. It always took an entire day, and each shooter, during that entire time, rarely fired more than a few rounds.

No more! Now, the entire downrange portion of the facility is unattended. Each shooter (the range will accommodate forty shooters simultaneously) has the opportunity to fire at plastic silhouettes at several different ranges, some stationary and some moving, simultaneously, day or night! Each bullet is tracked via laser, and hit locations are immediately displayed on an individual television monitor. The shooter can instantly see where his bullets are landing, relative to the target. No paper targets. No black targets on white backgrounds.

The laborious process of establishing and confirming sight setting has now been reduced to a few minutes. Shooters get instant feedback, and individual shooters can get in what used to be an entire day of shooting in less than an hour.

The sooner this system gets into the hands of base and unit commanders, the better. It is expensive, but the time it saves and the increase in the quality of training more than makes up for the cost. The developers and those within the system who pushed for it deserve a lot of credit. This represents real progress!



3 Apr 04

My friend and colleague, Dave Grossman, makes this excellent point about rifle training:

“There is a downside to automated rifle ranges. Warriors will no longer sit for hours with rounds cracking over their heads. One advantage of the ‘old way’ was that warriors were ‘inoculated’ against having bullets flying overhead, a skill that can come in real handy. I think it is important to still do a rotation or two through ‘old’ ranges, if only to get this benefit.”

Comment: Dave is right! There still has to be a way to expose soldiers and Marines to the sounds of incoming rifle fire. The experience is critical.



6 Apr 04

Carry Conditions in SA:

“One of our motorcycle trainees came to the course here in Capetown today, carrying his Beretta pistol. When I commented that the hammer was cocked, he casually drew the pistol just far enough to clear the trigger, and, with the muzzle pointed directly at his own knee, pulled the trigger. What followed was the loudest ‘click’ I’ve ever heard. In my politest tone, I explained to the officer the idiocy of his actions. His response was that he ‘never carried the gun loaded,’ so it is quite ‘safe’ to do what he just did. I told him that ‘procedure’ would cease immediately if he planned on continuing with the program.

John, one would think in this Country, with our level of violence, police (not to mention all other citizens with half a brain) would be the most competent and best trained in the world. Oh, that it were true!”

Comment: People who “don’t know what they don’t know” can be enlightened. They are just ignorant. Ignorance is an infuriating disease, but by no means incurable. Like sick people everywhere, the ignorant should “want to be well.” However, people who “don’t want to know what they don’t know” are not just ignorant. They are timorous, craven hypochondriacs who have no chance of finding enlightenment, because they are terrified of being well. They are more comfortable being sick. If their disease harms only themselves, who cares? Unfortunately, willful ignorance is highly contagious, particularly among grasseaters.

Additional comments on the Beretta pistol, from a friend and veteran:

“I believe these pistols were designed by people who never had to try to make small parts work in concert (in a hurry) when they were cold, dirty, smelly, sick, hungry, thirsty, exhausted, confused, surprised, lost, terrified, and alone, all in a muddy ditch, at night, in the rain! Under such circumstances, it’s difficult enough just to keep the muzzle and the trigger organized.”



6 Apr 04

Tom Givens is a friend and esteemed colleague of many years. Tom’s headquarters are in Memphis, TN, and his students are involved in more fatal shootings each year than are those of any other instructor I know, including me. Memphis has the dubious title of “Crime Capitol of the South,” and it is well earned. Honorable people living there need to defend themselves from criminal attack more often than is the case in most metro areas.

Tom recently did this excellent essay. It is so good I want to pass it along to everyone on the list:

by Tom Givens

When a responsible person first begins going armed, he is usually haunted by two recurring questions, or self-doubts:

If I’m really attacked, and my life is at stake, will I be able to handle it?

What if I screw up and kill an innocent person?

This is a normal reaction, and to a degree it is healthy. We do, however, need to address these issues and resolve them, before a conflict, so that they will not raise their ugly heads when we should be concentrating on winning the fight. Remember, if an unavoidable fight is thrust upon us, we MUST WIN! The alternative is death, or crippling injury.

The first issue to face is that of FEAR. Fear is a normal reaction to physical violence for most people. In addition, since most of us no longer have military experience and live in “civilized” surroundings, we may not have ever actually engaged in a true fight before our moment of truth in a criminal attack. This fear of the unknown is, for many, worse than the fear of being hurt or killed.

First, let me say this. Unless you are an exceptional person, a nutcase, or a liar, and you have actually been involved in armed conflict, you have tasted fear. I’m not ashamed to say I have been scared several times, and I fully expect to be scared again before my life is over. What you must learn to do is control your fear, and do what you must to win.

Fear can be controlled and overcome, even in life threatening circumstances. This is obviously true, and it is proven every day by hundreds of ordinary people all over the country. Here are some steps you can take to make this process easier:

Admit to yourself you are afraid, then move on. Concentrate your mental energies on the task at hand, not on your fear of death, injury, or loss of ego.

Avoid dwelling on the chance of failure. Concentrate on finding a way to win.

Take control of yourself. Autogenic breathing is the very best and most efficient way to do this.

Focus on getting the job done.

Have a Plan B. Always expect Plan A to fail. Expect your gun to malfunction. Expect the suspect to stay up after being hit solidly. Expect to be injured. If any of these things occur, have a pre-planned option to continue (Plan B).

Turn anger into a motivator. Who does this clown think he is? What makes him think he has the right to rob/rape/murder me?

Accept an element of fate in every situation. You can get hurt by accident after doing everything right. Control everything you CAN control (selection of equipment, getting adequate training and practice, being alert, thinking tactically) so there are fewer things you CANNOT control. Courage under fire is not a matter of being without fear. It is a matter of being able to control fear and accomplish your mission, which is to stay alive. Only fools are fearless.

The other nagging self doubt concerns overreacting and shooting someone under unjustifiable circumstances. If you are reading this, that will not happen. Citizens who are responsible enough to obtain carry permits, seek expensive training, make time for practice sessions, etc are simply too honest, caring, and self disciplined to shoot people without just cause. In my own state, there have been eight fatal shootings by permit holders in the past three years. Every single one was judged to be justifiable and lawful by the Attorney General’s office. Not one of these permit holders was charged with any crime, nor were any sued. Why? Because every single case was clear-cut, obvious, and morally, legally, and ethically justified.

Private citizens have a great reluctance to shoot, even when it is necessary. In fact, for many, the problem they will face is the exact opposite of being “trigger happy.” Believe it or not, every day, people who are armed and know how to use their weapons, and who have an opportunity to use their weapons to save their lives, fail to do so and die as a result. This happens to private citizens and police officers alike. You ask, “Why on earth would someone who is armed stand there and literally watch a thug kill him?” There are a number of reasons, and they stem from the socialization process that the normal person goes through from birth (but that the criminal does not). These reasons most often include:

Moral repugnance to taking a life: You have been taught all of your life that human life is sacred, that to kill is wrong, and that only bad people hurt others.

Failure to be mentally prepared: An astonishing number of people who go armed have never given any thought whatsoever to the fact that they may have to shoot someone. To many, the gun is a talisman, and wearing it is thought to ward off evil spirits. In fact, it is a tool, one used for introducing ballistic apertures into the subcutaneous environment of sociopaths who will not be stopped by other means.

Failure to understand the dynamics of armed confrontations: Many people armed with firearms are killed by thugs armed with edged weapons because they fail to take the “lesser” weapon seriously; they don’t understand that deadly force is deadly force, whether applied by gun or knife; and they don’t realize how quickly someone at ten feet can appear at one foot.

Inhibition by community pressure and fear of lawsuits: These are trivial matters compared to being killed, raped, or permanently crippled. Get your priorities straight! If you’re not alive, these don’t matter anyway.

Uncertainty about when deadly force is justified: This is a training issue. Be certain that you understand the laws of your state as they apply to self defense and the use of deadly force. Once you have internalized this information, it is simple and easy to see when the circumstances fit the law. There is nothing subtle about someone actually trying to murder you! It will be obvious to you, to any witnesses, and to the police.

The best way to be fully mentally prepared to actually press that trigger if you have to, is to develop a well thought out and plainly stated set of rules of engagement, long before you are faced with a crisis. This is referred to as a “pre-made decision,” thought out, verbalized, and firmly planted in your mind in advance.

I suggest the rules of engagement set out by fellow trainer Gabriel Suarez, a decorated veteran of several police gunfights and a world class firearms instructor. Gabe uses the acronym IDOL, which stands for “Immediate Defense of Life”. Make a commitment that you will only fire as a desperate measure to terminate a threat to your own life, or the life of an innocent third party. “If you pose an imminent and otherwise unavoidable threat to my life, or that of an associate (wife, partner, etc) I will act swiftly and decisively to put you down and out. I will reach for my gun for no other reason, period.”

Many people think about this incorrectly. They ask themselves, “If he does —-, can I shoot him?” That is a recipe for disaster! Your question should ALWAYS be, ” Do I have to shoot him?” Ask yourself, “If I don’t shoot this man, right here, right now, will I be killed or crippled?” If the answer is “Yes,” shoot him! If the answer is “No,” try something else.

As with most things, this is a matter of training. Proper training ingrains the proper responses. Repetition is the mother of all skill. With skill comes confidence. With confidence comes the ability to think under pressure and make sound, tactical decisions.

To be of value to you, training must meet the test of the Three R’s. Training must be:


Relevant training refers to exercises and skill drills pertinent to the task of self defense. Bullseye shooting, for instance, is not particularly relevant.

Realistic training is conducted on humanoid targets, from the holster, with your regular carry gun and full-powered ammunition, in varied lighting conditions, and under time pressure.

Recent training assures retention of motor skills, which degrade quickly. The skills involved in rapidly firing a full-power weapon with precision are perishable, and are lost completely without frequent practice. I suggest two or three sessions of dry practice at home each week, with at least one range session per month to maintain competency.

Practice builds skill; skill builds confidence. Having a well-developed skill set, and the confidence that well-developed skill engenders, can help you keep your head and stay in control during highly stressful conflicts.

“Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.”

Tom Givens
Range Master
2611 S Mendenhall Rd
Memphis, TN 38115
901 370 5600



6 Apr 04

Comments on Tom Givens’ Article:

“Givens is absolutely right about the importance of recent training. You, I, and others in this field often hear nonsense such as, ‘My dad taught me to shoot,’ or, ‘I learned judo in the Army.’ The subtext of such remarks is, ‘I am a naive fool.’ These skills degrade at the rate of ripe bananas, ie: within days.

Another point is that bad guys may not be well armed, well trained, or skilled in any other way. But, they are willing to attack, and that gives them a critical advantage that even seasoned fighters/gunmen often fail to overcome. The pivotal moment is when the ‘victim’ immediately reverses the situation and attacks back into the assault, deflecting the attacker’s focus and disrupting his plan. If you fail to do so without delay, your prospects for a long sleep are excellent!”



7 Apr 04

Can you believe this? We are defeating ourselves. From friend, Jeff Chudwin:

“A police officer and friend, just deployed to Iraq, is serving there now as a Marine officer. He is the thick of the fighting. He has only two Beretta M-9 magazines, and both (Checkmate) have weak springs. Pistol magazines are in short supply there. Ones that actually work are in even shorter supply!

His close friend in an adjacent police department was contacted and asked to assist my friend by acquiring several OEM (Beretta) pistol magazines and sending them over. The magazines were immediately ordered from a local police supply house, but we were told that we cannot make the purchase due to the ban on purchasing high capacity (normal capacity) magazines. BATF is asked to intervene. They arrogantly told us ‘The military must take care of their own.’ The chief of the department cannot even sign for the magazines, because ‘the purchase is not for performance of law enforcement duties.’

Result, the Marine officer cannot obtain additional magazines through the military, and we cannot support him from our end unless we send him ‘Clinton clips’ (ten-round magazines) or locate pre-ban magazines. We are sending Wolff spring kits.”

Comment: Stupid gun laws, designed from the beginning for harassment and little else, are now interfering with our war effort, and no one at BATF, indeed the whole federal system, seems to care. While our Marines die, bureaucrats and politicians dither!



8 Apr 04

On Magazines:

“If you are carrying an M9 when you go over, purchase some good magazines (OEM, Beretta) for your weapon. ‘Checkmate’ magazines that the Marine Corps is currently issuing with your weapons are crap. During our first run in the desert, if I did not clean the magazines at least twice a day, guaranteed failure to feed. Rare to get off more than two shots without a feeding issue. Unacceptable. I personally don’t want to find myself equipped with a nonfunctioning pistol when the shooting starts. When it comes to weapons, cleanliness is next to Godliness. If you don’t believe that, say hello to God for me. Your chances of a personal encounter are excellent!”

Comment: Good advice from one who is there!



8 Apr 04

Informed comments from a friend who manufacturers rifles:

“I was invited to a conference at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indiana last year. The purpose of the conference was to provide those of us in the US domestic gun industry with knowledge of problems our government is having with the currently issued M4 Carbine.

A government official told us that their internal model shop wanted to build a run of M4 carbines chambered for 30 Soviet (7.62X39), as USSOCM, referring to the current M4 (chambered for 223), has stated that, ‘It has never met our requirements.’ He then showed us a 30-round, 7.62x39mm magazine, which fit an M4 receiver. He asked if any of us could manufacture this magazine, as the ‘magazine ban’ had driven the original manufacturer out of business. We all expressed our opinions about the magazine ban and the politicians who supported it and, to a man, assured him that none of us were interested in the least, under present laws. He nodded his head in reluctant acknowledgment.

Some courageous manufacturers have developed the 6.8mm cartridge. This cartridge is an improvement over the 30 Soviet, and a vast improvement over the 223. This round and military rifles chambered for it are desperately needed for our armed forces right now, particularly with our current active deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. The immediate hold up is the fact that no domestic manufacturer wants to make this new rifle, if they can only sell it to the government.

With no prospect of civilian sales, there is zero interest in this undertaking among American manufacturers, like me. So, critical progress is now stalled and will be for the foreseeable future.
We thus see how the ‘ban’ is significantly harming our troops and the nation’s ability to successfully prosecute a war. It has never, nor does it currently, impacted violent crime in the slightest. Everyone needs to contact their Senators and Congressmen and demand that the ‘ban’ be allowed to sunset.

Sometime, before we get into a big war, the US military needs to get rid of our current generation of ‘varmint rifles’ and start issuing real rifles. We need to do it now, while we have the chance.”

Comment: Thank heaven the Big War hasn’t started yet. When it does, pray we are ready!



10 Apr 04

On “internal gun locks” from and LEO friend:

“I had a bad experience with a built-in lock on a pistol, which taught me a lesson. I’m glad to be alive to relate it!

I recently acquired a Steyr M357. I really like the pistol but haven’t qualified with it yet to carry on duty. However, I started carrying it off duty, just to get used to it. I’ve owned and carried revolvers, 1911s, and more recently, Glocks. None of these had a built-in lock. The Steyr does. A few weeks ago I locked the pistol for some reason that I can’t remember. And, then I promptly forgot. After carrying this pistol concealed for another week or so, I took it out to check it. I did a normal chamber check. It was loaded, of course. I then unloaded it. When I attempted to dry fire, it, naturally, wouldn’t fire. That internal lock worked real well! You can imagine what kind of idiot I felt like. Looks as if this operator needs some work. In my defense, I’ve never owned a pistol that could be “turned off” before now. I don’t think internal locks on serious guns are a good idea!”

Comment: My opinion of internal gun locks is well known. Here is yet another example of how this ill-conceived notion is destined to cause far more injuries than it will ever prevent. My guns are all constantly “turned on.” The ones I’m not carrying are locked away. Smart people will ignore internal locks and treat guns as if they weren’t there. Guns that are “turned on” all the time are usually handled correctly and are available and functional when needed. Guns that are “turned off” are a menace, any way you want to look at them.



11 Apr 04

Finally, a happy trigger lock story:

A bar owner in Indiana and three of his customers beat a would-be robber so badly last Wednesday that the shotgun-wielding suspect required nineteen staples to close the wounds to his head.

Donald Willis, 46, entered the bar holding a shotgun. He ordered the owner and three customers to get on the floor. Not impressed, the bar’s owner charged Willis, knocking him to the floor. A customer grabbed the shotgun. Another struck Willis on the head with a bottle.

Such bravery may have been encouraged by the fact that the shotgun in question had a trigger lock installed that was plainly visible! When police examined that shotgun, they found it to be unloaded.

The suspect was arrested. No one else was injured.

Comment: This is the first and only “good” outcome involving a trigger lock I’ve seen. Hopefully, it will become a trend among armed robbers!



11 Apr 04

Of Plans and Planning:

At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Germany was, as she is today, surrounded by nervous neighbors. Leading German bankers and industrialists implored the Kaiser to abandon the famous “Schlieffen Plan,” formulated in the Century’s first decade by Alfred von Schlieffen. The Schlieffen Plan, well known throughout the German army, called for the rapid invasion and defeat of France and then a similar defeat of Russia, fighting and crushing the two in sequence, rather than at the same time. The Plan predicted that archaic Russians would be slow to react, and the French would, as always, dither indecisively. Britain would not become involved militarily until it was too late. The United States would remain neutral.

“None of this is necessary,” said Max Warburg, the banker, and Hugo Stinnes, the industrialist, along with many others. “We will control Europe peacefully if you just allow us to carry on our surging economic expansion. If you avoid going to war, we will sweep over all of Europe economically, without a shot being fired.”

The Kaiser should have listened!

But, by 1914 the Schlieffen Plan, already a decade out of date, had literally become a religion among German war planners, and there were few heretics. When great warrior/heroes led their armies centuries earlier, they flew by the seat of their pants. Decisions were made on the spot. Opportunities were exploited instantly. But, an industrial age had brought mechanization and impossible complexities to warfare and armies. Commanders, desperately trying to keep track of a billion details, now relied on a “command structure,” consisting of layer upon endless layer of “staff officers,” who made up a dreary, ponderous bureaucracy, which, like all bureaucracies, excelled at only one thing: protecting and expanding itself.

In such an atmosphere, “plans” quickly ossify and subsequently take on, as noted above, religious trappings. Sometimes, plans become so essential to the politics of an administration, that, long after they are outdated, or overtaken be events, politicians and war planners alike stubbornly stick with them anyway, having no place else to go. “The Plan” becomes, in effect, a “doomsday machine:” either it works perfectly, or nothing afterward matters anyway. So it was in Germany in 1914.

With the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June of that year, Austria promptly invaded Serbia. Russia declared war on Austria. Germany came to Austria’s aid, and the Great War was on! Almost without discussion, the Schlieffen Plan, unmodified for ten years, sprang to life. Germany invaded France via neutral Belgium, but the “fog and friction” of war soon reared its ugly head.

In an effort to make The Plan work, German divisions were put on impossible schedules of advancement. The logistic system could not keep up, and advancing German units soon outran supply lines. Essentials were continuously in short supply. Organized resistance in Belgium was scant, but nervous, frightened, and hungry German soldiers starting shooting everything that moved. Thousands of fleeing civilians were gunned down. Even today, there are many cemeteries in Belgium that date from 1914. Monuments still bear the inscription, “When the Huns came.” Britain seized upon events in Belgium and used them to wage a highly effective propaganda war. So effective were the British that the United States was eventually drawn in.

Predictably, the German offensive bogged down. Britain entered the war ahead of what the Schlieffen Plan had predicted. Russians mobilized far faster than the The Plan had called for. Soon, Germany found itself in the simultaneous, two-front war she so feared. Years of indecisive, trench warfare followed. After being so badly worn down by British and French, Germans had no capacity to resist dozens of fresh American divisions, which began arriving in Europe in June of 1917. Contrary to The Plan, America did not remain neutral! By this time, the British had also introduced the tank, which brought mobility back to trench warfare. It was all too much for the Germans. Backed into a corner, they sued for peace. The Great War ended officially on 11 Nov 1918.

Germany, and most of western Europe, lay in ruins. An entire generation of German, French, Russian, and British youth had been slaughtered, ten million in all. The Schlieffen Plan, which never had any chance of success, now lay in disrepute and ruin, like most of its promoters and disciples. Twenty-one years later, a new world conflagration would push it all into the dustbin of history.

Lesson: “Man plans, and God laughs!” As Eisenhower put it, “Always have a plan, but never fall in love with it.” Holms pointed out, “Tactical plans are like casserole recipes, but you never get to know all the ingredients, nor do you get to know what the casserole will look like, nor do you get to know who is coming to dinner!” The devil is in the details, and it is the details that quickly go stale. All plans must be in a constant state of revision and must be discarded wholesale when they become obsolete. Political careers should never become intertwined with a particular “Plan.” All good plans make generous allowance for “fog and friction.”

By their very nature, bureaucracies wax encrusted and fossilized. They evolve into little kingdoms unto themselves, interested only in self-promotion and empire building. Bureaucrats need constant reminding of who is working for whom. Unfortunately, there is money to be made in the activity of war-fighting. It’s fiscally desirable for it to go on and on, and therefore fiscally desirable for it to be neither efficient nor decisive.



12 Apr 04

Glocks in Iraq, from a friend training local police there:

“We are training Iraqi police with the Glock 19. We are cycling them through as quickly as possible, which means that the weapons are getting a heavy use, often going 500 rounds between cleaning and shooting in dust storms where visibility is reduced to five meters (we shoot in between breaks in the wind, when the dust drops long enough for us to see the targets).
The G19 has proved itself superb weapon. Few stoppages. Almost no parts breakage. They just go and go. We are shooting Federal American Eagle, 9mm ball. Magazines, never a problem. Time for the M9 to go!”

Comment: This mirrors my experience. The Glock is surely not the only good pistol out there, but it is hard to beat, as we see.



13 Apr 04


DSA of Lake Barrington, IL is now producing AR-15s. I have a copy of their shorty, called the ZM4. Beautiful and functional rifle. These rifles come with a “D” ring already installed on the extractor spring! What a great touch. I have “D” rings on all my AR-15s, but I am pleased to see that DSA is now doing it from the factory.

This rifle will get a workout over the next few months. DSA, along with Robinson Arms, are at the top of my list! The ZM4 is my “car gun” for this trip.

John Milano
DS Arms
27 W 990 Industrial Av
Lake Barrington, IL 60010
847 277 7258
847 277 7259 (Fax)



15 Apr 04

From a friend in Norway:

“After a recent, violent bank robbery in Stavanger, Norway, where one of our local LEOs was shot to death by robbery suspects, police here might finally become regularly armed. As it is now, most units have only old, S&W revolvers, and they’re locked in their beat cars, never carried. No speed loaders. No extra ammunition. The ammunition we do have is crap.

Maybe now even desk jockeys and liberals will come to the inescapable conclusion that the rest of us have been trying to tell them for years. Tools and training are necessary to get the job done.”

Lesson: When you’re not serious, don’t confront people who are! I fear Euro-weenies will have to learn many more painful lessons before they finally decide to face reality.



16 Apr 04

Comments on Norway from another friend in the UK:

“Your friend from Norway shouldn’t hold his breath. The ‘Minister’ (bureaucrat) responsible for police will doubtless announce yet another ‘review,’ and then the whole affair will die a quiet death, unlike the officer involved. It’s the regular story here in England.

Two months ago, a van full of police officers in London were sprayed SMG fire. Miraculously, only one officer was slightly injured. The rest survived, so they obviously don’t need firearms to protect themselves. The Home Office has, of course, announced yet another dreary ‘review’ of the ‘need to arm police.’ We’ve seen a thousand such ‘reviews.’ The conclusion is well known, in advance, by all of us.

There is a correlation between a society’s view on the right of an individual to protect himself and his family and that same society’s willingness to use force to protect itself and its borders. In short, if a government can convince its population that they have NO right to protect themselves at home, then that same government is going to resist using force to protect them collectively, since, after all, the population is made up of individuals deemed not worth protecting. The antigun movement is thus responsible for the international apathy we see played out today.”

Comment: Huns, Goths, Vandals, and other solid, European stock from whom we’ve all descended are rolling over in their graves! What ever happened to the mighty warriors we once were?

Moors have, again, sensed Europe’s impotence. Europeans are in far more peril than they are prepared to confront.



20 Apr 04

From a friend in country:

“John, it’s amazing! We find newly-arriving Army troopers charging their M-16 magazines one round at a time. When I ask them why they’re not using the charging bracket that comes in the bandoleers, I get a blank stare. They have no idea what the bracket is for!

In stateside rifle training, the Army has apparently decided small arms are so dangerous that they can’t be handled safely by anyone, under any circumstances. So, when these troopers report to the ‘range,’ they never handle ammunition! All magazines are charged beforehand, by range staff (that is the reason none of these guys know how to use the charging bracket). Rifles are fired. All rounds are accounted for, and soldiers are then searched to be sure not a single round of ammunition leaves the range in a pocket. They call that ‘training.’ When these troopers get over here, they don’t have a clue what to do with a loaded rifle (or pistol) that they must carry all the time.

Happily, most learn fast, but what a frightful disservice we’re doing to these brave, young men by treating them in ‘training’ with such contempt and condescension. They’re courageously fighting for their country over here, but they are neither trusted nor respected by their own system.”

Comment: If this country plans on prevailing in any war, we have to start treating our Soldiers and Marines like adults and honored warriors, instead of incompetent and expendable cannon fodder. “Training” does not exist merely for the entertainment of the “trainers.” It is supposed to prepare soldiers for what they will encounter in a real, shooting war. As it is now, small arms training is failing catastrophically in that regard, all in the name of “safety” and political correctness. Shame on us!



21 Apr 04


I’ve been carrying a SIG 229/DAK (357SIG) for several weeks now. I put it through a good workout last weekend. Nice pistol! A little heavier than a G32. Magazines hold twelve rounds instead of fourteen. Most SIGs now come with rails in front, so my old SIG holster no longer fits. I’m carrying this new 229 in a C-Tac IWB by Comp-Tec. Rides nice and is fast. Carry round is Cor-Bon PowerBall.

Delaware State Police are now carrying this pistol (in 40 S&W). They love it! SIG is still pushing their manually decocking pistols, but this DAK system is so smooth and user friendly, I believe it is destined to become their most popular police pistol.

Overall, I can’t get the gun to hiccup. Like all SIGs, it is superb.



21 Apr 04

From a Marine friend in country:

“My crew (and all others) have been advised not to carry ‘personal weapons’ into the filed of operations. We have been told, ‘if you are captured with privately owned weapons, you can be tried as a war criminal.’

Your advice?”

My reply:

“Captured Americans are routinely murdered anyway. This and all other stupid orders should be ignored. Have with you what you need to prevail, no matter where it comes from.”



21 Apr 04

Confirmation from another friend in Country:

“I can tell you, first hand, that commanders are prohibiting all personnel from having any ammunition in weapons, at all, while in certain base areas. The practice is widespread. It is mainly local (grass-eating) commanders doing this nonsense.

The term ‘low threat area’ simply means ‘we don’t know what the bad guys are planning to do.’ Whenever someone tells you that ‘the threat is low here,’ you’ll assume the opposite, if you want to remain in good health!”

Comment: “Who dares, prevails. Who lives on hope will die fasting.”



23 Apr 04

News from SIG:

According to my friends at SIG, the DAK trigger is currently being installed only on the 226 and the 229. Both pistols are similar in size. Both are double column.

The DAK system requires more room that the conventional DA/SA system, and SIG design engineers have not yet figured out how to fit it into a 239, 220, or 245. It may go into a 228, but none have been built yet. The 228 is the Army’s current M11. It is also issued and used by the NJSP.

I’m confident the DAK will eventually be offered in all SIG pistols, as it is too good an idea to confined to only a few. But, it may take a while for engineering to catch up with sales.

My 229/DAK in 357SIG continues to perform wonderfully. Highly recommended as a carry gun.



23 Apr 04

Shotgun ND, from an LEO friend on the East Coast:

“Our agency carries shotguns (Remington 870s) mounted behind/above the driver’s head, on the cage. Last week, one of our patrol officers was on normal patrol. As he waited at a stoplight downtown, a finger on his free hand made its way into the trigger guard. The shotgun discharged. The 00 buckshot round blew out the passenger-side window, and buckshot pellets flew down a side street. Fortunately, there were no injuries, and property damage (other than our patrol vehicle) was minor.

This officer had been, of course, properly trained in the use and storage of the shotgun, but shotgun training here has been lax the past few years. Supervisors have failed to emphasize how important it is to check all emergency equipment at the start of the shift. As a result, officers merely ‘accounted for’ the shotgun, rather than inspecting it as they know they should.

It took this public ND to shake up everyone here sufficiently so that we are now taking shotgun training and procedure seriously once more. We were lucky. We got a relatively inexpensive ‘lesson.’

It is easy to let important things slide in this business. Excuses are legion. Our department paid a small price for this ‘reminder.’ I hope and pray there won’t be a ‘next time!'”

Lesson: There is no “right way” to do a wrong thing. Firearms are unforgiving. NDs are inexcusable. We carry guns in a high state of readiness, constantly. There is no substitute for correct training and constant, rigorous supervision. We need to either take care of business, or get out of business!



26 Apr 04

Small Hands:

We conducted a Women’s Defensive Handgun Course last weekend in IN. One of our female students brought a Kahr P-40. The pistol is small and flat- ideal for carrying, but not ideal for shooting by people with small, thin hands.

The woman who brought the pistol had fired it only a few times prior to arriving at our course. She was small and slim, with small, thin hands. Several dozen rounds into the instruction, the sharp recoil made significant additional shooting out of the question. The pistol functioned flawlessly, but she had no further interest in shooting it. We switched her over to a G19 and she successfully finished the course (six-hundred rounds) with no additional complaints.

Another female student brought a STI LS9- a thin, compact 1911-style autoloader. She was also small and slim, but the pistol gave her few problems, and she did just fine with it through the entire course.

We’ve seen this before. Small, light, single-column pistols in 40S&W do not go well with small, thin hands. Recoil is sharp and concentrated on a narrow stripe. Hands are quickly beat up. These people do far better with a small 9mm (Kahr P9, STI LS9, S&W 3953, G19), or even a 357SIG (SIG 239, G32).

Conclusion: Personal safety equipment intended to be used during security emergencies needs to fit the individual. Ill-fitting, ill-suited equipment makes few friends, and thus adequate, enthusiastic practice seldom sees the light of day. With all the choices currently available, there is no reason to put up with equipment that clearly constitutes a mismatch



27 Apr 04

More on the size issue from a colleague and trainer in OK:

“Today, a group of TSA Air Marshals came to our shop to shoot a basic shotgun qualification drill. One of the group was a young lady of slight build. Immediately upon seeing her attempt to qualify with the issue shotgun, I spotted a problem. She barely has the upper body strength to support the gun, so she was leaning way back in an effort to use her body to counterbalance the weight of the gun. Her left elbow was locked straight in a nigh vain attempt at reaching the forearm. I admired her resolve, but the mismatch was painfully obvious. She fired the course, taking a huge beating in the process, and ‘qualified’ with a minimal score.

I called the head instructor over and told him that next time he had students her size I would gladly loan them our short-stock 12 or 20 gauge shotguns, so that such students could shoot comfortably and successfully. He casually replied, ‘They have to shoot what we issue them.’

If the purpose of procuring and issuing only oversized equipment is to ensure a workforce consisting of only oversized employees, the program is failing! Like shoes, guns come in different sizes for a good reason. The ubiquitous ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality apparently doesn’t apply to belts, shoes, or underwear, only guns!

In an emergency, I’m confident in my ability to shoot anything with a trigger. However, given the opportunity, I WILL HAVE EQUIPMENT THAT FITS! I’m worth it.”

Comment: Amen!



28 Apr 04

Police Shooting:

“The incident began with a report of a disabled vehicle on the bypass early in the morning last week. Complainants said they stopped to help the driver, but he refused to roll down his window and told them to ‘get lost.’ They did and called police.

When our first two officers arrived, they attempted to make contact with the driver. They were unsuccessful, and eventually broke out the passenger side window. The driver sprayed the nearest officer with OC. The officer was immediately incapacitated.

The suspect then got out of his car with the can of OC in one hand and a knife in the other and aggressively confronted the second officer, who had just been joined by his sergeant. The suspect then fled across the highway. His progress was stopped by a chainlink fence. Here the standoff began. A hostage negotiator arrived, along with a deputy armed with a ‘bean bag’ shotgun. After two hours of pointless negotiation, we decided we had to do something else. We threw a flash-bang at the suspect’s feet. It had no effect. We then shot him in the thigh four times with bean bags. His response was to charge our officers, knife still in his hand.

Two of our guys began firing (S&W Sigmas, 40S&W). Our guys all know the ‘21-foot rule.’ The suspect received a total of four bullet wounds, one to his right thigh, one center abdomen, one to his right pinkie finger, and one on the chin. The thigh shot went through and through. No bone nor artery hit. The abdominal hit did not pass through any major organs, just intestines. No exit. The chin shot was the final one. It put the suspect down. The bullet entered on the point of the chin and traveled around the contour of the lower mandible, exiting on the side of his face. The suspect laid motionless for several minutes. Just after fire department folks examined him and pronounced him ‘dead,’ he sat up! He had merely been knocked out. He was then arrested without further incident. He is now in ‘serious by stable condition’ at our local hospital. Our guys are all okay”

Lesson: Pistols are not reliable fight stoppers. Even what we describe as “solid hits” are often ineffective. We must be fully prepared to shoot with surgical accuracy more times than we think could possibly be necessary if we expect to live through a fight. And, most importantly, we must never relax too soon!



28 Apr 04

From a colleague in SA:

“The era of the CZ75 has come and gone. Decocking is awkward and dubious. Bad ammunition (East European, South American) causes no end of difficulties.

Mini 14s don’t hold up (recoil springs hang up, trigger groups come loose, failure to feed)

Pump shotguns are more reliable than autoloaders.

Optics are more a hindrance than a help. The fancier they are, the less reliable they become. Batteries go dead at the worst times!

Kydex holsters and strong, stiff belts work best
Surefire torches (flashlights) work.
Glocks work
Galils, AKs, Rs, and other Kalashnikov clones almost never stop working.”

Comment: Voice of experience!



29 Apr 04

Good tip from a friend and colleague in the federal system:

“In the middle of qualification, one of our officers attempted an emergency reload. He tried, in vain, for the better part of fifteen seconds, to jam his Motorola flip phone his pistol’s magazine well. Needless to say, he failed the course and had to do it again. I am glad this happened on the range, so we could all learn from it.”

Lesson: Keep your cell phone far away from your spare magazine carrier.



29 Apr 04

Weapons of War:

When the American Civil War started, rifles and muskets were purchased haphazardly by both sides, in great quantity, from any source where they could be found. Smoothbore muskets were preferred by the War Department over rifles. Muskets, effective only at close range, could be reloaded fast. Rifles, effective at great range, encouraged individual initiative, something that, in the minds of generals, was akin to disobedience. Individual initiative, while officially lauded in award citations, is, even today, still regarded as suspect by parochial commanders.

Reloading muzzle loaders (rifles or smoothbores) can be accomplished while lying down, but it is done easier and faster when one is standing. In the Nineteenth Century, generals liked their men to stand at all times, so they could be seen. To generals, soldiers in the horizontal suggested stagnation and cowardice. Generals also liked the idea that their men, realizing that it would be at least thirty seconds between shots, would take careful aim at each and every opportunity to shoot. In practice, the opposite was true. Most fired into the air as soon as they could and then immediately hugged the ground, unable to fire, until they were driven back to their feet by indignant line-sergeants.

Not surprisingly, new technology, represented by breech-loading rifles (the Henry and Spencer), was universally disliked by Civil War generals, because these rifles could be both fired and reloaded from the horizontal, and were effective at long range. Soldiers loved them, but the War Department shunned them. War planners worried about excessive ammunition consumption. When machine guns came along at the turn of the century, war planners would again express this same concern as they, predictably, argued against them too.

As one would expect, capable and innovative soldiers (both Union and Confederate) prevailed upon their families, or saved their own pay, in an effort to acquire these modern arms for themselves, because they wanted to individually contribute to the war effort and finish the war alive. As is the case today, acquisition of such private arms was officially discouraged. Innovation and initiative still alarms small minds. Indeed, during WWI, Russian soldiers were often commanded to fire at their own airplanes, because, isolated and unfamiliar with the modern world, Russian officers believed only Germans were clever enough to have such things

In the aftermath of the battle of Gettysburg, PA in 1863, General Meade’s men collected over 30,000 abandoned rifles. Most had been loaded, many multiple times, but never fired. No percussion cap had been emplaced on the majority, because soldiers either forgot or didn’t know one was necessary. Meade was extremely unhappy with this discovery and belatedly ordered that rifle training be conducted throughout the Army of the Potomac. For many Union soldiers, it was to be the first formal training with which they had ever been provided.

Unhappy issues like the heavy toll taken on unit readiness by venereal disease, desertions, poor training, bar-room brawls, obsolete equipment, and poor care of the wounded receive scant mention in the “Glorious History of the Regiment.” However, secular military chronicles clearly and painfully point out that far more soldiers are killed or rendered ineffective by disease (much of it easily preventable) and despondency than ever were via authentic enemy contact. Embarrassing to all armies and nations, such problems are hastily swept under the rug as soon as they rear their ugly heads. Understandable, as bad news is always unpopular, particularly when it pertains to our father’s war. But it is unfortunate, because our collective amnesia causes us to re-commit identical blunders from conflict to conflict, simply because the same bitter, and long-since forgotten, lessons must be painfully relearned by each new generation.

Who knows into what age we’ve all been pitched? All of us need to seek out the best technology for ourselves, never depending upon a “system” to “take care of us.” Their world is defined by “rules.”

Ours isn’t!