1 Aug 05

Speaking of clothing… Comments from a friend in SA:

“Drawstrings and toggles on overgarments are gadgets that sell clothing without contributing to the health of the wearer. Recently, when hunting in the mountainous portion of the Karoo, I sat on huge rock. When I subsequently tried to get up in order to get a shot at a springbuck I had just spotted, I discovered, to my unhappiness, that my jacket was stuck. A toggle had found its way into a crevice in the rock, and I could hardly move! Fortunately, I managed to dislodge the toggle without disturbing the buck. Happily, I made the shot and took the animal cleanly. I also found that yet another toggle was swinging against my holstered pistol, making an irritating and unnecessary noise. These things we can live without!

As is the case when we buy weapons for serious purposes, when we buy clothing, we should make sure that it serves the real purpose (and that is not “to be fashionable”) and remove whatever is defeating the real purpose, while adding whatever may be necessary to serve that purpose. As you are aware, this is a philosophical point made only with extremely difficultly when training some women (some men too!), as fashion is often foremost in their minds. Advising them on choosing between fashion and personal victory often falls on deaf ears.”

Comment: My friend is an experienced, professional gunman. His advice should not be taken lightly!



1 Aug 05

Retort from a female colleague:

“Okay Farnam, now you’ve hit on a sore spot. While we gun-carrying girls are hulking around in bulky shirts and jackets that smother all our curves, our gun-carrying guys are checking out the less
encumbered beauties dressing in ways that ‘accentuate the positive.’ We are not naive about readiness, we’re just constantly trying to contend with basic, and conflicting, issues. I am frustrated by the lack of selection of ladies’ clothes, accessories, and carry methods that allow us
to look stylish and smart, yet be prepared to defend ourselves. I really don’t want to have to dress like a dyke just because I want to carry a gun!

It’s even worse for small women, like me. Recently I had to buy a gun belt that is several inches too long, and I now have to spend more money and time getting it shortened, because the best quality and most suitable was only available in men’s sizes. Even the smallest was still way too long.”

Comment: Absolutely right. Gun manufacturers have only recently actively courted the female market. Accessory manufacturers are still way behind. As I watch young women’s public dress today (they all look “young” to me), it strikes me that some compromise is going to be necessary with the current generation of “painted-on” styles. However, people who know how to design women’s clothing need to get to work on this issue. We need our female colleagues to be interested in guns and to seriously contemplate carrying on a regular basis. When the issue is portrayed as nearly impossible, they lose interest, and our side loses another active voter!



2 Aug 05

Relief for Women, from Gingee Brewer of Concealed Carry Clothiers:

“CCC currently features a women’s concealment vest. In addition, we do a significant amount of custom work for women, involving unique fabrics and finishing touches that make vests stylish, yet practical and comfortable. Our gunbelts are comfortable too. I wear mine regularly. It features a feminine buckle that lowers its profile as a gunbelt.

As your colleague noted, there are lots of women who carry, and many more who should! CCC is prepared to help anyway we can.”

Comment: Gingee is a good friend and dedicated to the advancement of the Art. You may get hold of her at:

Gingee Brewer
PO Bx 237
Saunderstown, RI 02874
888 959 4500
828 645 2130 (Fax)



2 Aug 05

I know little about dressing women, but here is some advice from a female colleague in FL. She carries every day:

“Coronado Leather’s ‘Hobo’ model handbag is suitable for most circumstances. It has plenty of room, is smart looking, and provides quick access to the pistol. Galco makes something similar, but dressier. Expensive, like all of Galco’s stuff, but top quality. I’d rather have a pistol ‘on’ me, but sometimes a handbag provides the only viable carry option.

I live in FL, and here is my usual uniform: I wear a version of what guys do with ‘Hawaiian’ shirts. I get stretch jeans or chinos and a suitable belt. The pistol goes on my waist, along with a single spare magazine. I like Cambio jeans. They come in a variety of acceptable colors and hold up well. Then, I get a tank top or t-shirt in a bright color and wear a loose shirt/blouse over it. My blouses are long enough to cover the gun. Floral designs provide camouflage, and the material is light enough to wear indoors. Add some fetching jewelry, and one doesn’t have to look dour or grim. Check out Chico’s (chicos.com). Sales people are adept at helping you put together complementary outfits. Jewelry needs to be creative, lively, and coordinated with the clothing. My ensembles are stylish and youthful without making me look as if I’m trying to play catch-up with Brittany Spears.”

Carrying constantly is surely more challenging for women than for men, but it is a subject that has become suddenly relevant, and women everywhere need to start thinking about it!”

Comment: It strikes me that all of us (women and men) who carry regularly need to have a “duel personality.” A “public” personality, which is businesslike and detached, a persona that is not unpleasant, but that does not encourage “congenial approach.” Then, we need a “private” personality that we reveal in circumstances where we have control and are among people we know. In a private setting, women may be comfortable wearing clingy, alluring clothing, high heels, and dangling, expensive jewelry. Men may appear in stiff, formal wear. An outfit like that is difficult to fight or run in, but, in a controlled setting, it is probably fine. In public, however, where we have little control of the setting, high heels need to be replaced with practical shoes, and alluring, sexy, or stiff outfits need to give way to methodical attire.



4 Aug 05

This is from a female colleague who is Special Agent in Charge of a metropolitan office of a large state agency. She has never owned a uniform. She and her agents operate undercover exclusively.

“‘Concealment’ is a state of mind. Our agents (female and male) routinely work in places where their health is in jeopardy. All conceal a wallet/shield case, a SIG P239, at least one extra magazine, a set of handcuffs, a flashlight, and an OC bottle on a regular basis. Many are subject to a cursory pat-down before entering bars, clubs, etc. When our agents go into a particularly risky place, they may be armed only with their pistol, normally concealed in an ‘unconventional’ place. I’d rather be uncomfortable than unarmed!

I routinely carry in my (cowboy) boot. After hundreds of pat-downs, my pistol has never been discovered there. To be sure, I’m slower on the draw from my boot then from a strong-side, hip holster, but I give a little to get a little.

We know our agents are successful at concealing firearms and other equipment when suspects look at us and say, ‘ I know you’re not cops!’”

Comment: Concealment is indeed a “state of mind.”



6 Aug 05

Good News (for a change) from the Supreme Court:

In the latest in a series of decisions confirming the non-existence government’s obligation to provide protection for citizens, the Supremes, in the Castle Rock v Gonzales Case, have reaffirmed that US citizens have no right to expect any level of police protection, even when a restraining order is in place.

Good news? Yes, at least from the standpoint that the stale “You don’t need guns, because the police will protect you” argument has now been irreversibly discredited. The Court has proclaimed that no unit of government is obligated to so much as lift a finger to help you, or anyone else, even in an emergency. The Court has, in effect, said to us all, “You’re on your own!”

Of course, the smart among us have always known that, and have prepared accordingly. Now, even naive grasseaters will have to face facts.



8 Aug 05

Captain Anderson is rotating back to the States. Our new contact will be S/Sgt Burchfield, one of my instructors. He’ll be in place in Iraq by the end of the month. I’ll advise of his shipping address in Iraq as soon as he gets there and gets set up.



11 Aug 05

Weapons Issues, from a friend in the Federal System:

“Yesterday, during a carbine session, we had another Bushmaster go down with a loose, gas key. It was a new weapon with only five-hundred rounds through it. We called Bushmaster, and they asked us to send back the bolt and bolt carrier, promising a turn-around of two days.

We also had a G22 go down due to pin shear. It was the main pin that holds the trigger assembly in. We saw this problem frequently in our first batch of G22s. We were hoping we had seen the last! This is the first such incident in quite a while. Fortunately, Glocks are easy to fix. Our on-site armorer had it back up and running in a couple of minutes.”

Comment: Loose gas keys are a perennial problem with the AR-15 system. A permanent fix requires that key bolts be both peened and lock-tighted in place. Not sure why this is often not done at the factory!

With its army of trained armorers, who can fix most Glock problems in minutes, Glock offers its institutional customers a real advantage, as we see.



15 Aug 05

Info on training, from a friend and student who is a guard at a nuclear plant:

“We had three weeks of firearms training in pistol and rifle. It could have easily been condensed into four days, but bureaucratic clog stretches it out, ad nauseam. Our instructors were competent, but they, like everyone else in this industry, are hamstrung by corporate grasseaters.

‘Clearing barrels’ populate the landscape like horsecrap! We are forever unloading. We are trusted to carry weapons on property, but nowhere else, and we’re not trusted to clean them. Rifles are shared, and have (you’ll love this term) a ‘general’ zero, supposedly at 100m, but we never get a chance to verify that.

They value us only so far as we fulfill some bureaucratic requirement, but they hate us as people and consider our lives and health utterly inconsequential. No effort is made to conceal that sentiment.

Glocks all worked fine. Rifles are a mixture of Colts and Bushmasters. Colts ran fine. Bushmasters didn’t.”

Comment: Several weeks ago we had two, active Secret Service Agents in an Urban Rifle Course at a military base in VA. Both were assigned to the personal protection detail of a high-profile politician. Both had, of course, received training, but both expressed the sentiment that all their instruction was designed to prepare them to competently protect someone else. The nuclear industry is obviously not much different. Little was said, and there was apparently little concern, about them personally or their good health. So, they had decided to come to us in order to learn how to competently protect themselves!



15 Aug 05

Reply from a friend with many years of service as a police executive with a large, state agency:

“This last Quip complements your previous email regarding Castle Rock vs Gonzales, which (yet one more time) established that government cannot, nor should ever be expected to, protect us on the personal/individual level, which is, curiously, the only level that matters! Yet, our civilization has been brainwashed into thinking all individuals will be fully protected, all the time. Politicians like nothing better than to persuade naive citizens to suspend reality long enough to actually believe such an obvious impossibility, at least during election season.

As cops, we are frustratingly amused with grasseaters who have chosen to buy off on such piffle. We cops are so much smarter. Aren’t we?

Yet, so many of us cops fall victim to the same pernicious deception when we foolishly persuade ourselves that this same government will provide us with all necessary training and equipment that we need to stay healthy. In so doing, we openly ignore that everything we use, from the weapon we carry to the training that goes with it, comes to us through a bureaucratic sewer pipe of ‘appearance’ concerns, political correctness, ‘feelings,’ executive promotions, and a persistent ‘low-bid’ mentality.

Some of us allow ourselves to become so brainwashed that we actually rely upon advice from legal counsel that represents the union, or the government, instead of securing counsel that represents us, and only us. When will we realize that we, too, are on our own?”

Comment: Politicians predictably engage in a more-or-less, continuous confidence scam, promising the impossible and, when they fail to deliver, making feeble excuses and persuading the electorate that they really didn’t mean what they said, that last time. The smart among us reject these predictable, smooth lies that come at us like a river, particularly during election season. We realize that our safety, our future, and our destiny is in our hands alone, and we take unilateral action accordingly!

“A wise man never tries to warm himself in front of a picture of a fire.”



17 Aug 05

The New Detonics Pistol:

I’ve been carrying my Detonics Combat Master Pistol for nearly a month now. It fits just fine in an IWB holster, called the “Minimalist,” made for me by Brian Hoffner of Hoffner’s. I also carry it in a IWB holster, the “C-Tac,” made for my by Gregg Garrett of Comp-Tac. I like both systems. I’m currently carrying Cor-Bon DPX 160gr. The little Detonics digests it with much enthusiasm.

When I first got my hands on it, I ran several hundred rounds through it, per my routine, but I’m now persuaded a “break-in” was not necessary, as it functioned without any problem from the first round.

It is a sub-compact 1911, designed for concealed carry. It is about the same size at S&W’s CS45. It’s smaller than a G36. The Detonics is a seven-shooter (six, plus one), and all parts are stainless steel.

Accuracy is remarkable, given its short sight radius. Trigger is crisp and clean at five pounds.
It came to me with several sharp corners and edges. I like carry guns more “de-horned” than do most of my colleagues. So, I sent it off to master pistolsmith, and good friend, Jim Garthwaite. Jim rounded off the sharp edges and got it back to me within a couple of weeks. Now, it’s perfect!

For 1911-o-philes, like me, this is an opportunity to carry a genuinely small pistol that is still a eminently heavy hitter. I like it!

Jerry Ahern
115 Enterprise Dr, Suite B
Pendergrass, Georgia 30567
866 759 1169
706 693 2220
706 693 2228 (Fax)

Jim Garthwaite
Rt 2 Bx 310
Watsontown, PA 17777
570 538 1566

Gregg Garrett
PO Bx 550785
Houston, Texas 77255
713 681 6881

Brian D Hoffner
4729 Ramus, Ste F
Houston, TX 77092
713 957 1200 brianhoffnerltd@fastmail.fm



18 Aug 05

New S&W “M&P” Service Pistol, soon to be introduced, from a friend close to the project:

“The M&P is not intended for the pistol aficionado. That is, it is not an ‘expert’s gun,’ like many, contemporary 1911 clones. It is an elemental, service pistol, intended to be used and carried, well and safely, by the average police officer and CCW holder.

It is eminently functional, easy to maintain at the user level, comes apart and goes back together easily, and can’t be reassembled incorrectly. It is also easy to maintain at the armorer level, with complete parts interchangeability; no fitting necessary. The trigger (borrowed from the SIGMA) is a reasonable compromise between speed and deliberation. Interchangeable grip panels assure a functional fit of nearly any size hand. A durable, non-glare finish provides protection against corrosion and excessive wear.

Competitively priced. Self-decocking. Not pretty. This is a gun intended to successfully compete for institutional business with current heavy hitters, Glock, SIG, and H&K. S&W is serious about this gun. All parts and components are produced in-house. Likewise, all tools necessary to make components.”

Comment: S&W’s recent, blundering missteps are all well known, and S&W has been rightly criticized, but we need to give this new gun a fair hearing. If S&W produces another lemon, shame on them, but S&W’s rebound, back into the status of “major player,” is good news for everyone. Good competition makes for superior products, and a strong, American presence in this industry is in the best interest of all of us.



19 Aug 05

From one of our instructors in CA:

“Monday, I sent my ageing G19 (serial number is only three digits) back to Glock for a minor problem. Rear sight was loose. The pistol was returned to me the following Friday, fixed, cleaned, lubricated, and adjusted. No questions; no charge; no quibbling. Glock also updated my pistol with a number of new parts that had nothing to do with the sight problem. The pistol came back in a new shipping container, with a new bore brush, and a new trigger lock (which I promptly placed with the others).

My G19 looks and feels new, better than new! Can’t say enough about Glock’s customer service. I bought the gun retail over twenty-five years ago. This is the first service, other than cleaning, it has ever received. It has functioned perfectly all those years, including at your courses here in CA. Looking forward to the next twenty-five!”

Comment: Who has the best customer service has the market!



19 Aug 05

A note on pistol reloads, from a friend and instructor:

“At our last program in CO, I shot my G19. I had a thousand reloads that I wanted to use up. When I reloaded these ten years ago, I used only once-fired (by me) brass, Remington bullets, CCI primers, and a quality, commercial powder. The load was worked up and examined for signs of excessive pressure. Each reloaded round was checked in a chamber gauge, and any of questionable dimensions were discarded. I was about as careful as one can be.

During the Program, functioning of the reloads was fine. However, when I got home and cleaned the pistol, I noticed a circular pattern of metal cutting on the bolt face, the same diameter as the primer. This indicates that the fit of the primer in the primer pocket was not tight enough to prevent gas from escaping around the edges of the primer and eating into the bolt face.

Conclusion: No reload can ever be as good as new, factory ammunition. In serious guns that we use and shoot a lot, I am now thoroughly convinced that we should only shoot quality, factory ammunition. You have been saying this for years, and I now see that you are right.”

Comment: Reloading, both as an industry and as a hobby/pastime, is firmly entrenched in America, but risks attach to shooting a lot of reloaded ammunition, as we see from the foregoing. In serious guns, factory ammunition is always best.



19 Aug 05

One of our instructors, a lawyer, brought this to my attention:

“It seems the growth of MRI scanners in hospitals and medical offices has been substantial over the past decade. Doctors find information gleaned from MRIs to be extremely useful. The downside is that MRIs all have powerful magnets, magnets that can violently suck in anything metallic, eg: wheelchairs, floor polishers, et al. Even guns have been snatched from the holsters of police officers who got too close. There have been serious injuries as a result, several deaths.

There are regulations, of course, but most accidents are the result of simple oversight and carelessness. Rarely does anything go wrong with the machine itself. Some clinics use metal detectors to address the problem, but they slow down operations to the point where little gets done. New technological improvements may cut down on accidents, but probably not substantially, at least in the short term. The inescapable conclusion: MRIs are indispensable to modern medical practice, but, like so many other things in our civilization, they are inherently dangerous and cannot be made less dangerous without fatally compromising their usefulness. Guns fall into the same category!

In a regulation-happy society like ours, the only ‘solution’ anyone ever suggests is, of course, MORE REGULATION. Grasseaters all think we need the federal government to point out to us all, even more loudly than they already do, that messing around with these things is dangerous.

Unfortunately, not only is the federal government unable to ‘fix’ many things, they would not be called upon to do so if people used a bit of (uncommon) common sense. ‘Don’t throw metal into a big magnet,’ is about the same as saying, ‘Don’t drive your car into a brick wall,’ or ‘Don’t point guns at your head and pull the trigger at the same time.’ We don’t need the federal government to tell us that!

I’ll bet that there are signs all around these machines saying ‘Keep metal away! Strong magnet.’ They’re probably in Spanish also. They’re surely in French!”

Comment: The world is full of dangerous things! People get hurt. Sometimes, it no one’s fault. With excessive, heavy-handed regulation, we discover that the “cure” is worse than the “disease!” Badly needed technological advances are thus retarded, because careless people keep finding ingenious, new ways of hurting themselves. Our anal civilization is going to have to confront the fact that not every personal injury, not every example of personal unhappiness, is the direct result of someone’s else’s negligence.



21 Aug 05

This is from long-time friend and colleague, Mas Ayoob:

“…there have also been cases where officers near MRIs have actually had their guns deactivated. The pistols become magnetized to the point where firing pins cling to their channels and thus lose so much forward impact that they fail to fire rounds. It’s recommended that anyone who has been near an MRI with their weapon immediately take it in for a range/armorer’s check.”

Comment: I was unaware of this. Thanks for the heads-up, Mas!



22 Aug 05

Text messaging:

Within minutes of the recent terrorist bombings in London, the UK’s entire cell phone network became hopelessly overloaded and went into meltdown. For several hours afterward, cell phones throughout the country were all but useless.

We can expect something similar with the next disaster, there and here. Fortunately, cell-phone TEXT MESSAGING was not nearly so intensely affected. Most text messages went through, even during the height of confusion. Text messages use a different part of the RF spectrum than voice, take only an instant to transmit and therefore are less likely to be interrupted , and, unlike voice, can be stored in the system and delivered seconds or minutes later.

All of us need to become familiar with text messaging, so that during the next crisis we’ll still be able to communicate effectively. Text messaging is becoming a critically important skill. Highly recommended!



22 Aug 05

Reduced-capacity Magazines:

At a Defensive Handgun Course last weekend in MI, a student brought a G19, which, of course, worked fine, except when it occasionally stopped feeding reliably. I examined his pistol and magazines. Magazines were a mixture of normal-capacity and “reduced-capacity.” The G19 ran fine with standard, normal-capacity magazines. All feeding difficulties were associated with the use of two, reduced-capacity magazines that were in the mix. I suggested to the student that he deposit the two, aforementioned magazines into the nearest garbage can! He did, and feeding problems, along with all other functional difficulties, promptly and permanently disappeared!

Like all pistol manufacturers, Glock was compelled to produce reduced-capacity magazines after the passage of the 1994 “Crime” Bill, another unhappy legacy of the Clinton Administration and yet another illustration of the contempt in which Congress holds American citizens. Of course, the smart among us shunned these new “Clinton Clips,” as they were dubbed, and found ways to continue to use magazines for which affected pistols were originally designed. But, many reduced-capacity magazines made their way into normal commerce and into the hands of unsophisticated gun owners.

With the merciful expiration of the Crime Bill last year, reduced-capacity magazines are, praise God, now just a painful memory! My advice to all who own them is to get rid of them and replace them with normal-capacity magazines, the magazines for which the pistol was, from the beginning, designed to be used.

In my experience, no reduced-capacity magazine, from any manufacturer, is reliable. None have any business in a serious pistol. None are recommended.



24 Aug 05

The new address to which supplies are to be sent is:

CWO2 JR Newton
MWSS 372 Eng Co, HE Ops
Unit 42020
FPO/AP 96426-2020

S/Sgt Burchfield ended up in another area and is unable to distribute the stuff. CWO2 Newton has volunteered to do the job for us. He is currently in place and ready to go.

List of needed items includes:

Knee pads. Contact KP Industries at www.kpindustries.com. Get hold Chuck Knox at 760 599 9882. Best ones are KneePro Tactical Ultraflex II in tan.

Oakley Pilot Tactical Gloves. Contact Ed Howell at dhowell@oakley.com. Tell him that CWO3 Phil Ross referred you. You’ll get a discount
Hatch Desert Tan Nomex Flight gloves. www.attackopgear.com


Cold Steel, Emerson knives, fixed and folding
Dry lube, Hoppe’s, Outer’s, Remington
9mm and 223 Boresnake
Beretta OEM 92F normal-capacity magazines
Leatherman tools, “Wave” and “Crunch”
Gerber Utility Tools (similar to Leatherman)
Surefire flashlights
LED “soft” lights (Map lights)
Air fresheners.

As members of Congress develop weak knees (why am I not surprised?), we must show these guys that we know the truth and truly appreciate what they are doing for us and future generations of Americans.



24 Aug 05


At our courses, I constantly remind students to keep their guns loaded. To this end, I admonish them to reload when they want to (so as not to be compelled to reload at an inconvenient moment, when they have no choice) and to perform chamber checks if there is the slightest doubt about whether there is a round chambered or not. I also caution them to keep their heads up and articulated in all directions, so that no threat will get close without being noticed well in advance. In our Advanced Courses, many shooting exercises are actually started with students facing uprange, away from the target.

Students are taught that pistols are carried as a way for us to effectively deal with UNEXPECTED threats. That being the case, we must be alert and fully prepared to fight, all the time, as we don’t get to know when an otherwise unforeseen threat may abruptly rear its ugly head.

At some point, a student will ask, “When do I get to relax?” The answer is always immediate and to the point, “You don’t!” To ask when one may relax is tantamount to asking when he may turn responsibility for his safety over to someone else. If we emphasize anything in our courses it is that you are ALWAYS on your own. At no time will any other person or entity care about you more than you care about yourself. Taking complete responsibility for your own safety lies at the core of the Warrior Ethos. If you do not accept personal responsibility for your own physical well being, how can you take personal responsibility for anything?

In the fantasy world manufactured for public consumption by institutions (for their benefit, not yours), we are encouraged to believe that “Someone is looking out for me.”

No they’re not! They’re looking out for themselves.

We can never allow ourselves to believe smooth lies about our safety being someone else’s concern. Life is meant to be a daring adventure. It was never meant to be relaxing!



25 Aug 05

Insurance Story:

A friend recently had several of his guns burn up in a storage facility fire. They were all undocumented and purposely weren’t declared on his homeowner’s/renter’s policy. At first, he considered them a flat loss. Then, he remembered the Armscare policy that inures to NRA membership. He applied for compensation, documented with a notarized letter from a friend, who described the pieces and when he had seen them. Several weeks later, back came a check for $1,000.00, the policy maximum!

My friend, who, like me, detests insurance companies and their employees (for good reason) reports that he was treated well. Of course, one thousand dollars in today’s economy isn’t much, but the annual premium is part of NRA membership, so inconsequential as to be virtually free.

An incident like this is a good reminder for us all to document our valuables. With digital technology, one may have detailed images of everything of value he owns, compacted and stored safely, in several places. With the removal of photo-processing middle men, it’s as private as it needs to be.



25 Aug 05

Comments from a friend on currently-available 1911s:

“It’s noteworthy that most custom makers of high-end 1911s are not actually producing competent, serious firearms. In the context of our ‘Why can’t I buy excellence?’ conversation, I believe it is because those who command technical and manufacturing resources through which they may achieve true excellence are making icons, not practical tools. I don’t need a ‘pretty’ gun, capable of pointless accuracy. I’m tying, unsuccessfully so far, to buy a reliable, durable, tough, practical, fighting pistol on the 1911 model. As I write this, Kimber comes the closest.”

Comment: Real fighting is an ugly, cheerless activity, far from the carefully choreographed sewage depicted on television. The only thing worse than serious fighting is unsuccessful fighting! My fighting/carry guns spend most of their miserable lives in a hard, ky-dex holster, in direct contact with my gritty, sweaty, and sometimes smelly body. I try to provide them with reasonable maintenance, but, in some places, diesel fuel is the only cleaner/lubricant available. Such an ugly, tormented, unforgiving existence calls for ugly, dependable, tough, fighting implements. Pretty, temperamental, prima donnas, designed to spend their lives in humidity-controlled gun cabinets, need not apply!

29 Aug 05

Excellent comments on the “pretty vs reliable” gun issue, from a friend in the industry:

“…most gun buyers are not acquiring guns for the reasons you and I do. Gun manufacturers will predictably produce and market what the majority will purchase, and most potential pistol buyers, even institutional ones, are gullible, confused, and unsophisticated, as we all know.

High-end 1911s are an case in point. Many buyers demand meaningless accuracy to a point where it overshadows our correct idea of functional ability and robustness. Another example is awkward, oversized controls that look cool in glossy ads and make bragging points with others who are equally uninformed, but make life in a concealment holster impossible.

Fighting rifles are often in the same boat. Made to sell, they leave the factory with superfluous attachment points, because buyers insist they be able to hang everything on them except a water supply. Of course, these rifles are then too heavy and maladroit to be carried anywhere but in a car, to and from a range, but most buyers own them solely to impress their friends, not their enemies!

Gun makers, big and small, believe they have to build at least some esoteric toys that air-heads think they want. It is your job, as well as mine, to enlighten them. We need to do better!”

Comment: I agree. I only hope world history will be patient with us!



29 Aug 05

Endorsement from Miss Manners!

In the 25 Aug 05 issued of The Chicago Tribune, Judith Martin (Miss Manners) answers this plaintiff call:

“Dear Miss Manners: ‘Excuse me!’ exclaimed the stranger in a tone so innocent and friendly that I looked at him in acknowledgment before I could think better of it. ‘My wife is having a baby right this minute, and I need to get to the hospital, but I’ve just been mugged…’

Requests for money, preceded by elaborate back-stories, are annoying, and my eventual response is always the same, but I still feel bad about cutting off the speaker before he actually gets around to asking for a handout. Is there an acceptable way to terminate these conversations as soon as their objective becomes clear?

Gentle Reader: You need only say, ‘Sorry. I can’t help,’ and move on, saving the speaker the necessity of making a full-length pitch in vain. Miss Manners is even sorrier about the necessity of concluding that someone in apparent distress must necessarily be a con-artist.”

Comment: Did Miss Manners sneak into one of our classes?



29 Aug 05

On “preferred weapons” of criminals:

“Last week in NM, mentally disturbed John Hyde went on a rampage, murdering a state worker, two employees of a local motorcycle shop, and two Albuquerque police officers. Hyde used an antique Webley revolver, manufactured in 1918.

With the Webley now clearly the ‘weapon of choice’ of homicidal maniacs, we should expect legislation to ban further production, sale, importation, or possession of such ‘assault revolvers.’

This incident reminds the rational among us that firearms are just tools, and, as such, a minor part of the equation. Determined individuals have frequently achieved formidable results using mundane weapons, while others fail to perform less demanding tasks, even though better equipped. No doubt the two officers slain by Hyde carried sidearms superior to his Webley.

Too many students are obsessed with firearms, accessories, and ammunition, when they should be focused on improving their own skills and mental preparedness.”

Comment: Put another way: Too many spend their time looking for an excuse to lose, instead of spending it finding a way to win.



29 Aug 05


At an Urban Rifle/Shotgun Course in MI last weekend, we had two RA-96s (three, including mine), a 30-06 Garand, a Rumanian Kalashnikov, a Mini-14, an FAL cobbled together from parts, a DSA/FAL, an SA M1-A, and two Colt AR-15s.

All three RAs, the M1-A, the DSA/FAL, and the Kalashnikov ran the entire weekend without a single hiccup.

The Garand bolt stuck to the rear several times, but the bobble was easily corrected each time, and the shooter was right back in the fight.

The Mini-14 ran well, but reloading was troublesome, as magazines sometimes don’t want to lock in, particularly when the bolt is forward.

The FAL parts gun actually ran pretty well, but several cases failed to eject completely. The system needed more gas, but the shooter didn’t want to adjust the gas system.

Both AR-15s ran well, with a few failures to feed.

Students were, of course, instructed that all military rifles have issues and that the resulting, occasional bobbles must be reduced immediately and decisively. My students learned to keep their rifles running!

Rifles mentioned above are recommended, particularly the RAs and the DSAs. Even the lowly Mini-14 works well enough to recommend. In most cases, I don’t like parts guns. Rarely does one run perfectly, or even well. The Garand is big and heavy, but it hits harder and further than any of the rest. Kalashnikov lovers need to contact Krebs.



30 Aug 05

Armorer tips to keep your 1911 running, from a good friend and armorer. Nearly all bobbles will be traced to one or more of these issues:

CLEANLINESS. Do not believe the old wife’s tale “Guns shoot better dirty.” They don’t!

LUBRICATION. Follow recommendations in the owner’s manual for guidance on lube points. Get them all! Keep oil and grease away from places the manual advises to leave dry.

RECOIL SPRINGS. Treat them like an oil change! They need to be replaced at least once every two years, depending on how much the gun is used. Don’t use wimpy springs designed for weak, target ammunition. Serious, high-performance ammunition calls for robust recoil springs.

BARREL LINK. The link must move, by gravity alone, when you invert the barrel. Stickiness in barrel links is usually caused by burrs and/or lack of lubrication. Easily fixed.

MAGAZINE CATCH. The catch must be free from stickiness and grit.

MAGAZINES. Magazines must drop free from the frame when the magazine release button is depressed. Empty magazines must lock the slide to the rear. Weak magazine springs are common culprits. The interior of the magazine body must be clean. Traditional, seven-round magazines are best. There are a number of “extra-capacity” magazines available. None are recommended.

TRIGGER. The trigger must drop free from frame when the frame is moved from horizontal to vertical. Once again, sticky triggers are easily fixed.

HAMMER AND SEAR. Both hammer and sear must rotate fully and freely on their respective pins.

MAINSPRING. The mainspring must not bind in its housing.

SLIDE AND FRAME. Remove all parts from the slide and frame. The slide must freely fall from the frame. Tight slide-to-frame fit is unsuitable for serious guns.

EXTRACTOR (internal). Extractor tension must be sufficient to hold a live round while the slide is rotating. The extractor tunnel must be clean.

FIRING PIN. The firing pin must protrude from breech face and return without binding. To function check, drop a pencil, eraser end first, down the barrel from the muzzle (unloaded pistol). Point the pistol upward. Press the trigger. The pencil should launch from the barrel at least a foot into the air.

AMMUNITION. Even factory ammunition needs to be inspected before using it to charge magazines.

Comment: Adherence to the foregoing may well keep you out of a body bag. Take care of your equipment!



31 Aug 05

Comments on 1911 maintenance:

“Every comment following applies across the board, regardless of make or model.

We treat our water heater, furnace, even our cars with a large dose of neglect. As a result, they fail from time to time. Such failures are irritating, but usually not fatal. This is a serious issue, my brother and sister warriors. When you treat your fighting tools with disrespect, neglect, and indifference the result may well be fatal, and you won’t get a second chance!

Many are neither qualified nor competent to own or use guns. They need to get a spear or something else their minds can handle. Don’t join that herd. Don’t wait for an issue to rear its ugly head. Stay ahead of it, alert, awake, prepared, and trained. Anything less is dangerously foolish, and disrespects our creed.”

Comment: Can’t put it better!



31 Aug 05

Disaster in New Orleans. Lessons for all of us:

Currently, New Orleans is a non-functioning city. Likewise for the surrounding area. Public order has completely broken down over thousands of square miles. No utilities. No services. No food/water. No sanitary facilities, No way to communicate. No fuel. No way to get out. Total anarchy! Everyone there is on their own and will be for the foreseeable future. They’ll be lucky to live through it! Ripple effects throughout the entire nation are substantial and will steadily grow. We are all going to feel the effects. This has never happened in America anywhere near this scale before. Some parts of New Orleans will never be rebuilt, nor should they be. This is not a Hollywood screenplay. It is happening, for real, right now, right here in America! This civilization cannot absorb many more blows like this one.

Mercenary gangs of looters, carjackers, and other criminals, many armed, are terrorizing anyone they can find. Swarming into business, homes, even hospitals, looters are bypassing food and drink to steal television sets, jewelry, and computers. Police and National Guard are unable to respond. Residents will have to protect themselves and their property by themselves, any way they can. We can only pray their firepower and training are up to the task. If not, they’re toast. Nobody can help them.

A friend in the fuel distribution business in OH tells me there is no crude flowing north. Disruption in the supply chain will last for weeks, at least. He advises all of us to fill up.

During a televised interview yesterday, a reporter asked LA’s governor how the people currently housed in the Superdome were going to be evacuated. She mumbled incoherently and then defaulted to typical, political double-talk. When pressed, she became exasperated and finally blurted “We’re in crisis mode now, and we don’t know what we’re going to do.” How inspiring! Sad that, in our democracy, so many mumbling, bumbling bureaucrats like this one are in important, executive positions for which they are obviously unqualified.

If you’re wondering if there is a point lurking in all this, it is that this massive disaster serves to illustrate how we, and only we, are individually responsible for our health and safety. PREPAREDNESS CAN NEVER BE RETROACTIVE. We all need to be self-contained, and important decisions to that end must be made by each of us right now, and acted upon unilaterally, rather than listening to elected grasseaters and waiting on them to make decisions for us.



31 Aug 05

Comments on the catastrophe in New Orleans:

“Real reason the Superdome is being evacuated is that there have been so many assaults, robberies, and rapes, everyone has concluded it is unsafe to remain there.”

“Firearm section of Wall-Marts have all been cleaned out by gangs of looters. Bands of armed VCAs are freely roaming the city now, committing violent crimes at will, unafraid of interference from police or the NG.”

“My mother is here with me in Baton Rouge. We are running off a generator. There is enough juice for lights, fans, and the refrigerator, but not enough for central air. My brothers are staying at their homes to protect them from looting, which is rampant. No one begrudges the hungry for taking food, but these people are taking everything of value except food, including appliances, athletic shoes, and booze. They are also committing rapes and assaults. Both my brothers have found it necessary to point shotguns at roaming bands of looters. Fortunately, the looters immediately thought of somewhere else they needed to be! They’re impressed with firepower, little else. Gunshots can be heard throughout the area. One can call the police, but they’re not coming.”

“Real life is different from the square range, eh? In real life, tough guns rule! After a beautifully-blued, tightly-fitted, tack driving 1911 rusts shut, the owner might be looking for a good spear. He’ll surely need something, considering the antics of the disturbed classes down here!”

“I’ve decided to change my procedure for going to back-up pistol. I will now retain my primary pistol rather than jettisoning it. Tossing the only other gun I have into two feet of dirty water is a bad idea when no help is coming for the foreseeable future. Same with reloading. I’m making the permanent transition to military reloading, rather than speed reloading. Give the current direction of world history, I’ve come to believe these changes in personal tactical doctrine are necessary.”