2 Aug 06
Comment on my Quip last month about the Wall Street Journal article on knives in America and the “need” for more regulation (as in the UK):
“Mr Farnam: … knives really are dangerous. Regulation is probably needed.”
“Son, if politicians set out to regulate every ‘dangerous’ thing, our entire government may as well close to all other business! As you correctly observed, it’s a dangerous world. Therefore, we all need to grow up, not remain guileless children, with the all-too-enthusiastic assistance of a maternal government whose politicians and bureaucrats see ‘learned helplessness’ as the certain path to their uninterrupted seizure of power.”
As L Menchen put it: “The whole aim of ‘practical politics’ is to keep the populace continuously alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to ‘safety,’ by menacing it with an interminable nimiety of hobgoblins, all of them delusional.”
And, that is the problem. Not all are delusional! Now and then, a genuine threat gets mixed in with all the imaginary ones. Then, a weary public, so accustomed to government and media relentlessly crying “Wolf,” ignores it as they have learned to ignore all the rest. Thus, this continuous litany of politically-generated false alarms invariably leads to national and individual unpreparedness. Some things never change!
4 Aug 06
A Bridge “Too Far.”
With Montgomery’s North African victory at El Alamein on 4 November 1942, air superiority restored over England by the RAF (and thus Hitler’s amphibious invasion of the island nation indefinitely postponed), and the entire German Eastern Front not only at a standstill at Stalingrad but progressively surrounded by Zhukov, the tide in Europe had clearly turned against Hitler.
Spectacularly successful Allied amphibious landings at Normandy in June of 1944 marked the beginning of the end. Thereafter, military commanders, on both sides, saw Allied victory as inevitable and looked only for ways to “shorten the War.” Operation “Market Garden,” Bernard Montgomery’s brainchild, was sold on that basis. A brilliant and daring initiative, hastily thrown together, Market Garden, had large Allied paratroop units, idle since D-Day and itching to get back in the fight, dropping in and seizing critical bridges, well behind disintegrating German lines. An Allied armored vanguard would then rush across the Rhine (an otherwise substantial obstacle) and into Germany proper. Caught off guard, retreating Germans would have no choice but to surrender, entire divisions at a time! The war in Europe would end within weeks! Market Garden was, in fact, to be the largest Airborne operation in the history of warfare, before or since.
Neither Bradley nor Eisenhower liked the Plan, considering it dangerously lacking in contingency planning, too consumptive of critical resources, too much of an over-reach, and too assumptive of German impotence. However, the prospect of significantly “shortening the War” ultimately proved too seductive to be resisted. Both subsequently regretted ever allowing the Operation to go forward.
Bernard Montgomery, flush from his stunning success at El Alamein (his first and only victory), excitedly briefed his staff on 10 Sept. Lt General Fred Browning was the one who pointed out that the cornerstone of the entire Plan, and the most ambitions of its components, the road bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem in occupied Holland, was over sixty miles behind existing German lines. Concerned about his men’s ability to hold out until relieved by advancing Allied units, he commented to Montgomery that it might indeed be a “bridge too far!” That was, of course, exactly what Montgomery didn’t want to hear. In fact, Montgomery didn’t want to hear any of a good deal of disturbing intelligence. The “Plan” was too far along!
Jumps commenced on schedule, 17 Sept 1944, and things went south almost immediately. On paper, the Plan was breathtaking, but it hinged entirely on surprise and delay-free execution, and delays plagued the Operation from the start! Inadequate numbers of aircraft meant that jumps could not be made simultaneously, and, at the last minute, drop zones were changed to areas miles away from objectives in order to avoid ground fire. Resulting delays gave the German high command time to correctly guess what the Allies were up to. German capabilities and determination had been inexcusably underestimated by Montgomery, and the swiftness and enthusiasm of the German response had been underestimated by everyone!
Lt Col John D Frost’s, 2nd Bn, British Parachute Regiment, 1st British Airborne Division arrived at the Arnhem Bridge and, according to plan, entrenched themselves on the north approach. There, Frost’s men doggedly held out, resisting repeated attempts by Germans to break through, frustrating the German high command’s efforts to use the bridge in order to respond to other Allied movements. Unknown to Montgomery’s planners, an entire German tank division was resting and refitting in Arnhem when the Operation began!
Several times, Frost’s untenable position was pointed out to him by the opposing German commander who offered terms of surrender, but Frost, even when himself badly wounded, refused, vowing to continue the costly battle. However, with ammunition nearly gone, with reinforcement no longer a possibility, and overwhelmed with wounded, Frost’s few remaining able-bodied troops surrendered on 20 Sept.
American General James Gavin, himself a hero in another sector of the battlefield, described the heroic stand of Frost and his battalion at Arnhem as the “finest of the entire War.” Seven months later, Allies would reach Arnhem once more and cross the Rhine for the final time.
Casualties among American, British, and Polish Airborne units were monstrous, as was loss of equipment, and loss of momentum. Thousands were taken captive by the Germans. Far from shortening the War, the Market Garden debacle actually stalled the Allied advance and delayed the ultimate German surrender. In the aftermath, Montgomery did his best to put a good face on Market Garden, but most historians regard the operation as a disaster and a significant, and inconvenient, German victory, their last of the War. Montgomery, narcissistically unapologetic to the end, referred to Market Garden as “ninety percent successful.” Few agreed with him, least of all Dutch Prince Bernhard, who responded bitterly, “My country can never again afford the luxury of another Montgomery ‘success!’”
In 1977, Dutch residents of Arnhem renamed the structure “John Frost Bridge.” It carries that title to this day! Frost survived captivity and continued his military career, eventually being promoted to the rank of Major General. He died quietly in England in 1993, at the age of eighty-one.
Lessons: Personal vanity continually haunts military commanders and, after a victory or two, can ensnare the unwary, setting them, and their commands, up for disaster. Makers of daring plans must be careful listeners! Bad news is as important as good news. As Julius Caesar put it, “I fear only half as much my enemies, who hate me, as I do my friends, who flatter me.”
Heroes on the ground who “do or die,” expertly and enthusiastically executing both good plans and bad ones, deserve credit for making good plans succeed and keeping bad ones from getting worse. Grasseaters are easily identified and selected for their quality of victimhood. On the other side of the ledger, we have fearlessly claimed our own image and likeness to our Creator. We proudly claim the title of “Warrior.” “The Lord is a Warrior.” – Exodus, 15:3.
“Not theirs to carry the day, but where they stood, falling,
to dye the Earth with brave men’s blood, for England’s sake and duty
Be their names forever sacred among us.
Neither praise nor blame add to their epitaph,
But let it be…
Simple, as that which marked Thermopylae.
Tell it in England all those who pass us by,
Here in this place, faithful to their charge, faithful to their duty, faithful to the end, her soldiers lie”
Inscription on the Memorial to the Natal Carbineers, Islandlwana, South Africa, Anglo/Zulu War, AD 1879
5 Aug 06
Excellent follow-up comment from a friend a student:
“I am struck by the similarity of Montgomery’s naive thinking to the ever-present, and similarly falsely seductive, ‘one-shot stop.’ No doubt seduced by Hollywood’s fraudulent portrayal of their pistol’s mighty ‘stopping power,’ many naively expect a single handgun bullet to stop any determined attacker in his tracks. As Montgomery foolishly forgot (or, blinded by his lust for glory, ignored), THE ENEMY GETS TO VOTE TOO! The adolescent expectation of a ‘one-shot stop’ may well prove fatal, as you risk mentally disengaging too soon.
As you are light-heartedly planning your victory celebration, your determined adversary may well continue his deadly attack, undeterred, undelayed, and unimpressed, and you may not find the time to re-engage! A mental ‘Bridge Too Far,’ if you will.”
My late, great colleague, Pierce Brooks, once listed the “Ten Deadly Sins” committed by police officers. Of the Ten, the most venomous is “Relaxing Too Soon!”
5 Aug 06
Important details from a friend currently in Iraq:
Nearly all soldiers and Marines here now have ACOGs or EOTechs mounted on their rifles. Most are of the opinion that these optics significantly increase their ability to hit quickly. Even SAWs have optics!
There is still a lot of green-tip in use, but the Black Hills 77gr round is seen a lot too, particularly among Marines. However, bitter complaints persist among veterans about lack of range and inadequate penetration. Most contractors (including me) get their hands on a Kalashnikov, in 7.62X39 (Soviet 30) the first chance they get, knowing the cartridge to be superior to the 223, in every way.
On that vein, we contractors are admonished, on pain of termination, to never use, or even possess, any weapon that is not US-government issued. That regulation, like all stupid rules, is universally, and contemptuously, ignored! We are all finding ways of purchasing and concealing private firearms and blades. Around here, we are much more worried about getting killed or kidnapped than getting fired. Duh!
Everyone here carries a blade, usually several! Every conceivable variation of fighting knife can be seen on an individual’s belt, or tucked in his waistband. This is a good trend and a wonderful example of personal initiative on the part of our Soldiers and Marines.
There are still lots NDs here, nearly all among ‘cold-range’ types. Muzzle consciousness is lax. We need more professional-gunman discipline and less politically-correct, nanny-state training!
Keep pushing the System in the right direction, John!”
Comment: In all likelihood, this nation is going to be at war, continuously, for the remainder of our lifetimes! We need to return to our heritage of a nation of warriors, a nation of professional gunmen. Right now, we’re too much a nation of clueless wimps, and current military training is (obviously) insufficient to overcome this “loser orientation.”
It can’t be said too often: it is way past time to move on from the 223! We need a real battle cartridge that is (1) effective at long distances and (2) shoots through things. We can get new airplanes, new missiles, new vehicles, even a new pistol, but, for some reason, we can’t seem to get a new rifle!
As the world continues to plummet toward a new Dark Age, we will need every advantage this civilization can deliver!
7 Aug 06
I attended a stick/cane-fighting seminar yesterday, instructed by Peter Donello of Canemasters. Canemasters manufacturers high-quality canes and walking sticks and provides training in their use. However, I used my Cold Steel “City Stick,” as did several other students.
I was astonished at the number of effective moves available to the cane/stick fighter, certainly more than I can remember! Peter’s knowledge is vast, and I did my best to catalog the few that I thought were most effective and easiest to learn. Range is the big advantage canes have over blades and other impact weapons.
Striking and jabbing are still the premiere moves, easily done with nearly any style of cane. Some follow-up moves and holds and more comfortably accomplished with a hooked cane than with a straight stick, but either style works just fine. The real question is: What can I have with me most often that attracts the least attention?
This four-hour clinic is something I recommend to everyone. The cane is a wonderful, low-profile, yet extremely effective fighting tool that most people can fit into their lives with a minimum of lifestyle disruption. Most casual observers don’t even notice when you have one with you and certainly don’t believe them to represent a threat. Time well spent!
8 Aug 06
One summer, back in the early eighties, I lectured alongside the late Pierce Brooks at Northwestern University’s prestigious Traffic Institute in Evanston, IL. Pierce was a famous author. I was just a young upstart, who worked cheap. But, I got to know and love Pierce and his book, “Officer Down, Code Three.” That first book on the subject of domestic police injury and death and root causes, influenced me greatly. It still does.
In his book, Pierce identifies the “Ten Deadly Sins” committed by police officers, and he describes they way they contribute to the death and injury of those who commit them. I talked about number Seven recently. Here, once more, are all ten:
1 LACK OF CONCENTRATION: You’re in the Navy, or your not! When you don’t pay attention to what you’re getting paid to do, you won’t see “trouble in the making” soon enough.
2 “TOMBSTONE” COURAGE: Risk, of course, goes with the territory. However, suicidal risks are taken only by the foolish and naive.
3 SLEEPY OR ASLEEP ON DUTY: Some, in their youth, can get by on just a couple hours of sleep, but no one can get away with it for long.
4 TAKING A BAD POSITION: Failing to take advantage of available cover, and getting too close, are twin assassins. Keep your options open. When things go south, you’re going to desperately need two critical commodities: Time and Space.
5 NOT HEEDING DANGER SIGNS: Prior to most deadly attacks, there are “danger signs” aplenty. Ignore them at your peril!
6 FAILURE TO WATCH HANDS: People fight with their hands. That is where weapons will appear, and that is where your concentration should always be gravitating.
7 RELAXING TOO SOON: Has the fat lady sung? I didn’t think so!
8 IMPROPER HANDCUFFING: Modern handcuffs are wonderful restraints. Take full advantage of the control they provide.
9 POOR SEARCH OR NO SEARCH: It is amazing, even today, the way deadly weapons are routinely discovered on suspects the third, or even the fourth, time they are searched!
10. POORLY MAINTAINED, OR INOPERATIVE, WEAPON: Shoot your weapons often! Maintain them perpetually. Carry fresh ammunition (shoot up the old stuff). If your weapon shot normally yesterday, it will probably shoot normally today. When it hasn’t been shot, or even handled, for months, it will probably work anyway, but, with something that important to my continued good health, I, for one, want to be as sure as I can be!
The list is, of course, incomplete. As new circumstances arise, new items will have to be added, but that list, taken to heart, has saved many. It saved me!
9 Aug 06
Here is the “What if?” question that is silently circulating among federal agencies:
Israel is currently fighting, as far as it is concerned, for its very national existence. Few in Israel don’t believe that every, last Israeli (man, woman, child) in the entire county will be casually massacred, in place, when Iran/Hezbollah successfully invades.
When that happens, all of Western Europe will do little more than scratch itself! Israel has not a friend in the world, save the USA, and the UK. Curious that the same people who don’t think the United States should be fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, wildly cheer Israel for doing the identical thing in Lebanon! I guess it is okay for them, but not for us, eh?
It is widely believed Israel has an arsenal of deliverable, nuclear weapons. In fact, there is little doubt that is true. Iran will have something along that line soon, and we all know Hezbollah to be simply the “provisional branch” of the Iranian armed forces. Of course, Russia and China have operational, nuclear arsenals too, as do, to a lesser extent, India, and Pakistan. In addition, there is a considerable amount of fissionable material, left over from the Cold War, that is completely unaccounted for. Heaven knows where it is!
So, there is a high probability, getting higher with each passing day, that an above-ground nuke will go off, on purpose, somewhere in the world before the current crisis subsides (if it ever does). There well may be more than just one!
When that happens, this is what we can look forward to here in the USA:
Life, for us, will change forever:
Airports will shut down immediately. In fact, all travel, save walking, will be extremely restricted. Plan on being treated like a criminal no matter where you go. Plan on not getting anywhere fast. Those caught away from home will be stranded for weeks or months. For Americans vacationing in foreign countries, even Mexico and Canada, reentry will be all but impossible.
“Martial Law,” or some version of it, will be imposed in every place. That means curfews, endless checkpoints, and mass detention centers, everywhere.
Television and radio will be offline. Hard, reliable news will be difficult to come by. Wild rumors will circulate, unchecked.
Communication via telephone, cell phone, and computer will be cut off immediately. The whole system will melt down. Restoration will be slow and tedious. It may be weeks before you know the status of separated friends and family.
All sales of guns and ammunition will be stopped immediately, along with sales of liquor, fuel, and some drugs.
Military mobilization, on a national level, will commence in earnest. Most roads, mass transit, heavy vehicles, busses, aircraft, and ships will be immediately commandeered for military use.
Politicians, at all levels, will take extreme measures to protect themselves. The rest of us will be the recipients of little more than lip service. We’ll see paranoid mayors, like Nagen in New Orleans, send their police house to house confiscating legally-owned firearms, ammunition, even food (you’ll be accused of “hoarding”) from good and decent people who are unlikely to resist violently. The indecency of such public criminality will never even occur to them.
As we saw in New Orleans, violent criminals, individually and in gangs, will commit burglaries, robberies, arson, rape, and murder, largely unhindered by police (who will be completely overwhelmed). Those citizens caught unprepared will, as always, make useful victims.
There will be chronic shortages of everything you can imagine. Cash will become worthless. Until some universal faith in government is earned and eventually restored, the new currency will be food, ammunition, and batteries.
Decent people, entire neighborhoods, will have to band together for protection. Large sections of urban areas will be considered too dangerous to enter, even by police. In France, this is the case now!
Delivery of basic, infrastructure services, like water, gas, and electricity, will become intermittent and unreliable.
I promise you, liberal, anti-gun snobs will be the first ones at your doorstep sheepishly begging to “borrow” your guns!
Many among the naive and unprepared will not live through it. Individual preparedness, including reserves of food, water, guns, ammunition, personal competence and resolve, et al, will see you through. My advice is to get prepared now, while you still can. “What if?” is, in fact, the wrong question. “What when?” is the right one!
15 Aug 06
LA Shooting Incident, from a friend with the LAPD:
“Saturday evening, one of my two-officer, patrol units made a traffic stop. Ageing, shabby vehicle with a headlight out. Two, male occupants. Dealer’s plates. Middle-class, residential neighborhood. My officers planned on treating it as a high-risk stop, because of the likelihood of it being a stolen car. However, before the suspect vehicle even came to a stop, the front-seat passenger jumped out, holding a stockless (wood stock had been sawed off) Kalashnikov (7.62X39) and started firing at our patrol vehicle.
Our passenger officer already had his door open and was calling in the stop when two rounds hit him, one in the left wrist and one in the left forearm. Both were through and through. He, of course, dropped the microphone, but he was able to draw his G23 with his other hand and immediately return fire.
The suspect started walking toward our patrol vehicle, shooting as he moved. He put a whole bunch of rounds through the windshield. Some rounds struck the passenger-side door, but were stopped by a ballistic panel, standard now in all our cars. Glad we had them!
The suspect then ran past our unit’s passenger side, firing continuously. By this time, the driver officer was out and firing at the suspect (SW 4506) as he ran passed the unit. One of his rounds hit the suspect in the right thigh. The suspect abruptly dropped his rifle and hobbled away. Driver officer was in slide lock and in the process of reloading as he lost sight of the suspect. The single bullet that struck the suspect, penetrating his right leg. It exited near the crotch, continued on and penetrated his scrotum, exited, and finally (fully expanded) re-entered his opposite-side leg, finally coming to a stop in the meaty portion of the left leg.
The suspect turned a nearby corner and ran through several back yards. He went to ground under a carport. When confronted a few minutes later, bleeding badly, he surrendered meekly. The driver, who fled the scene when the shooting started, was also arrested a short distance away, at about the same time. He too surrendered without incident, claiming to know nothing.
I was the second sergeant at the scene. Both our officers are going to be okay. One was hit directly, as noted above, but both were hit multiple times by glass shards and other secondary, flying debris. My officer who took the direct hits (three months left on probation) got right back in the fight! He never lost consciousness. His vest saved him from a nasty, secondary wound to his lower, right side. My other officer (twenty-plus years) went on the attack without hesitation. He kept shooting until he was forced to reload. He then, clearly and calmly, made all of the necessary broadcasts for suspect description, directions and perimeter set-up. A professional all the way!
Both suspects are mid-thirties, local, two-bit losers. Chronically unemployed. Long rap sheets. But, neither are gang members, as far as we can tell. That was surprising.”
I know it is a sore subject, but two-officer, beat cars really make sense. Had the patrol vehicle been occupied by only one officer, he would have been lucky to live through it.
Fifteen-shooters are better than eight-shooters! The driver officer commented that he ran out of ammunition just as the fight was starting! Yes, I know accuracy is the factor, but just being able to keep coming, without having the necessity of a momentum-depleting reload rearing its ugly head at an inconvenient time is desirable indeed. Uniformed patrolmen need to carry high-capacity pistols.
An immediate, explosive counterattack is always the right answer to unexpected, unlawful violence. Deadly, return fire will stop the attack faster than most other things I can think of.
Never give up. Never give in!
15 Aug 06
At an Urban Rifle/Shotgun course in MI last weekend, a student brought a Garand and shot the entire Course with it. His build and height are above average, but even he admitted that, after carrying it (and forty rounds of ammunition) for two, long days, he can surely see the advantage of short, light, compact rifles, with large, detachable magazines.
He lives in Chicago, where one may not a legally own any species of handgun, but may have a Garand and a pump shotgun. No other autoloading, military rifle is allowed (not even M1 Carbines), and autoloading shotguns are limited to four rounds. Even then, all firearms are registered with the City, so the mayor can, at any time, and on any flimsy pretext, kick in the doors of gunowners’ homes and snatch them out of their hands, leaving them defenseless in the face of (private sector) criminals (the “Nagen Method”). If I lived in Chicago, I’m sure I’d own several Garands!
This student is making due, as best he can, given his circumstances. That is what I admire. Instead of spending all his time cursing liberal, anti-gun politicians, he has found a way to arm himself formidably, working around restrictive rules. After an arduous and exhausting, two-day workout, few, with any kind of rifle, would be a match for him!
15 Aug 06
This from a friend in the retail gun business:
“Yesterday I received an updated DOI/GSA price schedule from Winchester. It contained the following message:
‘Due to the military’s growing demand for 223 ammunition, Winchester is left with a decreased capacity to service all other customers… as a result… we will discontinue quoting prices on all 223 ammunition… attached, you will find a revised price list which no longer includes 223… we will, once again, provide 223… when this product can be reliably supplied’”
Conclusion: It is anyone’s guess how long this situation will continue or how much more critical it will get. Those of us on the bottom of the food chain need to realized that everyone will be supplied ahead of us. We need to find a way to individually stock up, while we still can.
Readiness is a personal responsibility!
15 Aug 06
Important lessons learned at last weekend’s Urban Rifle/Shotgun Course, from an observant student:
“CONFIRM SERVICEABILITY OF GUNS AFTER ANY MODIFICATION. Even when ‘just replacing a recoil spring,’ you can unknowingly render your weapon inoperative. We saw this with a Garand. A replacement recoil spring was too long, and it thus prevented the rifle from being loaded. The clip could not be inserted properly. The owner was astonished, to say the least!
‘CUSTOM GUNSMITHING’ DOESN’T INSURE FUNCTIONALITY. In fact, exactly the opposite is the usual case. We had one Kalashnikov with a bad case of hammer-follow. It had just been ‘accurized.’ It had to be taken off the line as unserviceable. With service/utility rifles, four-inch groups at 100m are just fine!
ENLARGED/EXTENDED SELECTORS, CHARGING HANDLES, AND OTHER CONTROLS ARE A CAN OF WORMS! Most of these after-market accessories and flimsy, precariously attached, and create more problems than they solve. One AR-15 had an enlarged selector lever that was both flimsy and not attached securely, which caused the operator to be unsure of its position. Keep your serious equipment close to stock. Stock guns work best!
RUN YOUR GUN, HARD AND OFTEN! Beat it up. The place to discover and replace poor equipment is the range. The operator is more important than the equipment. Trust in your individual competence is always our goal.”
Comment: Every rifle has issues. None are perfect. When you are familiar with your rifle’s strengths and weaknesses, you will be able to keep it running under a wide spectrum of circumstances.
Field-strip it often. Learn it inside and out. Clean it regularly. Keep it handy. Train with it every chance you get. It is not merely a vehicle for ego-massage, although the shallow and self-centered treat it as such. It is the savior of your life!
16 Aug 06
Horrible situation in SA, getting worse:
“A friend in the Eastern part of SA (well known for farm attacks) called yesterday. Several days ago, his elderly neighbors were attacked in their own home by a gang of thugs. The attackers were armed with R4, military rifles. South African citizens are not allowed to own these. Guns used by these criminals had been stolen from the police.
The thugs tied the woman up and repeatedly raped her. She was also beaten so badly she was barely recognizable. Her husband too was tied up and beaten. They then boiled cooking oil and forced it through a funnel down his throat. He has since died of internal burns and bleeding.
The wife eventually managed to get to a panic-button, linked to other farmers in the district. My friend, Jim, was one of the neighboring farmers who responded. He took along a Norinco bolt gun in 7.62×39. When the thugs saw him approaching, they fled.
Jim then checked the house and helped the woman and her husband (still alive at that stage). The woman indicated at least one attacker was hiding in a shed. Jim approached the shed and ordered the suspect to come out. The suspect complied, shooting wildly. One, carefully-aimed shot from Jim’s rifle ended this slug’s criminal career on the spot. He was hit high in the chest and was DRT within seconds.
Local police finally arrived four hours later. They seemed only distantly interested! So nice they were able to fit this crime into their day.
This incident is not isolated and is far from the worst. In SA, you’re on your own!”
Comment: When societal controls over violence fail, as they failed for Jewish people during WWII and are currently failing these pitiable farmers in SA, reverting to private violence may be the only way survive. Ask yourself if you are willing to watch your family horribly murdered at the hands of merciless thugs, just so naive grasseaters will speak well of you after you’re all dead!
None of the situational training we subject ourselves to: skillful use of cover, concealment, movement, speed, “situational awareness,” et al will make the enemy fall down! Only accuracy kills.
17 Aug 06
“I was practicing drawing and deploying my Cold Steel Vaquero Grande yesterday. Like you, I consider a good blade vital, but useless if you don’t practice. On completion, I folded the blade, but did not visually check that it was indexed completely inside the handle. Of course, the inevitable happened. I stabbed myself in the meaty part of my left palm just below the thumb, sinking the point to the bone. Man, those Cold Steel knifes are sharp!
This injury has emphasized important points:
When handling weapons, don’t disengage your brain while your body is still in motion! In other words, don’t relax too soon. This not only counts for tactical encounters, but for every time you handle weapons. When you say to yourself, ‘Whew; glad that’s over,’ watch out! It ain’t.
A robust and seriously sharp blade is a must. That’s why my first choice is Cold Steel. This blade entered my skin with just the barest pressure. Had I been fighting in a weakened state, or with a poor attack angle, my razor-sharp blade would have made the difference between a glancing blow and a ruinous, fight-winning cut.
Sharp blades cause copious bleeding! This wound bled and bled, and then bled some more. Causing your attacker to bleed profusely, even from a minor wound, can grievously impair his will to continue fighting, which is one of the ‘four Ds.’
When working with blades, expect to be cut, sooner or later! Be prepared for that stinging feeling and the rush of blood. If you’re not unconscious, it means that you can still fight.”
Comment: My friend is absolutely right! As with guns, blades will bite you when you’re careless. However, for warriors, they are an inexorable part of our lives and very being. The risks associated with having serious weapons around must be balanced against the risks associated with not having weapons around. Life is meant to be exciting, not relaxing!
19 Aug 06
Enlightened comments from an eminent and well-known gunsmith:
“I agree! The vast majority after-market add-ons, particularly expended/enlarged controls, have no serious, nor even legitimate, purpose. But, some do. For example, you and I both strongly recommend the installation of Mack Gwinn’s D-Ring on all serious AR-15s, the precipitous removal of magazine safeties from all serious pistols, and replacing underpowered recoil springs on many autoloading pistols, particularly 1911s.
The ubiquitous 870. We see more broken ones in our shop than any other shotgun. Weak points are the ejector, wood forend, and magazine follower. Old-style, wooden forends typically crack down the center, and the halves fall off. We routinely replace broken, wooden forends with plastic ones, which are far superior. When the ejector breaks, it is a major job to replace, as it is riveted onto the receiver. In addition, the old-style magazine follower needs to be replaced with the new one, as the old one will predictably hang up on the joint between the end of the magazine tube and the beginning of the magazine-tube extension. In fact, magazine-tube extensions are a perpetual problem. I don’t recommend any of them.
Remington’s ever-popular M700 bolt gun. We see many of these too! The extractor is weak and breaks often. The first thing nearly all military/police snipers do to the 700 is replace the factory extractor with one from Sako or Harris. Like the 870, the 700 was never designed for military purposes. It is a strictly a sporting arm, and always will be. The classic, Mauser action is found on all military, bolt guns. That is my preference. When you need a serious, bolt gun, have your gunsmith set you up with a Mauser or 1903 Springfield.
The point is that we gunsmiths have a knowledge and experiential base far in excess of that of most armorers. I concede that many in my guild cater to the kiddy/competitive market, but I don’t. I, and many others, confine our practices strictly to serious guns for professional gunmen, who, like you, carry guns for serious purposes as a regular practice. Our guns work!”
Comment: Armorers and gunsmiths both play legitimate roles. Many times, the two functions are combined into the same person. At the end of the discussion, serious guns need to be eminently suitable to a particular job and work dependably. On a daily basis, lives are depending on them! Non-serious guns are of no interest, at least to me.
19 Aug 06
This afternoon, in rural OH, I shot a groundhog at sixty meters with Cor-Bon 223 DPX (53gr), out of my EOTech-equipped RA/XCR. The bullet went through and through, but the exit wound (after five inches of penetration) was spacious, and a large wad of entrails trailed out from it when we found the animal. He was DRT, dropping in place after being hit. After exit, the bullet continued downrange and kicked up a wad of dust behind the animal. However, I clearly heard the unmistakable “thwock” of the initial impact.
Of course, my XCR is set up as a people gun, not a varmint gun, but I had the opportunity to take this hog out, and I wanted to see how DPX performed on living tissue. It did just fine! My riflesmith, Colby Adler, saw to it that the combination of the EOTech and the XCR were dead nuts at forty meters, which is MPBR (Maximum Point-Blank Range). It sure was!
20 Aug 06
In Baghdad today, “snipers,” firing from houses and a cemetery, murdered several dozen Shiite religious pilgrims who were marching in a procession. Simultaneously, over two hundred were wounded. An omnibus ban on driving had been imposed by the government in order to limit car-bombings, and this shooting episode was an apparent work-around cooked up by sectarian outlaws
Of course, the ignorant and frightened media refers to anyone with a rifle as a “sniper.” These shooters were not “snipers.” They were just garden-variety thugs, with Kalashnikov rifles, using stock, iron sights, shooting stationary, standing people at ranges from twenty to 150 meters. Easy shots, even for amateurs! In fact, we know they’re amateurs, because of the small KIA to WIA ratio.
This incident garnered only anaemic media interest, but it concerns me, because, unlike bombings, the foregoing is a highly destructive tactic that can be easily exported nearly anywhere in the world. It may lack a big boom, but this kind of loosely organized mayhem can manufacture a high number of casualties in a short time, with little sophisticated planning, and only scant preparation. It would “work” spectacularly well in nearly any metro area in the world.
Local police, unless themselves routinely armed with rifles and well trained in their use, could do little- before, during, or after.
We better be ready!
21 Aug 06
Doc Gunn just sent me a note this morning with a news story about an escaped inmate being involved in a shooting at a nearby hospital. His analysis is unvarnished and classic:
“The only authentic protection one may have is that which he provides for himself. Without exception, all institutional ‘security’ is a bogus farce/comedy- counterfeit window dressing, designed solely to placate the mass of timid grasseaters and cause them (in true, lemming-like fashion) to suspend reality long enough to foolishly believe themselves safe from violent attack. As we see, all it takes to shatter this fraud is a determined individual with evil intent. In the aftermath of course, there will be the requiem, Three-Stooges-style fervor throughout the health-care system, and predictably, a new layer of half-witted, unenforceable regulations. Afterward, things will quickly settle back down to where they were. In the end, nothing will have changed. I’ve seen it time and again.”
As friend in a large, federal agency adds: “I’m weary of being surrounded by jellyfish- neutered ‘managers’ (we have no leaders) who, after having their gag-reflex surgically removed, suffocate the life out of the rest of us, who are naively striving to actually accomplish something.”
In 1857 Lincoln said, “As a nation of free men, we shall live forever- or die by suicide!”
Yes, suicide by slow strangulation!
23 Aug 06
On Judge Taylor, from an attorney who is a friend and student:
“I have appeared before Judge Anna Diggs Taylor a number of times. To say that she is a ‘lesser legal light’ hardly does her justice! Predictably unprepared, Taylor is, without fail, confused and disconnected. The most basic of legal reasoning invariably confounds her. Completely unqualified, having been educated, selected, and appointed via a quota system, I am not surprised by her recent (and, with any luck, short-lived) chef-d’oeuvre.”
Comment: It is no surprise that intellectual lightweights like Taylor are all members of the “Living Constitution” crowd, who pretend our Constitution says what it doesn’t, in order to promote their own, invariably leftist, political agenda. In fact, promoting political agendas is their only real interest. The inherent wrongfulness practiced by these Constitution criminals never occurs to them. They are political gangsters.
“The way of life my friends and I chose was but a means to attain social advancement and respectability. We never thought of ourselves as criminals”
Giuseppe Bonanno (AKA, “Joe Bananas”), American Gangster, 1905-2002
Giuseppe needn’t think his convoluted reasoning is confined to private-sector criminals!
24 Aug 06
XCR Variants, from Alex Robinson:
“In certain jurisdictions, our XCR’s folding stock creates problems. For example, in MI the XCR is just fine for general ownership, but, amazingly, is classified as a ‘pistol!’ For places like that, we’ve now designed a fixed/tube stock. It looks and feels just like our standard, folding stock but there is no knuckle. It cannot be folded. For now, that adequately addresses the issue, at least in MI.”
Comment: Most gun laws, as written, are incomprehensible, confusing, and self-contradictory, I’m persuaded, deliberately so, in order to facilitate arbitrary enforcement when craven politicians want to punish a segment of the population that doesn’t support them.
A folding stock is convenient, particularly for low-profile transport. In a “car gun,” for example, it is a wonderful feature. For those of us who have no interest in politics nor politicians, and who have decided we need military rifles in our lives, and for manufacturers, like Robinson Arms, who make them for us, we need to continuously make adjustments as necessary. We have to stay one step ahead of them!
24 Aug 06
Cross-Gender Fighting, an important skill! This from a friend who bounces at a gentlemen’s club in TX:
“Tuesday evening, I was summoned to a ‘disturbance-in-progress’ on the second floor. I found a female patron, obviously intoxicated, verbally challenging several of our male ‘regulars’ to a fight! This woman, who did not know any of them, had walked over to one of them and briskly swept the tip he had just left onto the floor, simultaneously berating him for being a cheapskate. Before he could respond, she kicked him in the shin, doubling him over. She then announced in a loud and clear voice that she was a marital arts expert and would handily ‘kick their asses.’ I arrived just as she completed her sentence.
I approached her, announcing my office. The woman, slim, attractive, and skimpily clad, assumed an exaggerated fighting stance and repeated that she was a ‘third-degree black belt’ and that I needed to back off. At this time, her date arrived, back from a trip to the restroom, and demanded to know what was going on. The four guys, including the one who had just been kicked, were now on their feet, announcing that he and the woman were about to get hurt.
My Partner and I split up. He started herding the men in one direction, and I started herding the woman and her date in the opposite direction. I steered them toward the stairs. The boyfriend began apologizing, asking if they could stay. Not answering his questions, I said repeatedly, ‘This way, folks. Move this way.’
The woman would have none of it! She stopped, once more assuming a ridiculous stance (staggering slightly), and assured me that she was about to ‘kick my ass!’ As she then clumsily attempted a kick, I struck her with a palm heel in the chest. I aimed for the center of her chest, but she moved, and my blow struck her in the middle of her left breast, most of which was hanging out of her low-cut dress anyway. Her breast fell out the rest of the way, as she reeled backward, gagging and coughing. When she partially regained her balance, I grabbed her arm and said to her, ‘I bet that really hurt, huh? Don’t try kicking me again, dear!’
I then grabbed her waist, whirled her around, and continued to firmly shove her toward the door. Still coughing, she humbly decided she didn’t want to fight any more. He boyfriend, now silent, tagged along meekly. They were both promptly out the door. Another incident finished!
My experience is, like males, females can be combative and dangerous, all the more dangerous when one naively gives them more of an edge than circumstances indicate, simply because they are female. I promise you, females will invariably take full advantage of all such ‘special treatment.’
Those who, in public, declare themselves to be ‘trained fighters’ are nearly always bumbling buffoons who couldn’t beat their way out of a paper bag. However, combative females need to be treated just like any other VCA. VCAs are VCAs! They come in all sizes, ages, sexes, races, sexual orientations, and creeds! In order to get any VCA under control, one must continually evaluate, move, counter, seize the agenda, and ultimately destroy their will to fight. If there is another way, I’d like to see it!”
Comment: Most of us think females naturally represent less of a threat than do males. In this day and age, that is not true! Effective, successful fighters make decisions based upon suspect capabilities, not suspect “intent.”
25 Aug 06
Pistol-cartridge-firing longarms, colloquially called “staple-guns,” have faded from interest recently in the wake of the plethora of excellent 223 rifles now available. Police and non-police alike appreciate the power, durability, and magazine capacity of these compact, 223, military rifles. In fact, most staple guns are just submachine guns that fire semi-auto exclusively and are often sarcastically described as “big, heavy pistols.”
However, I have come to like Beretta’s CX4 rifle, in 40S&W, for a number of reasons. It is a seventy-five meter gun, no doubt. But, within that range, it is deadly accurate, coming with excellent iron sights and an integral rail on top that will handily accommodate an EOTech or Aimpoint. It is wonderfully compact, shorter than most folding-stock rifles, even with their stocks folded! It is relatively quiet, with low muzzle blast, recoiling like most 223s. Finally, the CX4 is light, devoid of sharp corners, edges, and protrusions, easy to carry, low profile, and deploys quickly. For a small-statured person, with limited upper-body strength, it is eminently useable.
Staple guns, like the CX4, make most sense in 40S&W and 357SIG caliber. These high-pressure rounds can take full advantage of the sixteen-inch barrel, rendering muzzle velocities considerably higher than will the same cartridge fired from a pistol, typically an additional 150-200 f/s. Low-pressure pistol rounds, like 9mm and 45ACP benefit far less from the extra barrel length.
There are two things I’m going to change on my copy of the CX4: There is a plastic piece that joins the rear of the pistol grip to the stock. It is there mostly for political reasons, as some jurisdictions prohibit isolated “pistol grips” on rifles and shotguns. The CX4 is surely useable that way, but the piece ads bulk, serves no legitimate purpose, and sometimes gets in the way. I am “form-follows-function” oriented, so I’m simply going to cut it out and get rid of it.
The pistol grip is too long, and the magazine, when fully seated, is thus recessed too far into it. This needlessly adds time to the reloading process and fairly invites the magazine to fail to lock in place. So, I’m going to cut away the bottom of the pistol grip until, as in a pistol, the base of the seated magazine protrudes properly. This minor surgery will all be accomplished next week by master riflesmith and good friend, Colby Adler. I’ll report back on the results.
Other than that, I have no complaints. The CX4 is a sound product that competently addresses a legitimate need.
28 Aug 06
It’s the Law in MI!
“I have a Remington 870 with a folding stock that was installed by the gunsmith you recommend. Registering it as a pistol seemed like a hassle, until I realized that I could then legally carry it with me in the front seat of my car. This provided a particular benefit for the type of housing-project security contracts we have.
The practice seemed curious at first, but my registration card, plus my CCW permit, has precluded legal unpleasantries. Now that I’m taking delivery of a new, folding stock RA/XCR, it is my sincerest intention to, once more, register it as a ‘pistol.’”
Comment: Legal nuances never fail to astonish me. It appears the folding-stock XCR is the perfect rifle for MI after all. Unintended consequences?
28 Aug 06
At an Urban Rifle/Shotgun Program in OH last weekend, we had, as usual, a number of AR-15s in 223, one DSA/FAL in 308, and one Ruger Mini-30 in 7.62X29 (Soviet-30). All ran fine, except the Ruger, which stopped cycling after hesitantly digesting two hundred rounds of Russian, steel-case ammunition.
This is, unfortunately, all too typical for the Ruger Mini-30! We’ve seen a dozen of them over the last few years, and none have ever finished the Program. All have gone down, usually on the first day. This student was using thirty-round magazines (hard to find now), which were difficult to insert, didn’t want to lock in place, and generated one stoppage after another! The frustrated student finally put the Ruger away and changed over to a DSA/FAL, which, like all DSAs, ran fine for the rest of the weekend.
We see many Ruger Mini-14s also, and nearly all are okay, running as well as most other 223, military rifles. But, the Mini-30 is a can of worms. Who wants a reliable, military rifle, chambered for Soviet-30 (7.62X39), should get hold of RA or Krebs and get their hands on a Kalashnikov. Caliber is great (superior to the 223 in every way). Magazines are plentiful and work well, and Kalashnikovs, of course, run just fine!
30 Aug 06
Sage comments from a friend and student in the Philippines:
“An acquaintance and I were stuck in traffic last week, and talk drifted to training. He recalled that several years ago, I took the time to attend two courses in the States, one from you and the other from Louis Awerbuck. I described both in detail, and sincerely suggested he do something similar. I was disappointed with his response, ‘That’s all basic. I can do that already. I want to study only high-speed stuff…’
He is a competitive shooter and very comfortable. Yet, when on the range together, I am always able to hit far more consistently than is he, albeit slightly slower. He brushes aside his many careless misses as a ‘necessary component’ of a real fight. Just as importantly, I have managed to maintain my awareness to the point of spotting threats faster than he can, even when he is supposed to be watching my back. This, despite the fact that I am able to afford far fewer toys.
My training with DTI and Awerbuck accented (1) certainty of hits and (2) follow-through. If anything, your training emphasized that personal victory is predicated on mastery of the basics, and the ability to perform them subconsciously. Many have an adolescent romance with cinematic gunfights and tactics. The cold fact remains that most deadly encounters are quick, extremely violent, and devoid of drama. To ignore a periodic review of basics, under the watchful eye of a professional, is foolish, and will preclude one from ever obtaining the ethereal, high-speed/low-drag skills that he may naively seek.
The haunting memory of missed Rotators is what drives me to be cautious and deliberate with all my shots. I never properly thanked you for that lesson. It’s profound value has now become clear.”
Comment: My friend, I’m sure, could have obtained similar training from any of my esteemed colleagues. I am honored to have influenced him.
30 Aug 06
Vicki, along with two colleagues, spent last week with resident instructors at the USMC facility at Parris Island, SC. I was not there. Here are her comments:
“I spent last week observing and training Marine instructors, enlisted and officers, at the Recruit Depot at Parris Island, SC. Our classes concentrated on the subject of teaching women to shoot, in this case, the M-16 Rifle.
Everyone there is absolutely dedicated to doing everything possible to teach the young women in their charge to become competent and confident. That is the reason we were asked to come on board. While there, we were able to share with them information about the way women listen and process information, in contrast to the way men listen and process the same information.
Perhaps the most astounding aspect of the week’s training was when we realized that there are so many topnotch, young women willing to step up and defend our country. We hear precious little about them, but we all should be proud.”
Comment: It has been our honor to train Marines on a number of occasions over the past two years, in CA, AZ, and now SC. Student rank has ranged from PFC to three-star general! Our students have been characterized by extreme enthusiasm and capricious willingness to adopt new methods, even alter their entire training philosophy. We’ve shown them, for example, that:
(1) Hot ranges are superior, in every way, to cold ranges, because Marines need to spend lots of time handling, carrying, and living with loaded guns. Spending time with unloaded guns is of little value.
(2) “Safety” should be defined as “reasonable measures and procedures taken in order to manage risk,” instead of the more common, “a maniacal preoccupation with the categorical eradication of all risk, to the point where training goals are swept aside and eventually forgotten entirely,” and
(3) We’re here because our students are here, not the other way around. We exist to serve them.
It is our intent to continue to influence the System every chance we get!
31 Aug 06
Notes from Iraq, from a friend there:
“NDs here continue to be more than just an occasional nuisance. The predictable command response is an endless plethora of high-level directives, declaring that all guns need to be loaded less and unloaded more, in soldiers’ hands less, locked up more,. Whenever an ND occurs, several dozen more ‘clearing barrels’ suddenly appear! The result is that soldiers here, in the zone of supposedly active fighting, have fewer and fewer opportunities to handle and carry live ammunition and loaded guns.
The real solution is to teach our soldiers to:
(1) Keep fingers in register and out of trigger guards, except when intentionally shooting, and
(2) Keep muzzles down.”
Comment: We’re going in the wrong direction! UNARMED SOLDIERS MAKE TEMPTING TARGETS. Didn’t we learn that painful lesson in Lebanon in the 1980s?
Additional clearing barrels will not solve this dilemma. We need to be training professional gunmen who are accustomed to being armed, all the time. We won’t win this war, or any war, with the fearful and timid, smothered in clearing barrels!