1 Feb 02
“The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools.”
4 Feb 02
I visited a friend this afternoon who owns a large, retail gun store and indoor range in the Midwest.
The hottest sellers are still Glocks-in all configurations. However, the G23 is the most popular by far, followed by the G19. They are both typically in and out the same day. The G32 is starting to pick up, particularly in Texas and neighboring states, as the Texas State Police are popularizing the 357SIG cartridge.
SIG pistols don’t do nearly as well as Glocks, but they do move, particularly the P239 in 40S&W.
The Kel-Tec 32ACP is selling well. It’s small, wafer thin, and inexpensive. Too small for my hand. Most buyers use it as little more than a good luck charm, but it is easy to carry in a pocket. Buyers don’t usually concern themselves with holsters.
Plastic-framed Kahr pistols (the “P” series) sell briskly. All-steel Kahr pistols do not.
Nothing made by Beretta sells.
Kimber’s 1911-style pistols are consistently good sellers. Kimber has the best marketing program in the business, and it pays off handsomely. The perennial 1911 crowd are active pistol buyers, and Kimber has that market cornered.
The Taurus Millennium pistol is 40S&W enjoys modest sales. It’s a small pistol that is easy to carry and nicely finished, and the price makes people buy.
S&W lightweight, hammerless, J-frame revolvers sell well. They are unbelievably light and easy to carry. Again, none of them see heavy use. Few see any use at all, but they are the only thing made by S&W that is selling. Sales of all S&W autoloading pistols is flat.
Sales of Ruger pistols is also flat. The Ruger Mini-14 rifle, on the other hand, does modestly well and has, year after year.
Colt and Bushmaster AR-15s usually sell within a day or two of arriving at the store. Most dealers don’t bother with the other brands.
DSA FALs also move out the door briskly. Everyone who owns one loves it, although the 223 market is still bigger than the 308 market.
Big retailers are having a good year, but, as with selling cars, aggressive promotion is the key to success. As my friend puts it, “unseen plus untold equals unsold.”
5 Feb 02
This is from a colleague in Atlanta, GA:
“I recently discovered that I’ve had a broken left thumb for several weeks (long story), and now I suddenly find myself confined to a massive cast that has taken my left hand and forearm completely out of play. I’ll have it for a month or two.
I’m extremely pleased that in our classes I learned how to perform both administrative and tactical gun-handling functions one-handed! At the time I learned all this, it seemed idiosyncratic, and I, like many other students, was wondering if this was something anyone ever had to use.
Yet another reminder that one-handed skills are not just for ‘advanced’ shooters, and should never be neglected. This experience of mine suggests that, even in basic defensive handgun classes, it is useful to provide a primer on one-handed stoppage reductions, reloads, and one-handed shooting. As I discovered, we’re all just one injury away from needing these skills.”
Lesson: When it’s least expected, you’re elected! We should not be spending all our training time practicing only those things that we’re already good at. Critical skills, such as one-handed shooting and gun handling, that are, by their nature awkward and clumsy, are important too and need to be learned and drilled regularly.
6 Feb 02
News from the just-completed SHOT Show in Las Vegas from a friend who was there:
“The Colt rep indicated that Colt has never shipped any AR-15 with a SAAMI chamber, even in their Match/Target versions. All Colt barrels are mil-spec, he insisted, and they have never made ‘special’ barrels for the civilian market. What he didn’t mention is that SAAMI barrels are commonly retrofitted to Colt AR-15s by autonomous gunsmiths, and they are difficult to distinguish externally from the original.
S&W revolvers now all have a built-in locking mechanism. The left sideplate has a small hole that accepts a hollow key. The key rotates 180 degrees to lock or unlock the weapon. In models with exposed hammers, this also causes a metal tab to extend out next to the hammer revealing the status of the locking device. Hammerless models have no such external indicator. Because of the small size of the key and keyhole, unlocking a S&W resolver is a tedious task, requiring exactitude and patience. It is indeed a fine, motor skill. One can forget doing it in the dark or under stress.
Glock pistols, now also incorporate a key lock. Happily, it is optional, at least for now. A key lock device is built into the hollow space behind the magazine well. Unlike S&W, Glock has installed lock cylinders which require individual keys, each being unique to a particular pistol. If one purchases more than one ‘lockable’ Glock, he will have to figure out a way to keep the keys straight. As with S&W revolvers, there is a tactile ‘status indicator.’ Sadly, it would be another incredible feat of fine motor coordination to unlock a Glock quickly or in the dark, even assuming one could find the right key! In addition, these locks cannot be serviced in the field by Glock armorers. All repairs, lost keys, etc require that the gun to be sent back to the factory.
As a locksmith, I can assure you that, if your Glock or S&W revolver falls into mud, sand, or even lint, and the keyhole becomes clogged, the pistol will be useless (if locked) until the debris can be cleaned out.
Finally, in order to satisfy the new Massachusetts requirement that mandates a ‘loaded chamber indicator’ on all firearms, Glock now has a ‘Massachusetts extractor’ which is functionally identical to a standard one, but has a knob on the external surface which becomes prominent when a round is chambered.”
More to come.
6 Feb 02
The willfully ignorant reporting the news:
This is from Reuters today:
“US policewoman accidentally shoots boy at school
PHILADELPHIA, Feb 6, An off-duty Philadelphia police officer attending a career day at her son’s school on Wednesday fired an accidental round from her semiautomatic weapon and it grazed a ten-year-old boy’s head, police said.
‘What happened is that during a demonstration for her son’s class, a child asked to see her weapon. She pulled it from her holster and it discharged, grazing the child.’
He identified the firearm as a Glock 9mm semiautomatic, which many police departments have abandoned because of problems with the safety catch.”
What rubbish! What police departments have “abandoned” the Glock? The fact is, Glock can’t produce pistols fast enough to fill police orders. What “safety catch” are these ignoramuses talking about?
As we have come to expect, no relevant details were reported, but we all know that this poorly trained and incompetent police officer had her finger wrapped around the trigger as she produced the pistol and then carelessly allowed it to point in an unsafe direction. Leftist, agenda-driven reporters spontaneously blame the pistol and then invent stories about it to justify their sloppy and casual attitude toward the truth.
These people are a disgrace to their profession.
7 Feb 02
Potential problems with the new locking system on Glock pistols:
“It is doubtful that common solvents or lubricants will have much effect on the S&W lock design, but most pin/tumbler locks, as used in the Glock system, will NOT work properly if bathed in a solvent. Solvent will remove lubricity from internal, moving parts, causing the lock to seize. Similarly, pin/tumbler locks should not be exposed to petroleum based lubricants (which are present in nearly all traditional gun oils) because they leave a gummy residue that can, again, cause the lock to seize.”
If the lock is thus frozen in the locked position, the pistol will be rendered sterile until it can be returned to the factory. This is the prime concern with regard to all the “internal” gun locks now being rushed into production by gunmakers.
8 Feb 02
On “safe” guns, from a friend in South Africa:
“You Americans have come up with some interesting ‘solutions’ to guns that actually shoot. We too are in the process of making guns so ‘safe’ that they are little more than ornaments, although our ‘solutions’ are not nearly so high-tech as yours.
When I am on active duty, they send us out on patrol in the townships. They insist spare magazines be duck-taped closed. In addition, a cable lock is installed on all rifles! The unit commander (me) carries the keys. The feeble-minded bureaucrats who insist on this, needless to say, don’t care to join us on patrol. Like politicians everywhere, they’re only too happy to risk our lives, but never their own.
I, of course, unlock all my troop’s guns and de-tape the spare magazines the moment we are out of sight. My troopers are always fully loaded and ready for anything. Warriors should always improvise!”
Lesson: As fast as grasseaters invent ways to make our weapons useless (and us defenseless), we must find ways to work around their ‘solutions.’ We need to stay always ahead of them in our thinking.
9 Feb 02
More on the SHOT Show:
“Kahr was showing their new MK9-sized polymer pistol. It will be called the PM9. I don’t think one can make a 9mm pistol any smaller or lighter! They also were showing a prototype called a T9. It is a departure from their normal line. It is a full-sized handgun with a four-inch barrel, and a longer grip frame than the K9. Magazine capacity is stretched to eight rounds, and it is fitted with hardwood grips, and an MMC rear sight. It is self-decocking like all Kahrs. This pistol is basically a single-column Glock 19. It is designed for those who like the G19, but find the grip too fat and the trigger too difficult to reach. The Kahr folks indicated they would not be making any pistol chambered for 357SIG, but may be making one in 45ACP.
I had my first opportunity to handle the HK USP with the new LEM trigger. I have only one question concerning this new trigger action. Why do they insist on continuing production of all the other variants? The LEM is obviously the best they have ever offered.
Also on display was the Armalite AR180B. It is very much like the original AR180, but it will now accept standard AR-15 magazines, and it uses the standard AR-15 fire control group. For the first time, magazines and repair parts will be readily available. The operating handle is on the right side, and it features a real, two-way bolt control. The lower receiver is polymer. This rifle is light and handy, much like the Carbon-15.
The world is now overrun by all manner of dubious locks built right into firearms. Happily, they all share a single, wonderful feature. They can be ignored! Upon purchasing a firearm, I recommend that one carefully examine the locking device to ensure it is in the ‘fire’ mode. Thus satisfied that the new acquisition is indeed enabled, one should open the back door of his house and throw that stupid key as far as humanly possible. It is important to not allow one of these lawyer-engendered nuisances to become a death trap.”
11 Feb 02
Latest from the NJSP:
“A mere fifteen years late, we now have SIG 228s in our system. So far, they have functioned flawlessly. We’re all delighted with them. H&K P-7s are all gone. S&W P99s are gone too. The State is tied up in court with S&W, but we’ll never see them again, which is just fine with us.
Our infamous colonel (Dunbar) has finally resigned- actually he was canned, over the above issue and a bunch of others. He pleaded with the governor to let him stay on for a few more months. The governor told him to clean out his desk and hit the road! We all cheered. We were fervently hoping we might, for a refreshing change, get a genuinely competent colonel as his replacement. Those hopes were dashed when the governor announced that Dunbar’s successor would be the often-arrested, occasionally-convicted, currently-under-indictment chief of the Newark, NJ PD. Prior to making the announcement, our governor had to have his gag reflex surgically removed.
In the interim, we poor, forgotten slobs who actually do police work have had to contend with several back-to-back classes of new troopers recently regurgitated from our ‘academy.’ This was, of course, necessitated because so many experienced troopers have recently, in disgust, resigned. It takes months of FTO work to get these kids out of ‘good, little Nazi’ mode (taught at the academy) and turn them into functional, human beings.
Finally, we have in all our cruisers mobile cameras and microphones, onboard computers and keyboards, stealth packages, back seat cages, and onboard printers. The cars are so loaded up with electronic junk, that there is now no longer room for, you guessed it, our thirty-year-old Remington 870 shotguns! They have now been relegated to our leaky trunks and are kept there inside of cardboard boxes. All of which means that they now have no chance of ever being used, even assuming they are not rusted shut. On that very subject, since going into the trunks, our staff of armorers have been unable to keep ahead of the rust, and summer hasn’t even arrived.
The LAPD guys think their department is in meltdown!”
13 Feb 02
The Gallipoli Invasion, Turkey, March 1915-Jan 1916
By 1915, what would eventually be called World War I had already dragged on far longer than anyone expected. Archduke Francis Ferdinand had been assassinated in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. Now, nearly a year later, the Germans had scored a string of impressive victories, but a decisive victory continued to elude them, and would forever. Casualties, particularly among the French, had gone off the scale. Commanders, struggling to update their tactics, saw their terrified men killed and maimed by the thousands, not, as in past wars, by enemy soldiers, but by machinery. There had been wars in Europe before, but not since Napoleon had Europe seen itself so completely conflagrated. This War, that had been welcomed by many as a “great patriotic adventure,” had deteriorated into a stagnant, self-perpetuating, pitiless massacre that showed no signs of ending.
Winston Churchill would later say of the period, “… events passed largely outside the scope of conscious thought. Governments and individuals conformed to the rhythm of tragedy, swaying and staggering forward in helpless violence, slaughtering and squandering on ever-increasing scales, until injuries were wrought to the very structure of human society which a century will not efface and which may well prove fatal to the present civilization.”
All sides were mesmerized by the stagnated trenches of the Western Front in Europe. They repeatedly persuaded themselves that, with just “one more push,” the enemy’s line could be broken, a breakthrough could be established, and they could then rush to the enemy’s rear. But, months came and went, and no breakthrough happened, despite innumerable attempts. Infantry charges that had worked in previous wars was not working now, not against machine guns and rapid-fire rifles and artillery.
In this atmosphere, politicians were under increasing pressure to “end the war” any way it could be done. To that end, Winston Churchill and Lord Kitchener, Britain’s Secretary of War, suggested opening a second front to distract the Germans from the European campaign. As always, Churchill was persuasive, and it was thus decided to launch an amphibious invasion of Turkey’s tiny, twenty-by-five-mile Gallipoli Peninsula and then drive north and capture the Dardanelles Straight, the only water access to the Black Sea. This would separate Turkey (who had allied itself with Germany and Austria in 1914, sealing off the Black Sea and Russian ports therein) from the Central Powers and open Russia’s Black Sea ports once again, so that Russia could be provided with desperately needed military supplies and then pressure the Germans on the eastern side. The Turkish army was casually dismissed as third rate and hopelessly outdated. They could never stand up to a modern fighting force. It all looked good on paper.
British Admirals opposed the invasion plan from the beginning, the first part of which would involve British war ships blasting their way up the Dardanelles Straight toward Istanbul and the Black Sea. The straight was narrow and treacherous and had been heavily mined by the Turks. Turkish shore batteries also presented a significant threat. Not wanting to risk their best and newest ships, the admirals assigned a number of old ships, manned mostly be reserve crews. Less than half the number of ships deemed minimally necessary actually took part.
On Thursday, 18 March 1915 the naval operation began. The Turks were not as impressed with the British Fleet as everyone thought they would be. Shore batteries were shelled, but they gave as well as they received. Shocked, the British fleet withdrew. Minesweepers (actually fishing trawlers, manned by civilians) were then sent in but were quickly chased back out. The British fleet then reentered the straights, only to lose one ship outright and have several others severely damaged by mines. They limped back out again. That was the end of that! British naval invincibility had received a severe setback, and the admirals were determined that it not get any worse. The naval portion of the invasion was unilaterally called off. The land assault should have been called off too, but the commander, General Birdwood, was sure he could secure the peninsula within a matter of days and destroy the Turkish shore batteries from the land side, making it possible for the naval invasion to be revived. As with his naval counterpart, Birdwood had at his disposal fewer than half the troops considered minimally necessary. Birdwood was superseded by General Ian Hamilton at the last minute. Hamilton, long retired, was an old-time friend of Kitchener’s. Hamilton never went ashore. He attempted to run the whole show from one of his ships.
British Invasion forces assembled in Egypt. Many Australian and New Zealand units were included. Added while in Egypt was the “Assyrian Jewish Refugee Mule Corps,” the first all-Jewish unit to be involved in active combat since the Jerusalem campaign in 70AD. Colonial troops were always used in England’s marginal military operations, preserving the best native British units for the main show, back in Europe. Security was poor. The locals immediately learned the target of the invasion would be Gallipoli and passed the information on to the Turks. Mustapha Kemal, the brilliant and inspiring Turkish commander, lost no time preparing Gallipoli for the arrival of the British. The ill-fated amphibious assault began early Sunday morning, 25 April 1915.
Two main landing areas were selected, the Cape in the South (Cape Helles) and ANZAC (for Australia/New Zealand Army Corps) Bay thirteen miles up the coast. A later landing was made a Sulva Bay, further north. All involved long beaches met abruptly by steep bluffs. The landing operation quickly deteriorated into a disorganized shambles. Naval gunfire preparation was random and skimpy. British officers used outdated tourist maps they had picked up in Egypt. They proved all but useless. Landing craft were little more than slow-moving, towed barges. German-equipped Turkish gunners were waiting and hit the British the moment they arrived on shore. Some beaches were stormed unopposed, but most bogged down immediately. Australians at ANZAC Bay got ashore and drove inland, but a determined Turkish counterattack drove them back to the beach.
British forces secured the Cape but made little progress up the peninsula. The ANZAC Bay contingent never got off the beach. No British units ever got close to the shore batteries on the Straight. Months passed, punctuated by poorly coordinated and disastrously fruitless offensives. A massive Turkish counterattack on 19 May was blunted with heavy Turkish casualties. On the offensive, the Turks fared no better than the British. By August, the situation had deteriorated into stagnant, trench warfare, reminiscent of Europe. On 25 May, the British ship Triumph was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine. That was the last straw for the British fleet. It immediately departed for Greece, leaving the landing force with no naval support.
In October, Hamilton was finally fired and replaced by General Sir Charles Monro. After arriving at Gallipoli and seeing for himself the hash Hamilton had made of things and knowing no additional resources would be forthcoming, Monro recommended a complete, unilateral withdrawal. Personally visiting the scene shortly thereafter, Lord Kitchener, reluctantly concurred. The withdrawal started in December and was completed early the next month. By 9 Jan 1916, the Turks woke up to find themselves alone on the peninsula, the British having all departed on ships in the night. The withdrawal was actually the only successful part of the entire operation! Well planned and seamlessly executed, it went so smoothly that astonished Turks never knew what was going on until they inadvertently discovered that British positions were all unoccupied.
With an adequate commitment, the invasion could have been successful. Deficiently supplied, the Turks were pushed to the breaking point and could have not held out much longer, but the British gave in first. The Turks to this day consider their victory over the British on that tiny peninsula to be a centerpiece of their national history.
The invasion was thus an unqualified military failure and a staggering disaster, arguably the most catastrophic of the War. Ten thousand dead British, Australian, and Dutch soldiers (twenty times that many wounded), and nothing had been accomplished. It would stand as Britain’s worst military fiasco of the Twentieth Century until being eclipsed by the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in January of 1942. It nearly ended Winston Churchill’s young political career. It would later be said, “Nowhere during the entire War was such conspicuous gallantly so foolishly and uselessly squandered as it was at Gallipoli.” Turkish losses can only be estimated, but probably exceeded 200,000.
A number of British soldiers were taken prisoner by the Turks during the course of the Gallipoli Campaign. None survived captivity. To a man, they were summarily shot shortly after being captured, most in the back of the head. The bodies were not buried but were left to rot where they fell. After the War, a British commission was briefly allowed to survey Gallipoli in an effort to identify remains. A clumsy attempt at a cover up on the part of the Turks fell apart, and many skulls of British soldiers were found with holes in the back and with uniforms still intact. Embarrassed, the Turks abruptly ended the probe and, on a flimsy ruse, hastily escorted commission members off the peninsula. The probe was never resumed. In the following decades, the resultant sour relations between Britain (as well as Australia) and Turkey would result in Turkey being excluded from the European Union. Germans were forgiven. Turks were not.
As with all its military blunders, the British quickly developed amnesia with regard to Gallipoli. As it turns out, they forgot too soon and too fast, because they would repeat the catastrophe, chapter and verse, with their ill-fated invasion of Dieppe, France in August of 1942, a mere twenty-seven years later.
The Gallipoli Invasion was the first significant military activity to take place on the small peninsula since Greek General Miltiades fought Darius’ Persian forces there in 500BC. None has taken place since.
Kemal went on to become Turkey’s first president, changing his name to Ataturk. Birdwood and Monro went on to fight other battles. Hamilton went back into the retirement he never should have left.
Curiously, the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign so discredited the tactic of amphibious invasion that such assaults were thereafter all considered doomed to failure. It would take the US Marines, during WW II’s Pacific Campaign, to successfully resurrect the concept and place it back into the mainstream of modern tactics.
What would eventually end World War I was Germany’s fascination with her submarine fleet. America had been neutral, but, after several American ships were sunk by German submarines (most notably the Lusitania on 7 May 1915), then President Wilson decided to send American troops to Europe. After being so badly worn down by the British and French, the Germans had no capacity to resist dozens of fresh American divisions, which began arriving in Europe in June of 1917. By this time, the British had also introduced the tank, which brought mobility back to trench warfare. It was all too much for the Germans. Backed into a corner, they sued for peace. The Great War ended officially on 11 Nov 1918 , but not for long. The resulting poorly-thought-out armistice insured that exactly twenty-one years later, the Second World War would begin, involving all the same players!
Lessons: Military “side-shows” are never allocated the resources necessary for success. They nearly always fail. Generals and admirals will never risk significant resources, or their personal reputations, on a military afterthought. Second-string commanders are always assigned, along with, in the case of the British, colonial troops, Australians at Gallipoli and Canadians at Dieppe.
Disasters, as well as victories, need to stay in our collective memory. Repeating victory is always expected. Repeating disaster is always unforgivable.
We westerners tend to be overly-impressed with ourselves. We look upon all other cultures as being made up mostly of unsophisticated hicks. When we allow ourselves to think that way, we set ourselves up for catastrophe!
13 Feb 02
This is from a LEO friend in Alaska on the subject of shotguns rusting in car trunks:
“We discovered ‘Corrosion X’ It is an aviation product, for rust prevention and removal. You’ll find it at an aviation supply house. Once we started wiping down the shotguns with Corrosion X, they just stopped rusting. Hasn’t been a problem since”
20 Feb 02
I received a call this afternoon from a friend with a large, midsouth police department. Tom Givens and I did a training program with this department’s drug enforcement unit just one month ago. Great timing, as it turns out!
Last night, this department experienced its most significant shooting incident in several years. The officers involved were all Tom’s and my students. Officers were conducting a buy/bust at a motel when a gang of five, armed robbery suspects attempted to hold them up. Two confronted our officers directly. One waited outside, and two more were in a getaway car parked nearby.
The first of the suspects, upon casually producing a pistol and pointing it in the direction of our officers, was immediately shot several times in the upper torso. So sudden and aggressive was our officers’ response, the suspect never got a shot off and was down within seconds. He was DRT. Officers used a wonderful close-quarters technique, taught to them by Tom. Seeing the unhappy lot of his colleague, the second suspect bolted and ran out of the building. He was arrested a short time later.
One of the occupants of the getaway car was also arrested, as was the fourth suspect who was waiting outside. Both surrendered meekly and were not injured.
The fifth suspect, driving the getaway car, got out, hijacked another car, and then started to drive away. He had one hand on the steering wheel. In the other he had a pistol, which he stuck out the window and started shooting at officers. Our officers, on foot, drew and fired at the moving suspect, striking him several times. He was arrested at a nearby hospital shortly thereafter. His wounds were debilitating, but he is expected to survive.
In all, we had one suspect DRT, one critically wounded, and three more arrested without incident. None of our officers were injured.
Officers reported that their training on rotating, steel targets, made by Steve Camp at Bitterbilt, was extremely helpful when they engaged moving targets. Being able to track the target and allow the shot to break as the gun continues to move is an important skill which surely came in handy. Also critical was that fact that officers were trained to move aggressively during the draw and during reloading. In fact, so effective were their lateral movements, that suspects became confused and were unable to effectually respond.
Our officers where shooting S&W 4056s with 180gr HP rounds. I don’t know the brand.
Good show guys!
26 Feb 02
Of SA, Armalite, and RSA from a friend who just visited all three:
“SA is so busy with their line of 1911s, M1As, and (new this year) M1 Garands, that they are, once again, hopelessly behind in filling orders. I, being from a manufacturing background, don’t understand how you stay continually behind in fulfilling your current orders and yet continue to solicit new orders. And, they wonder why people become angry with them!
SA M1 Garands have a newly manufactured receiver, new walnut wood, and new Wilson barrel. All of the other parts are refinished US/GI parts. They confidently indicated to me that they will make 10,000 rifles this year. I suspect the truth is that they will actually deliver a small fraction of that number.
Rock River Arms is located in Cleveland, IL. They are assembling AR-15s (civilian and restricted). They use a NATO chamber unless specifically requested not to. Their flash suppressor is excellent. Rock River is rapidly gaining favor in the eyes of many at the expense of Armalite, due to Armalite’s inconsistent quality control.”
In my opinion, no military, autoloading rifle should be manufactured with a SAAMI chamber. It’s an invitation to injury. They should know better!