2 Feb 08
2008 SHOT Show, Las Vegas, NV, First day:
The 2008 SHOT Show is more spread out than last year. Displays are at the Convention Center, but also at two, huge tents nearby. We spent all day walking around, greeting old friends, and seeing what is new.
Things of interest:
The SIG P250 pistol is more ingenious than I had first concluded. The entire firing mechanism/chassis lifts out of the frame. Frames can be interchanged, as can slides and barrels. The firing chassis is identical for all! The P250 is self-decocking, with a trigger similar to the DAK, but with a shorter reset. It has double-drop capability (as does the DAK.) Wonderfully versatile pistol!
Kel-Tec’s 223 Rifle now comes in several versions. Their bullpup 308 rifle was also on display, as was their new PLR-22, a 22LR rifle. Kel-Tec is expanding their line!
Speaking of which, Ruger is now marketing their new, seven-shot, LCP, which is a near-perfect copy of the Kel-Tec 380! Ruger’s version is nicely rounded off on all edges and corners. Ruger has obviously recognized the expanding market for small, flat, well-made, concealment pistols.
North American Arms is making their own copy of Kel-Tec’s 32ACP pistol. Kel-Tec suddenly has many admirers!
Friends at Cor-Bon tell me the DPX line is their fastest-growing. However, they still produce more 115gr 9mm conventional HP ammunition than any other, single item. Next is volume is 380Auto!
Glock currently produces 1,100 pistols every day, and, every one is sold before it is made. Amazing success story! Only thing new is their G30SF, with a slightly reduced grip size. No rifle yet!
Aimpoint featured a wonderful rifle setup, where a sniper scope is fitted normally, but an Aimpoint Micro is mounted ahead and twenty degrees to the right. The rifleman can then rotate the rifle slightly counter-clockwise in order to access the 1X Aimpoint for close work, but then mount the same rifle normally and use the high-powered scope for sniper duties. One rifle that serves two roles!
EOTech featured their new EOLay, which is a laser, incorporated into the standard EOTech 1X optic. I’m still not sure how I would use this set-up.
Advanced Training Systems displayed their “Dummy Dumper” Target system. It is a fully-articulated and dress-able mannequin, which is also hit-sensitive. When presented and subsequently struck the appropriate number of times, it realistically crumples and falls. Amazingly persuasive!
My friends at Kahr tell me their PM9 (smallest 9mm pistol) sells the best of all their pistol line. They can’t keep them in stock. Again, the concealment market is active! The other gun they can’t produce fast enough is the M1 Carbine, now available with a folding stock.
Robbie Baarkman at ROBAR is converting Glocks to an all-steel (frame and slide) pistol, complete with his famous NP3 coating.
LaserShot had an elaborate display featuring their sophisticated video simulator. Of most interest was a simulation of a laterally-moving, armed person at a range of twenty-five meters. Targets moved straight across the screen at a fast walk. Time after time, the student gets to test and evaluate his ability to reliably strike laterally-moving targets. This is the first time I’ve ever seen this challenging subject specifically addressed with a video trainer. I found it instructive!
S&W’s M&P line of pistols is now complete. It includes all calibers, in both full-sized and compact versions. The M&P’s reputation for reliability and its variable grip geometry have made it extremely popular among police. Some models (in 45ACP) have a two-position, ambidextrous, manual safety lever, which is, at best, a superfluous redundancy, and, as worst, a functional issue, as there is a lever on both sides of the pistol, and the one that invariably faces to the outside as the gun is carried can easily get inadvertently pushed out of position. Some also come with a magazine-safety (as does Ruger’s SR9), which I consider a death-trap on any serious pistol. Fortunately, the M&P can be ordered without it, and it is easily removed on the Ruger.
There is much more we haven’t gotten to yet. More tomorrow!
3 Feb 08
2008 SHOT Show, Las Vegas, NV, Second Day:
This is, of course, Super-Bowl Sunday, so the Show started clearing our about a hour before the
Beretta is offering their PX4 Storm Pistol with both the “C” model, (“Constant-Action Trigger,” Beretta’s version of the DAK) and the “D” model, with its longer trigger and longer reset. I can’t imagine anyone wanting a “D” model when the “C” is available, but Beretta continues to make both. However, one useful feature of the “D” model is that the hammer can be “double-dropped” on a dud round. The “C” model’s hammer cannot. None-the-less, my personal preference is the “C” model, and that is what I carry.
On Beretta’s Compact version of the PX4, a nice, small pistol, the magazine floor-plate is hinged to provide a pinky-finger-shelf for even the biggest hands. Extremely clever!
Gunvault, a company famous for quick-access lock-boxes, intended to be kept in night-stands, now makes full-size gun-safes, with the same raised, finger template! They are designed for quick access. However, one model features an electronic fingerprint reader, so it is not only extremely secure, but also continues to provide quick access. When the finger-print reader proves reliable, this may be the start of a trend!
Blackhawk is marketing 511-style trousers and shirts with built-in tourniquets! The tourniquet is concealed, but already around your arms and leg, in two separate places. All you need do is tighten it when necessary. These garments may prove useful for people wearing lots of gear. You don’t have to take any gear off in order to apply a tourniquet!
Blackhawk’s famous “Galdius” flashlight is being superceded by the “Gladius Maximis.” Looks and works the same, but puts our nearly twice the light!
ASP is marketing “air-weight” handcuffs. They are extremely light and handy, making it possible for nearly any officer, no matter what his capacity, to always have a set of cuffs on him.
ASP’s famous expandable baton now features the “lever-lock.” It extends centrifugally, as before, but elegantly collapses with a simple twist of the extended segments. An end-cap with ceramic, glass-breaking spikes is also available, making it possible to break car-glass with a modest and low-profile strike. One may even combine an extendable baton with a high-output, LED flashlight. Makes a versatile tool that performs three separate tasks!
Surefire is finally manufacturing Matt Graham’s famous “Combat Ring.” It is a rubber ring and finger ring that fits onto the end of most Surefire flashlights and facilitates the “Graham Method” of holding both pistol and flashlight together. With distinct advantages over both the Harries and Goode flashlight techniques, I’ll be evaluating the Graham Method over the next few months. The whole kit retails for under ten dollars!
Among Cold Steel’s new products this year is the “Kudo” folding knife. It is Lynn Thompson’s interpretation of the low-tech folders traditionally made in South Africa, and it is his expression of admiration for the determined ingenuity of non-technical people. Inexpensive and rugged, the Kudo is designed as a utility knife that anyone can own.
Filson, famous for rugged outerwear, is introducing, finally, their line of clothing intended for women. Lots of interest!
Steel M-16 magazines are appealing to many, because of their strength advantage over aluminum. C-Products is a popular manufacturer, as I’ve mentioned before. Another is the “Fusil,” marketed by Elite Arms. My copies of Fusils run very well indeed.
Speaking of M-16 Magazines, Magpul’s plastic model runs fine too. I have one copy, and it runs well in all my rifles. An excellent feature of Magpul’s magazine is that each comes with a locking “cap” that is designed to keep upward cartridge pressure off the magazine lips. It does that, but it also seals a fully-charged magazine, protecting ammunition from the elements. It is also extremely handy for air travel, as TSA insists all ammunition loaded into magazines be “protected” on the feeding end. Magpul’s magazine cap satisfies TSA and gets ammunition out of sight. Excellent feature!
Magpul’s long-awaited “Masada” 223 rifle is now going to be manufactured, under license, by Bushmaster. It is called the “ACR,” Adaptive Combat Rifle, and Bushmaster is already promoting it!
First-Light has added the “Tomahawk” to their line. A short, right-angle tactical flashlight with a rubber, finger ring, it is compact and bright. I like the small size! I’ll be working with a copy.
Action Target’s “Evil Roy” portable steel pistol target is perennially popular as is their “Dueling-Tree.” Both are extremely well designed and very useful on the range. Action target knows steel!
4 Feb 08
2008 SHOT Show, Las Vegas, NV, Third Day:
More items of note:
Aluma-Grips now makes thin, aluminum grip panels for the Browning Hi-Power, as well as for the 1911 Pistol. Aluma-Grips make the pistol thin and easy to carry concealed. I love them, and I surely wish they would expand their line to include other popular pistols!
Eric Rohrbaugh, of Rohrbaugh Pistols, examined my copy of the R9 and found it to be within factory specifications and eminently serviceable, after digesting 250 rounds of +P 9mm ammunition, mostly DPX and PowerBall. Although Rohrbaugh doesn’t recommend +P ammunition for this pistol, I assured him that was ALL I ever shot in it! I am not concerned about shooting +P ammunition through my R9, not that I ever was! I consider it a very acceptable backup gun.
Tactical Design’s “Professional” duty holster is making a comeback. The trend in duty holsters has been to load them up with multiple release-levers, to the point where a quick draw becomes all but impossible. It’s the wrong direction! The molded nylon Professional holster has only one release button, and the pistol automatically re-secures itself instantly the moment it is reholstered.
My old friend, Brian Hoffner, is making the ingenious “Tac-Rail” system, where a tactical package (rifle magazines, shotgun ammunition, IBDs, smoke grenades, et al) can be instantly attached to a patrolman’s duty belt, and detached just as fast. Excellent way to have emergency gear handy!
Fred Choate, of Choate Industries, now has magazine extensions for nearly every shotgun made. Also on display were folding/collapsible stocks for many rifles and shotguns. Everything Fred makes is top-drawer! His shotgun magazine extensions are among the few I would ever trust.
The Taurus 24/7, compact Version, makes a nice package! The trigger has a long, light take-up and a shallow, distinctive reset. It is basically a Glock with a two-position, manual safety, but ergonomics are wonderful.
Mossburg is now offering a clever, segmented stock on plastic-furnitured 12ga and 20ga pump shotguns. Segments can be added and removed in order to instantly alter the stock’s length. Excellent way to correctly fit small-statured shooters!
John Ring, of Ring’s Simulators, maker of the wonderful “Blue Guns” that we use all the time in Retention and Disarm training, is now offering a series of realistic-looking weapon props for force-on-force scenarios. He had on display several large pipe wrenches, crow bars, and hammers (made of rubber) that were so realistic looking I was astonished! Great stuff.
Dave Skinner, at STI, has a new, small, thin, 9mm, 1911 pistol, called the “Rogue.” It is designed to compete directly with SA’s excellent EMP. Again, the concealment market in America is hot!
At the DSA booth, on prominent display were the “Spartan” series of FAL’s and AR-15s. Inspired by friend and colleague, John Krupa, Spartan rifles make liberal use of parts treated with Robbie Baarkman’s incomparable NP3 coating. Light, short, and extremely reliable, even by DSA standards, these are excellent, fighting weapons. I love mine!
The AXR, by Tactical Product Design, is an American-made AUG that takes AR-15 magazines. We all liked it. Very well put together. AUG-O-Philes now have a place to go!
Hi-Viz is now making a light-tube, AR-15 front sight. Light-gathering is exceptional, and it provides a front sight one can really see clearly, even through the small, rear peep.
A friend at Springfield Armory asked me if I thought poorly of their XD pistol. I asked whatever gave her that idea! As I’ve said on numerous occasions, we see many XDs in Classes, and they run fine. They have a few sharp edges that need to be rounded, and the grip safety, when not depressed completely, prevents the slide from moving all the way back. Those are the pistol’s only two real weak points, and the former is easily corrected. The latter can be address in training. SA is a fine, American, gun company, and, like all America gun companies, I want to see them widely successful! Next time you see me, I may be carrying an XD!
Last day tomorrow!
5 Feb 08
2008 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, NV, Last Day:
The 2008 SHOT Show is now officially over. It is a big trade show, and I didn’t get to see some things I intended to, but the great strength of our industry was on display, and I suspect the rest of 2008, an election year, will see brisk trading indeed:
Some additional notes:
I took a closer look at Ruger’s LCP, 380Auto Pistol today. Unlike the Kel-Tec version, Ruger’s has a manual slide lock and a distinctively shallow trigger reset, both significant improvements. This is going to be a popular concealment gun for some and back-up gun for others. The LCP represents a marketing masterstroke by Ruger!
Ruger’s larger SR9 pistol garnered interest also, as it represents Ruger’s active competition with Glock, SIG, S&W, Beretta, and H&K. Surely useable, but the trigger’s substantial over-travel will negatively influence accuracy.
Ruger’s excellent five-shot snubby, the SP101, comes well-melted and with the hammer spur removed. Nice concealment pistol!
Charles Daly is, along with everyone else it seems, now marketing an AR-15, as well as both single and double-column 1911 pistols. They look and feel nice to me!
The “Shadow Shield” is an ingenious barricade that is a large, continuous mirror on the front side (except for a small observation hole)! When tilted slightly downward, the mirror reflects the ground in front of it back forward. The effect is that whoever is standing behind it effectively vanishes! Designed for covert observation, The Shadow Shield, like a chameleon, instantly adapts to whatever terrain it is being used on. Amazing!
LiveSight produces conventional, paper targets, featuring good guys and bad guys, printed with a 3-D pattern! When observed normally, the target looks out-of-focus, but, through 3-D glasses, the target takes on a life-like, three-dimensional appearance. The effect is eerie indeed! The three-dimensional effect is retained, even when one eye is closed. This target will add realism to training, but wearing 3-D glasses is disorienting and, after a few minutes, nauseating. Sessions will have to be short.
Glock’s “SF” (for “Short Frame”) modification, now standard on the G21 and G30, makes the trigger reach slightly shorter, contributes to a generally improved grip, and thus represents an improvement. I predict the “SF” modification will quickly become standard on all Glocks’s models. It certainly should!
The 2009 SHOT Show ill be back in Orlando, FL.
8 Feb 08
2008 has been the snowiest winter in the history of the state of WI!
By five pm Wednesday, most of Madison’s streets were unplowed, had at least a foot of snow, and were littered with abandoned cars, trucks and busses. Everything in the City abruptly stopped!
An unexpected catastrophe took place out on Highway 90/94. A nineteen-mile stretch just south of Madison became impassable and stranded over eight-hundred vehicles! All those cars and trucks, AND THEIR OCCUPANTS, were still there the next morning, twelve hours later. No one could get to them. The snow was too deep, and wind reduced visibility to zero while creating monstrous drifts. Some didn’t live through it!
Four lessons here:
(1) Don’t travel lightly! Be prepared! Have what you need to live through foreseeable unpleasantries. Warm clothing, food and water, and appropriate arms and ammunition should be in the kit of every motor vehicle. Keep your gas tank full!
(2) Pay attention! Don’t obliviously blunder into known/predictable emergencies. Smart people don’t try to drive through storms!
(3) Have a well-tuned “This-Is-Not-A-Good-Idea” internal alarm. And, when your “TINAGI” alarm goes off, pause and listen! Getting caught in a life-threatening circumstance that was easily avoidable is pretty stupid!
(4) Don’t expect someone from “the government” to rescue you! Police, fire, and all other public emergency services are, in most areas, inadequate to address even “normal” circumstances. During a wide-spread calamity, they are all, in short order, hopelessly overwhelmed! They’ll be no one to help you. You’ll be on your own!
11 Feb 08
Friend, Dave Lauek, at D&L Sports in Gillette, WY is making and installing retrofit sights for S&W J-Frame revolvers. I have a set on my 340PD. Dave personally sighted it in with DPX ammunition to be dead-nuts at seven meters, and it is!
I tested it last weekend at a Pistol Course we conducted in Los Angeles. The sights are fixed, rugged and low-profile, but they render a wonderful, conventional sight picture.
The pistol still fits perfectly in my Rusty Sherrick shoulder holster, but I can now find the front sight fast, and the pistol is more useable over a greater spectrum of ranges than before.
Recommended for snubby revolvers! Call Dave at 307 686 4008.
13 Feb 08
After-market, recoil buffers
Now and then, students bring 1911 pistols with after-market, recoil buffers, sometimes installed by a custom gunsmith, sometimes installed by the owner himself. We had such a custom 1911 in a Course in CA last weekend. The pistol was beautiful, but it gave us nothing but trouble!
Normally, with bitter experience as my guide, I remove all such recoil buffers when I inspect guns at the start of the Course. However, this particular 1911 had a full-length ejector rod, and I calculated that getting rid of the buffer would be more trouble than it was worth. I told the student to shoot the pistol as it was. A mistake, as it turns out! Failures to feed and eject were rampant. The student waxed frustrated, to say the least!
During the first break, I recanted, and the student and I conspired to remove the buffer. It was a pain in the ass getting it out, but, once we did, we were rewarded with a pistol that functioned normally! Feeding and ejection problems instantly disappeared, and the gun ran fine for the duration.
The foregoing scenario is all too common. Rubber/plastic recoil buffers, usually consisting of a “doughnut” that fits over the recoil-spring guide-rod, prevent the slide from going all the way backwards, resulting in forward movement of the slide that is weak and ineffective. In addition, buffers often make it impossible to send the slide forward by pulling it all the way to the rear and subsequently releasing it, because the slide can’t move far enough to the rear to cam down the slide-lock lever.
As if that weren’t enough, buffers, in my experience, typically fall apart and break in half, usually within two hundred rounds. The halves then fall off the recoil rod, and the slide subsequently seizes completely, rendering the pistol useless!
Recoil buffers are seen mostly on 1911 pistols, although they can be made for others. True Operators don’t want their lives dependant upon tiny, smashed, rotting, disintegrating pieces of rubber! Accordingly, after-market recoil buffers are not recommended on any serious pistol.
As Kipling put it, “With all the pain and sorrow in store, why do we always arrange for more?”
15 Feb 08
Same Circus, Different Clowns!
At a news conference today in IL, NIU officials talked interminably about the campus shooting incident yesterday and spent virtually every available second of air time repeatedly justifying themselves and the wonderful “Emergency Plan” they had in effect. This is, of course, the “Plan” that saved no lives and had no effect on the outcome! NIU is, naturally, another “Gun-Free Zone!”
As is the usual case, police arrived on the scene as fast as humanly possible. The incident was long-since over, ending when the lone perpetrator fatally shot himself, after shooting a number of unarmed and defenseless university students and faculty in a campus auditorium. Police never confronted the VCA, never fired a shot.
On network news, we were then treated to a parade of driveling “experts” who talked about the deceased perpetrator (whom, of course, none of them had ever met) and predictably cited all the usual suspects: “He played violent video games,” “He was a loner,” “His mother didn’t breast-feed him as a child,” “His underwear were too tight,” ad nauseam.
The ultimate outcome is easy to predict: Campus officials will scurry about in an effort to appear as if they’re actually accomplishing something. No one will lose their job. Nothing will change. And, a week from now, the campus will be functioning normally, as if nothing had happened. And, the next armed VCA will encounter no more difficulty than did the last one!
Nothing is so difficult to see as the obvious, particularly when it flies in the face of leftist dogma that dominates virtually all college campuses and that, apparently, can never be questioned! More cameras, more reams of “plans,” more “prayer-assemblies,” and more hand-wringing will accomplish nothing, any more than the last layer did, save providing employment for a few more, erstwhile unemployed, bureaucrats.
So long as Americans are taught, from birth, that “being a good and cooperative victim” is their ultimate civic duty, and that they must never even think of individual initiative nor (Heaven forbid!) using force to defend themselves, we’ll continue to be awash in victims, and all the “plans” in the world will avail us nothing. Helpless, defenseless sheep will never derive effective protection from well-meaning, but clueless, “shepherds,” who ultimately regard sheep as expendable anyway!
Accordingly, as Americans, we must maintain our own personal, individual state of readiness, no matter where we are. This decision is yours, and your life depends on it! Risk attaches to maintaining a reasonable state of readiness, but, as we see from recent events, it pales in comparison to being unprepared.
As this incident so poignantly illustrates, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. Be ready!
16 Feb 08
A Ray of Hope!
This note from a large retailer in the Midwest:
“I just negotiated the sale of fifty G19s to a local, private university. In light of recent events, this university’s officials have decided to covertly arm their entire security staff, as well as a number of administrators and professors. As part of the deal, we’ll also be providing concealment holsters, ammunition, accessories, and training, for these newly-armed academicians.
As one might expect, this is all being done with extreme secrecy, as it constitutes an embarrassing admission by them that everything they’ve done up until now to insure campus safety has been a painfully obvious failure, all pseudo-rationalizing, excuse-making, and self-deception notwithstanding. They have finally admitted to themselves that they’ve been going in the wrong direction!
This small group of weary and frustrated, but courageous, academicians have, at long-last, been compelled to confront the incontrovertible fact that there is only one way to effectively deal with VCAs, and that is to confront them, at the critical moment, with deadly force. There is no other viable alternative!
We’ve opened the door at least a crack!”
Comment: In our time, we have witnessed barbarous murders and mayhem in every place pandering politicians have naively assured us is “safe:” schools, federal buildings, military bases, churches, parks, restaurants, and our own homes. Naively declaring these places “Gun-Free Zones” has become a cruel joke! I applaud these academicians for their sudden, self-serving political “conversion,” but I curse them for years of arrogant, willful, leftist ignorance, when it was only other people who were getting hurt!
In UT, TX, AL, and other states, legislation is moving forward that will officially permit qualified and licensed adults, including students and staff, to go armed on campus, as they do everywhere else. Legislation is also moving forward to officially allow licensed CCW holders to go armed in parks and other public property.
Some of us, without apology and unwilling to wait on foot-dragging politicians, go armed in all those places now! We are even so bold as to believe it is our civic and moral duty.
17 Feb 08
This telling note from a university senior professor, and one of our students:
“With regard to the NIU campus shooting last week…
‘Response Plans’ by college administrators are dedicated solely to averting litigation, not keeping innocent people from being victimized. I have read through hundreds of “response plans” for dealing with armed VCAs who invade the sheep-herd, and not one involves arming the sheep! Conversely, all begin with the unchallenged assumption that police cannot arrive in time to save a single life. Therefore, the ‘plan’ continues, a massacre of innocents will invariably take place and cannot be prevented. Not surprisingly, that part of the ‘plan’ is routinely kept from public scrutiny, particularly scrutiny from parents!
THE TRULY TERRIFYING ASPECT OF THIS INSTITUTIONALIZED CHARADE IS THAT EVERYONE: CAMPUS ADMINISTRATORS, POLICE, PROFESSORS, STUDENTS, LAWYERS, POLITICIANS, AND JUDGES, APPARENTLY ACCEPT THIS MENDACIOUS ASSUMPTION AS SOMEHOW DIVINELY-REVEALED, AND THEREFORE IRREFUTABLE AND BEYOND DEBATE. Who dare suggest that consenting to the fundamental American right of armed self-defense might make a positive difference, are resentfully, venomously labeled fanatics, heretics, and are dismissed out of hand without ever being allowed to make their case. Only those proposing to debate global warming get a colder reception!
As far as the University is concerned, lambs may be slaughtered, just as long as the Institution survives lawsuits, and administrators all get to keep their cushy jobs! Students, faculty, the whole lot, are, of course, expendable. It as much as says that right in the ‘plan.’
As a professor, LEO, and War Veteran, I have, many times, confronted this fraudulent dogma head-on in our graduate school. When students and other faculty discover that I am covertly armed, they become upset that a gun is even in the same room with them. They have allowed themselves to become drunk on the Kool-Aid of Learned-Helplessness to the point of mass delusion. They are irrationally fearful of guns, even those under the direct control of police!
This is the same pathetic herd-mentality that produced sanguine lines to the showers to sedately form, on command, day-after-day, at Auschwitz! And, with few exceptions, this is what has become of the descendants of once-mighty warriors.
It makes me crazy!”
Comment: Me too!
21 Feb 08
I talked with a friend today who is directly involved with the investigation of the recent shooting episode at NIU. Actually, as he pointed out, there is not much to investigate. The Case is closed! All details subsequently discovered only serve to assist CNN in finding something to jam between male-impotence-drug ads (also the sole function of “surveillance” cameras).
As part of the investigation, my friend attended interminable meetings with members of the campus administration. Here is what he was treated to, and his responses:
“… its about ‘incident-management’ and the ‘mental-health crisis’..” (How is any of that psycho-babble going to keep YOU from being murdered, today?)
“We need to improve our ability to respond to and mitigate these events” (How much “better” do you think it is ever going to get?)
“… statistically, there is still only a small chance any one individual will be harmed” (However, when that “one individual” is YOU, all those statistics become so much BS, don’t they?)
“… what we need is strict enforcement and maximum jail time for those who commit felonies with weapons” (Don’t you idiots think we’re already doing that?).
“…I am personally against guns. Hopefully I’ll never be forced to own one for my own protection. (By the time you honestly confront your own self-deception, Bud, it will be too late. You’ll be dead, and you’ll no longer have to worry about any of this, eh?)
“… Those identified as ‘mentally ill’ (whatever that means) need to be closely monitored…” (You’re describing half the population! What are you going to do? Herd them all into gulags?)”
“A noted sociologist became visibly irritated with me and my smart-ass responses to their predictable, knee-jerk drivel. She finally said, ‘So, you’re telling me there is nothing substantive we can do to prevent something like this from happening again, tomorrow?’
I responded, ‘There is nothing you, nor any of us, can do to ‘save’ what victims there may be. There IS something that you can do to keep yourself from being murdered.’
‘… and what would that be?’
‘Get a gun!’”
Comment: I’m a simple soldier. As such, like my colleague in the foregoing exchange, I see things simply… apparently far too simply for my academically-sophisticated brethren.
However, I’m unsophisticated enough to plainly see that the omnipresent culprit with all these incidents is cowardice… personal, intellectual cowardice. I wish there were a more polite way to put it.
These people have no sense of duty to themselves, their Art, their families, nor their nation. They would rather face certain death than be compelled to candidly confront their own (professed) principles, ie: admit they’re wrong. Like my friend, I can have neither personal nor professional respect for any of them. They have no honor. They’re Victims, by Choice. They’re not just “part of the problem.” They ARE the problem!
24 Feb 08
Interesting Glock incident in Capetown, SA:
“We are busy running training courses here at the Academy. A student came to me yesterday afternoon and showed me his hand. Apparently choosing not to pay attention to our instruction with regard to correctly grasping the pistol, he had quite a serious ‘Glock-bite’ across the back of his left thumb. We tended his wound, reminded him, yet again, how to grip his pistol the right way, and, as that was the last live-fire drill of the day, we secured and closed the shop.
This morning, at home, this student followed routine and performed a chamber check. Great was his surprise when he noticed that an empty casing, rather than a live round, was in the chamber of his carry Glock! When the back of the slide hit his thumb, the contact was apparently sufficient to prevent complete cycling. I have personally witnessed other reasons for Glocks not cycling properly, but this is the first time I have seen it as a result of ‘Glock-bite’.
Our Range-Routine is now amended as follows: Before leaving the range, all trainers and students will perform a chamber check (we should’ve been doing this all along!). In addition, chamber checks are to be performed immediately after any slide retardation is suspected.
As you rightly taught us, ‘Empty guns make me nervous!’ We are now going to make extra sure ours are always at the ready.”
Comment: The competent do not go about South Africa lightly! Having a casual attitude about the condition of one’s carry pistol is the realm of the foolish, and unfailingly short-lived. Little experiences like the foregoing are extremely valuable, because they continuously remind us how “little mistakes” can be unforgivingly fatal!
Glad we learned this lesson relatively painlessly!
24 Feb 08
“Polite Society” Event, Memphis, TN, 2008
I just completed the 2008 PS Event in Memphis, TN. Friend and colleague, Tom Givens, puts this extravaganza on every February, and it was, as always, an enormous benefit to all who attended. As last year, the event took place at MPD’s Academy.
Shooting exercises consisted of three “situational” drills, two in low light, and one in normal, outdoor light. In the first one, you are compelled to engage three, armed thugs in a dark parking lot, using your car as cover. In the next, you are compelled to rescue your wife from armed thugs who are attempting to kidnap her. Range in both exercises was four to seven meters. Flashlight use was optional. Targets were fully-dressed mannequins that toppled when hit. Targets were visibly armed and perniciously threatening. “Non-targets” were also dressed mannequins, but plainly represented no threat. In low light, you really had to look closely! “Hit-zones” were undefined, and, for most of us, multiple hits were required to take out each target. I elected not to use my flashlight, as the situation developed so rapidly. I just moved, drew, and started fighting!
A third low-light exercise required us all to fire at paper targets, but starting from supine and requiring the use of only the non-dominant hand! This was designed to simulate being wounded and down and still having to continue the fight. Range was five meters. Many of us need to practice more with one-hand shooting! Rolling on your side works much better than trying to arch your back.
The outside drill required us to start seated in a car, then engage two, armed attackers out the passenger-side window. Then, the contestant had to tactically exit the vehicle, move to a brick wall, and, using it for cover, engage two more armed, thugs, the view of whom was obscured by an unarmed bystander. Again, targets and non-targets were dressed mannequins. Range was four to seven meters.
The final drill was also outdoors and required each of us to shoot down a row of steel plates, strong-hand, support-hand, and free-style. Range was five and seven meters.
I was armed with my Beretta PX4 (40S&W) and 140gr Cor-Bon DPX ammunition. Back-up pistol was my Rohrbaugh R9, also loaded with DPX. Pistol and ammunition ran fine. I didn’t deploy my backup pistol nor Cold-Steel blades.
It was an excellent training exercise, and, as with the NTI, extremely valuable, as each of us get to go into every drill cold, having little idea of what to expect. It is an priceless opportunity to test and evaluate oneself, under stress. The best way to approach it is to not think about scores/times at all, and stop worrying about what you think some evaluator wants to see you do or not do. You run each drill as realistically and tactically sound as you can, making what mistakes you will, moving on without hesitation, and charging through to the end. Great day!
There were many valuable classes this year, all instructed by my personal friends and colleagues, and I did my best to attend all of them!
TJ Pilline put on an excellent, live-fire Urban Rifle Class, stressing optical-offset on close targets, particularly brain-stem shots at close range. TJ is an advocate for one-point slings!
John Hearne presented his excellent summary of FBI’s OIS data. He reminded us that we’re often too polite for our own good, and that we need to look upon VCAs as an entirely different species, as their capacity for violence and depravity is virtually unlimited. John reminded us all that frequent, stressful training is the key to victory, along with personal tenacity. I love this: “Getting shot is no big deal. Getting shot again a few moments later, because you failed to take decisive action, IS a big deal!”
“South-Nark” is the AKA for another of our instructor who presented an excellent hands-on Class called “Managing Unknown Contacts.” We all learned how to use posture, movement, and verbalization to maintain adequate reactionary distance and how to recognize pernicious duplicity.
William Aprill, best known for his excellent Retention-and-Disarms Class, this year spoke, in his capacity as a practicing psychologist, about Post-Trauma Disorder. He acquainted us with the latest information on this subject as well as treatment options. He stressed the importance of always “staying in the game,” in order to avoid “fear and helplessness” that is the source of so much heartburn.
Henry Mahmoud and Steve Moses did a wonderful presentation on Team Tactics. He indicated that teams are often thrown together hastily, so each of us needs to have necessary tactical gear with us always, including a serious pistol and at least one reload. Henry said that five is the maximum number for an effective tactical team. More than that, and it becomes unmanageable and dangerous.
Andy Stanford talked with us about flashlights, assuring us that LED is the trend, and that conventional, xenon bulbs were on their way out. Few know as much about low-light fighting as Andy!
Paul Gomez presented an interesting Class on the “Evolution of the Draw-stroke.” Paul never ceases to astonish me with his vast historical knowledge!
Randy Harris showed us an excellent series of videos demonstrating how to put your opponent at the maximum disadvantage through aggressive movement, the kind of movement that forces him into aggravated muzzle whip.
Claude Werner, representing the Rogers School, showed us all how to run the trigger and move the muzzle onto target simultaneously. He also stressed the importance of catching the link, again, while the muzzle is moving. Claude personally demonstrated all this with his Beretta 92F. I’m going to have to drill myself on this so I can decide how much of it I’m going to steal from Claude!
Skip Gochenour had another of his classic “head-scratchers” for us! Skip talked about the concept of “Honor” and “Shame” and the way the two influence our civilization. He went through the historical development of law pertaining to the use of deadly force. He pointed out that in most civilizations, particularly the “Thug-ocracies” of the Middle-East, governments insist on an monopoly on the use of force. Citizens/subjects are allowed no individual discretion. Only in the “New World” do we see individual citizens with the right to defend themselves, even with deadly force, at their own, personal command and judgement.
Mike Brown, in his hands-on class, showed us all how to successfully access one’s pistol while otherwise engaged in a physical fight. It can be challenging, but Mike showed us some excellent tricks.
Mike Warsocki’s well-organized mind took us, step-by-step, through the exigent decision-making process. Mike explains the procedure in great detail, far more detailed than I had ever thought about.
Jim Yeager, as few others are qualified to, explained to us accessories that come in handy on a serious rifle, and ones that are more trouble than they’re worth. Like TJ, Jim likes a one-point sling. He is also a fan of EOTech and Aimpoint.
I highly recommend the PS Event to all Operators. Not to be missed!
26 Feb 08
During an election year, gun and ammunition sales typically go north. This year, the effect is particularly intense. This is from an LEO friend in the area:
“At Jensen’s in Loveland, CO, people were lined up out the door onto the sidewalk! Of particular interest to customers were service and concealment pistols, military rifles, high-capacity magazines, and particularly ammunition. They still have a good selection of guns, but ammunition inventory is getting low. I’ve never seen such a crowd! Same story at Cabelas. There were hundreds in the gun section. Again, ammunition inventory, particularly 223, was low, and what was available was expensive.”
Comment: I suspect this trend will continue, even intensify, for the rest of the year. I’m making no election predications, but I believe keen interest in personal protection we see currently manifested in gun/ammunition sales will not abate, no matter whom the next president is and no matter how Congress shakes out.
We’re headed into exciting times!
27 Feb 08
News from Iraq:
Friends in Country tell me that the US Army has instigated a crash program to equip the entire Iraqi military/police system with M-4s/16s (223), replacing existing inventories of Kalashnikovs (7.62X39 and 5.45X39), many dating from the 1950s.
New weapons will be purchased from manufacturers in the USA.
The Stoner System shows no signs of dying!
29 Feb 08
A Sticky Question:
An LEO trainer in the Midwest recently came to me with this question:
“With a manually-decocking pistol, like our SIG 239s, when you have fired, need to move, and the necessity of additional deadly force is likely, is it really necessary to manually de-cock before moving? Your trigger-finger is in a strong, ‘register’ position while moving, whether the hammer is forward or cocked. Isn’t that sufficient insurance against an ND?
As always, consistency is the key. Either we (1) always de-cock prior to movement, or we (2) leave the pistol cocked and refrain from decocking until the pistol is re-holstered. It needs to be one way or the other.
What doctrine do you teach with these pistols?”
“I take the position that the pistol needs to be manually de-cocked any time the Operator moves or otherwise breaks finger contact with the trigger and subsequently returns his trigger-finger to the ‘register’ position.
The reason I advocate de-cocking every time the finger breaks contact with the trigger is not so much a safety issue as it is a consistency one. I believe it is important that the Operator automatically return the trigger to where his finger expects to find it any time his finger is not in continuous contact. When the trigger is in its rear position, as it will be when the hammer is cocked, the trigger-finger, when subsequently trying to re-contact it, will invariably grope blindly, because the trigger is not where the Operator has trained himself to expect to establish contact. The result is that the trigger-finger, in a panic, flies backward and abruptly slams into the trigger, causing a missed shot (at the least) or an unintended shot.
As you know, while fighting, I don’t like ‘surprises!’ Not knowing where to find the trigger on your fighting pistol is the kind of ‘surprise’ we need to spare our students.
The whole issue of manual de-cocking, and all the vacuous complaints about having to do it repeatedly, will quickly disappear once students learn to accomplish the task quickly and deftly. It is only when they are learning the process that it seems clumsy and difficult.”
Comment: Not all trainers will agree with the foregoing, but, after many years of observing it done both ways, I am persuaded this is the best policy with regard to this thorny issue.