2 Jan 00

This from a friend in the Midwest:

“I just participated in a local IPSC match. The pistol match was nothing remarkable, but there was a ‘side shoot,’ a ‘close range’ rifle match. I had not planned to shoot a second match, but since there WAS a rifle in my car……..

The course of fire consisted of nine, paper targets from one meter to sixteen meters in range. None of the targets were fully available, with either ‘no shoots’ or articles of cover obscuring some or most of each target. Thus, even at this relatively close range, some of the targets were challenging. No movement or use of cover was required, and one started the match with the rifle already mounted. In used a Mini-14 with a forward-mounted, Trijicon/Reflex sight. There was one other Mini-14 with factory, iron sights, two SKSs with factory, iron sights, and several ‘match-modified’ ARs with, large, close-eye-relief, high-mounted, telescopic sights (mounted on top of the carrying handle). The telescopic sights were variable in power, but had 4x as the lowest, possible setting.

I won the match easily, scoring two hits on each target in just under seven seconds. The SKSs, with the their factory, pistol sights finished in sequence right behind me in ten seconds. The iron-sighted Mini-14 got off to a good start but went down and was not able to finish.

The guys shooting the scoped ARs muffed it completely! THEY WERE ASTONISHED TO FIND THEIR WEAPONS ALL BUT UNUSABLE AT CLOSE RANGE. Like me, on the closest targets they made no attempt to look through their scopes and instead used a chin weld, however their scopes were so big and were mounted so high, they got in the way. On the far targets (ten to sixteen meters), they really went in the toilet. The high magnification of their scopes would not allow them either (1) the ability to focus clearly on the targets, or (2) the ability to orient themselves correctly and differentiate one target from another. They ended up missing all together or hitting the wrong target with most of their shots.

I am now more convinced than ever that I do not want any species of high-magnification, bulky scope on a defensive rifle! I can walk away from long shots. FROM CLOSE-RANGE THREATS THAT I CAN’T WALK AWAY FROM, THE LAST THING I WANT IS A RIFLE EQUIPPED WITH A BULKY, DELICATE, HIGH-MAGNIFICATION SCOPE THAT DOES LITTLE MORE THAN GET IN THE WAY!”

Well said and well done!



3 Jan 00

This from an LE friend who lives nearby:

“Bought a new Colt 1911 in 38 Super. This is from a well known custom shop. Top of the line, and quite pricey too. Imagine my surprise when I took it to the range over the weekend and discovered :

(1) It shot eighteen inches high and a foot right at eight meters, and

(2) It failed to fire three times out of four.

As it turns out, the firing pin safety block is defective, and it was obviously never tested for accuracy at the factory. All that is easy enough to fix I suppose, but one would expect better from any new firearm, especially from a major manufacturer. Actually, this is the second new Colt I’ve had that wouldn’t work out of the box, the first being a Detective Special that had a burr in the firing pin hole. They’ll be getting a nastygram about all this in the next few days.

My point is that one would be well advised to test his equipment, all of it, before he undertakes to carry it for defensive purposes. In my situation this entire experience was simply aggravating and annoying. In a real defensive situation, it may well have been fatal. I would never carry any firearm that didn’t have at least five hundred, failure-free rounds through it. My experience just reinforced what common sense already dictates.”

I received a second note today, this one from another friend in Ohio who just bought a $195.00 Keltec 32ACP. It shot three-inch holes at eight meters, dead center, right out of the box. It also went through several hundred rounds from three different manufacturers without a hiccup. This from a gun retailing for less than $200.00!


>Colt has really lost it. I don’t recommend anything they make these days. Their attitude seems to mirror AT&T’s, “We don’t care. We don’t have to.”

>My friends who work for The Agency often mention that the old Soviet KGB “left nothing to chance.” That is why very few of their operations were ever bungled. That was their reputation. We need to have the same attitude. Things don’t often go in the toilet when all the bases are covered to begin with.



11 Jan 00

The Battle of Trenton:

I watched A&E’s excellent presentation last night. It was the story of George Washington’s brilliant and daring attack of the British Garrison at Trenton, NJ on 26 December 1776 during the Revolutionary War. At the time the garrison was manned by a contingent of German mercenaries (called Hessians). Like all acts of genius in war, the attack’s utter failure was predicted by nearly everyone of Washington’s colleagues. Stark confirmation of the paradoxical axiom, “It is impossible. Therefore, it is assured!”

The Battle of Trenton was Washington’s first victory. Many more would follow, and the rest is, of course, history.

I was struck by the fact that, shortly after the attack commenced, Hessian resistance was instantly terminated by a single rifle shot from an American soldier, whose name will never be known, which struck and killed Colonel Rall, commander of the Hessian garrison.

Most of Washington’s soldiers were issued muskets. However, a number of frontiersman who found themselves in the Continental Army brought their rifles with them. Both rifles and muskets of the period were flintlocks, but muskets were preferred by officers, because they reloaded fast, but were conspicuously inaccurate beyond fifty meters. That suited many officers just fine, because it discouraged individual action by soldiers.

By contrast, rifles of the period were slow to reload, but were deadly accurate out to two hundred meters and beyond in some cases. However, the entire concept of one soldier shooting another was not even considered by those in charge of armies at the time. At that time, a soldier’s target was an entire rank of enemy soldiers, usually at close range, and no soldier would dare fire until given the order. When the order was given, all would fire at once in a volley. This tactic was still widely accepted even at the start of the American Civil War seventy years later.

At the Battle of Trenton, one American soldier, a frontiersman armed with a rifle, saw the enemy colonel mounted on a horse and barking orders. On his own imitative and in the absence of any specific order, he mounted his rifle, picked up his target in his sights (just as we teach today), and pressed the trigger carefully. His bullet struck the colonel in the chest. Everyone, including the colonel himself, knew at once that the shot was fatal. As the colonel slumped on his horse, the entire Hessian defense precipitously collapsed. Over nine hundred prisoners were taken that morning without one more shot being fired. In Rall’s uniform pocket Washington’s men discovered a neatly folded message, apparently never read, warning him of an imminent, surprise attack!

What struck me as I watched was how, once again, one skillful and courageous person, armed with a rifle and acting on his own initiative, turned the tide of an entire battle, indeed of an entire War!

Like most true heroes, we don’t even know his name. However, in his honor we must never forget the importance of every, single, trained rifleman and what a stunning difference each one can make. The importance of trained rifleman can never be underestimated, particularly in a foolish and arrogant age where glamorous machines of war purport to take the place of dedicated and trained warriors exercising their own initiative.



19 Jan 00

Defensive firearms training in south Florida:

I attended and participated in “Tac-Night” here in Naples, FL earlier this week. Tac-Night is organized and conducted by Nick Dickson, a local businessman who is eminently successful and surely doesn’t need “something else to do.” As with all great endeavors, Tac-Night is a labor of love for Nick. It is entirely local, and there is no affiliation with IPSC or IDPA.

I watched the forty-odd participants go through the three, live-fire exercises, two handgun challenges and one involving shotguns. Targets were IPSC cardboard and a few pepper-poppers. Ranges were two to fifteen meters. Cover and movement were involved, as was reloading and rapid movement with gun in hand. Scoring was calculated with credit given for accuracy and speed of problem completion.

With the time element in place, many contestants treated the whole event like a track meet! On the other hand, for those, like me, who have no interest in “scores,” several important tactical skills were exercised.

One must give these people credit for coming out and attempting to simulate a lethal confrontation. Most are just beginners with regard to legitimate survival skills, but they used real guns and real ammunition and carried concealed, although there were still a doleful few with their play guns, play holsters, and wimpified loads. Some learning does actually take place for those with eyes to see and ears to hear!

The most common tactical errors I saw were:

>Absence of cover awareness
>Crowding cover
>Taking all shots from the same position
>Giving in to the urge to stand in the middle of doorways
>Sticking muzzles past the edges of cover
>Duck hunting
>Hamster hunting
>Failure to swap shoulders when shooting longarms around the weak sides of vertical cover.
>Failure to take full advantage of cover when shooting handguns around the weak sides of vertical cover.
>Reloading only after slide lock and reloading in the open
>Failure to finish the fight (relaxing too soon, taking arbitrary, administrative pauses)
>Failure to keep moving
>Indecision, failure to have a plan
>Failure to maintain all-around security
>Lingering in the open and failing to keep the head up, particularly when the shooter had a gun problem
>Shooting too fast with the resulting poor marksmanship
>Unsafe draws and unsafe reholstering (shooters pointing pistols at their weak hand during the draw and during reholstering)

These are all things which can be corrected when they are pointed out. Some of the participants actually wanted to know how they could improve their own survivability. That is encouraging, as it is not commonly seen or even discussed at most ostensibly “practical” firearms competitions.

Florida is wonderful this time of year. Lunch at Chrissy’s with friends and fellow warriors is, as always, the best part of the day. Life is good!



20 Jan 00

What are they teaching at Quantico? This from a friend who just returned from the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, NV:

“We just returned from the SHOT Show… two things really caught my eye:

First, BATF had a booth right by the exit, with lots of agents milling about. What were they doing there? Perhaps photography?

Second, while we were at the S&W booth, a well-dressed young girl (yes, girl) flitted by, fondling each semiauto on display. Every time she grasped a weapon, her index finger immediately contacted the trigger, and stayed there throughout her inspection, even when she racked the slide (with her thumb and first finger). She put on quite a show and tried to impress us with comments like “You know, 45s are usually heavier than 9mms”. What ‘impressed’ me most, though, was that finger on the trigger. It never left. I checked listed affiliation on her show badge. It said ‘FBI.'”

Your tax dollars at play?



21 Jan 00

More SHOT Show news:

“I went past the Mossberg booth and inspected their new double-action trigger/pump shotgun. It is just a 500/590 with a new trigger group. The safety switch is still intact, creating an absurd redundancy. I tried the trigger. It is so heavy and gritty that I believe accurate work with slugs will be impossible.

As is the case with every SHOT Show, I was amazed by the huge selection of useless gadgets whose prime function (and really their ONLY function!) is to separate gullible gun neophytes from their money. One example was an enormous, plastic holster intended for carrying an autoloading pistol with an empty chamber ‘for safety,’ of course. I’m surprised it wasn’t ‘for the children!’ It allows the user to push down on the grip, cycling the slide and thus loading the pistol as a part of the draw stroke. I asked the salesman, ‘If one feels the need to wear a pistol, shouldn’t one wear a loaded one?’ He rolled his eyes and waked away.

There were a great many defense rifles on display. It seems that every third booth was showing a new variant of the Stoner system. There were also G3 and FAL copies.

The industry is uniting in a new, proactive defense of itself. At least one entity is raising money to fund counter law suits against those cities that would sue the industry for frivolous reasons.”



25 Jan 00

There is no substitute for timely and intelligent planning, personal commitment, and personal competence:

“In December of 1812, the USS Constitution’s Marines swayed a key, naval battle in favor of our then fledgling Republic when ‘Old Ironsides’ (as the constitution was nicknamed) locked horns with HMS Java.

The two ships were in physical contact with each other (side by side) on the high seas. As the British captain tried to lead a boarding party against the Constitution, an American Marine marksman fatally wounded him with a single rifle shot. Simultaneously, other Marine sharpshooters, positioned aloft in the Constitution’s rigging and armed with the magnificently accurate Model 1808 US musket, relentlessly tumbled British officers and NCOs into writhing piles along the Java’s decks.

On their own initiative, the Marines had organized themselves into six-man teams. Five were reloaders, while the sixth, the best marksman in the group, did the shooting, continuously exchanging discharged rifles for loaded ones. The teams thus methodically raked the JAVA’s decks with uninterrupted, deadly, rifle fire.

The JAVA’s captain, watching in horror as his entire boarding party and most of his crew were shot to pieces, meekly surrendered, doubtlessly saving his own life and that of the few crew members he had left.”


>In those days (unlike today), commanding officers led from the front. The ill-fated British captain did what duty demanded. Although this proved fatal to him, as it often does, it undoubtedly inspired loyalty and a sense of duty in the men he led.

>The US Marines obviously had a plan. No one ordered them to “get organized.” On their own initiative, they thought about their situation and developed a plan. They trained at every opportunity, and, when the time came, they executed their plan to perfection, as shown by their six-man teamwork.

>Competent riflemen were then and are still today the critical commodity in any battle.

“False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages because of one imaginary or trifling inconvenience;

That would take fire from men because it burns, and water, because one may drown in it.”

Thomas Jefferson



26 Jan 00

This incident just happened to a friend with a local police department in the Midwest on 24 Jan 00:

“A domestic violence call had been received by the PD. The male on the other end of the line told the dispatcher that ‘any cop who pulls into my driveway will be killed.’

Two officers in separate cars arrive at the address. They didn’t park in the driveway, but they were still within sight of the house.

Goofy promptly walks onto the porch of his house and fires a shot from a longarm in the direction of the officers. My friend takes cover but doesn’t return fire as he is seventy-five meters away. He has a shotgun loaded with 00 buck. No slugs or rifles are available in this department.

Goofy then walks toward the beat cars shouting threats, still holding the longarm (which turns out to be a 22 rimfire rifle). The officers shout at him to drop the weapon. At a range of thirty meters, both officers begin firing at him with their service handguns.

Of seven shots fired, one hits Goofy. He is struck in the abdomen. He drops the rifle and surrenders without further incident. His wound is not serious. No one else is hurt.

My friend is buying an AR-15!”


>Sometimes, only a rifle will do! In the hands of most of us, handguns are limited to twenty meters as is 00 buck from a shotgun. Shotgun slugs are effective out to seventy-five meters, but that kind of accuracy requires a great deal of tedious and physically demanding practice. Few officers ever receive adequate training with 00 buck, much less with slugs.



26 Jan 00

More SHOT Show news:

“Trijicon now has some great low-power (1 to 1.5X) ‘scout’ optics. They compare well with the Leupold Scout series.

Remington 870s are presently experiencing a 90-120 day delivery to police departments. Big demand. Not enough product. Lawsuits have all gun manufacturers screwed up. Additional delays and shortages can be expected before it all settles out.

The Glock Model 36 (45ACP, single stack), is STILL not out, and this pistol was introduced at last year’s SHOT Show!

The police price on the Sig Pro (in 40S&W and 357 Sig) has been chopped by one hundred dollars, to $379.00 delivered, with fast delivery. Sig wants to compete with Glock on price.

The new Kahr K9 with the polymer frame gets rave reviews! If this little gun holds up as well as do Kahr’s steel-framed models, it will be one of the best carry guns going. Light, slick, and fast!

S&W’s titanium “J” frame (rated for +P) centennials are also very light and compact. Nice to carry around.

The Vector pistol from South Africa is dehorned and slick like a bar of soap.