3 Jan 05
The Surefire Aviator flashlight is the one I carry regularly. Small, slim, and bright, it has replaced my 6P for routine carry. It’s two-stage light is particularly useful. There are three LEDs, which provide soft light, and there is, in addition, a conventional bulb that provides hard light. All is controlled via the same button at the rear of the unit.
Recently, I dropped it, and the main light went out. I assumed all I had to do was replace the bulb, although externally it looked fine. It turned out to be simpler than that. I called Surefire. The tech suggested I change batteries. He explained that it requires much less battery power to operate the LEDs than it does to operate the main bulb.
Sure enough! New batteries brought the main bulb back to life. Dropping it had only been a coincidence. It now works perfectly once more. Nice to know that, when batteries are low, the LEDs will still work, and the unit is still useful. This is Surefire’s best flashlight!
3 Jan 05
On preparedness, from an LEO friend in SA:
“Tom Givens touched on an important topic. Here is South Africa many people have the notion of taking along a firearm for self protection, but only when they go out and know they may return late at night.
The biggest problem with this casual attitude that engenders ‘occasional carry’ is that you are not always equally alert. When you always carry a gun, you know it will always be there when you need it. A gun on your person keeps you constantly on your toes. It serves as a constant reminder that you must never allow yourself to dip into ‘Condition White.” Thinking you’re ‘safe,’ because you’ve chosen, at a particular time, not to have a gun with you is a pitiable exercise is self delusion.
Carrying a gun also imparts a sense of self-respect, indeed nobility, to the carrier. He continually confirms in his own mind that his life and health are important and worth defending and that he, not some unit of government, is the one primarily responsible for his own safety and well being. It is the ratification of the doctrine of individual responsibility.”
Comment: “Panic is the last resort of the incompetent. Violence is the response of the competent, but they resort to it sooner. Though defensive violence will always be a ‘sad necessity’ in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men.”
6 Jan 05
Protestant King Gustavus Adolphus, of Sweden, the “Lion of the North,” the “Snow King,” led a lean, efficient, and highly-mobile army that was able to move faster and hit harder than any thrown against it. He was ahead of his time and nearly unbeatable. His greatest fear was territorial encroachment from a Catholic Europe. Gustavus was always out front. He led his men personally, and, like most generals who do, he was fatally wounded at the Battle of Lutzen in 1632 (in present-day Germany).
Czech-born Count Albrecht Wallenstein (born into a Lutheran family) was the one ultimately selected to oppose Gustavus with a Catholic, and mostly mercenary, army. He led from the front too. At the same battle, Wallenstein watched as most of his staff fell around him. In the process, several musket balls passed through his coat. Wallenstein was defeated at Lutzen, but engineered an impressive victory over the Swedes the following spring. Gustavus’ successor, the incompetent Count Thurn, was easily routed. As a reward for his brilliance, Wallenstein was murdered by a nervous Archduke Ferdinand von Hapsburg of the Holy Roman Empire (Germany), who was fearful of Wallenstein’s growing popularity.
The dreadful “Thirty Years’ War,” from 1618 to 1648, eventually engulfed all nations on the western edge of Eurasia, collectively called “Western Europe.” It was ostensibly a battle between Catholics and Protestants, but, in reality, it (like all wars) was a struggle for real estate, political power, and posture on the World Stage. It would end with Western Europe’s center, where major battles took place, depopulated and burnt to the ground. Recovery would take decades. The power of the Holy Roman Empire and the feudal system that supported it, founded centuries earlier by Caesar Augustus, would be broken forever (even Napoleon, a century and a half later, would be unable to resurrect it). However, Western Europe’s festering instability was, by no means, tempered.
The War mostly fizzled out in 1648 with the “Peace of Westphalia,” as widespread destruction had left all sides exhausted and unable to continue fighting, at least on a large scale. However, what was left of mercenary armies still milled about restlessly.
Many thus saw the necessity of Western Civilization permanently diverging into several strong, independent, Christian, nation/states, united by nationalism, rather than religion. The “Great Powers” were on their way, and world history would take yet another turn.
Comment: “I profess that a people must never value anything higher than individual dignity and freedom; that it must defend these with the last drop of its blood; that it has no duty more sacred and can obey no higher law, that the shame of a cowardly submission can never be wiped out; that the poison of submission in the bloodstream of a people will be transmitted to its children, paralyzing later generations; that honor can be lost only once; that a people is unconquerable when it fights a spirited struggle; that an honorable fight assures rebirth, even if freedom were lost; and that such a struggle is the seed from which a new tree will inevitably blossom.”
von Clausewitz, 1820
“Metus improbos compescit, non clementina”
(“Fear, not kindness, restrains the wicked”)
9 Jan 05
Update from SA:
“In a response to a question posed by Abios Khoele, of the South African Black Gunowners Association, as to why well-nigh no applicants are receiving licenses, the Minister of Safety and Security, Charles Nqakula, replied:
‘IT IS REGARDED THAT LICENSES FOR FIREARMS SHOULD NOT BE GRANTED TO PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS.’”
Comment: What was fraudulently marketed as a benign “licensing” proposal has now shown itself to be a plan (and it was from the beginning) for the elimination of the private ownership of all firearms. The national Safety Minister has sheepishly admitted it. Leftist politicians are all alike, here and there. They brazenly lie in order to trick citizens out of their rights. What individual rights they can’t get the public to voluntarily surrender, they snatch away via bureaucratic tyranny. This sleazy treachery is now happening, openly, in SA and in Canada. Democratic (Marxist) politicians want it to happen here. The fact that innocent citizens (“peons”) will have no effective means of protecting themselves from violent criminals is of absolutely no concern to these weasely neo-Bolsheviks. Interestingly, they never seem to want the “benefits” of gun control for themselves!
10 Jan 05
More paranoid silliness from CENTCOM, from a friend in-Country:
“The ‘Powers That Be’ still can’t make up their collective minds with regard to who can carry a firearm here, and in what condition.
For example: ‘Palace Guards’ can carry loaded pistols, but only when in the palace. They, for example, are specifically prohibited from carrying in the mess hall. There is apparently something about food that turns normal people into homicidal maniacs! MPs who work outside the wire can’t carry anywhere inside the wire. MPs who work inside the wire can carry anywhere, except the Palace, and, of course, the mess hall. CID agents carry everywhere, never ask permission, and no one says anything.
The generals’ bodyguards carry when they are with the general in the mess hall. When by themselves in the mess hall, they are prohibited from carrying. Apparently, there is something about breathing the same air as the general that turns homicidal maniacs into really nice guys!
Of course, the foregoing are just “Today’s Rules.” When the generals wake up tomorrow morning, everything will probably change.
I suggest that, when you come here, you stay outside the wire. At least there, you know who your friends are! If you come inside the wire, bring your rifle and a pistol. Carry the rifle openly with the magazine removed. Carry the pistol loaded and concealed. Make them think you only have the empty rifle. Out of sight, out of mind! And, ALWAYS carry a blade.”
Comment: More unforgivable silliness! After the suicide bombing in Mosul, you’d think that CENTCOM would have learned and made Condition One (round in the chamber and full magazine in the firearm) carry the standard everywhere, inside and outside the wire, especially where soldiers and Marines gather in large numbers. That way, when insurgents infiltrate, soldiers and Marines, on their own initiative, can stop them before they do much damage.
But, NO. The “answer” is to disarm everyone (safe the generals’ bodyguard staff), EXCEPT insurgents. That way, armed insurgents can go about their deadly work, unhindered. This is utter nonsense!
We’re never going to win this war, or any other war, so long as Marines and soldiers (even officers and NCOs) are routinely treated like criminals and looked upon as idiots. If, in their paranoid delusion, generals and politicians see their own men as outlaws and/or morons, we will continue to be our own worst enemy!
10 Jan 05
Shooting the enemy when the media is there filming, from a friend in the system:
“It wasn’t the actual shooting as much as the verbalization that upset so many grasseaters and put the Marine in question in the hot seat. ‘He’s still breathing! BANG! ‘He’s not now!’ Accordingly, this is what I’m currently teaching my Marines:
Same scenario. Marine identifies a hostile combatant who is ‘playing dead.’ Marine yells, ‘BOMB’ or ‘GRENADE’ then fires a controlled pair into the enemy’s head. Does the Marine know that the enemy combatant actually has a bomb or grenade? Probably not, but what matters is that the Marine warned his comrades and took reasonable, necessary, and immediate action. In warning his comrades, he also influenced everyone else in the area to believe that he believed this enemy combatant actually did have a bomb. CORRECT VERBALIZATION, AT THE CORRECT TIME, IS THE KEY.
We also teach them, when in close proximity, and the enemy absorbs a several rounds of 223 in the chest and does not appear to be impressed, then verbalize ‘BODY ARMOR’ and immediately fire a controlled pair into the head. Again, the Marine can’t know beyond a doubt that body armor is involved, but he can inform his comrades that this particular enemy fighter is posing a extraordinary hazard and would benefit greatly from additional shooting. As an added benefit, the local CNN camera man and commentator will be hard pressed to find something bad to say about the Marines, although I’m sure they’ll do their level best!”
Comment: When in Vietnam, we had a standing policy of shooting any reclining enemy fighter we saw. It was common to move in to an area and see the ground littered with enemy corpses. We shot them all! Most were already dead. Some may not have been. We’ll never know, but we all wanted to go home alive, and we didn’t much worry about how it looked, and we didn’t apologize. There was no CNN in those days, thank God!.
Today, the “hate America first” crowd at CNN and most of the rest of the broadcast media, none of whom ever fired a shot in anger in their lives, stand ready to derogate and vilify everything we do in active war. In law enforcement, no resisted arrest is ever going to “look good” on film. Likewise, the act of engaging the country’s enemies in active fighting and shooting them to death will always offend the sensibilities of grasseaters. They will always say, “Is this really necessary?” as they try to get good soldiers and Marines court martialed for doing perfectly reasonable, even patriotic, things. It would really help if generals and politicians alike stood up for these brave, young lads, but today they choose silence instead.
So, it has now become necessary to teach verbalizations to young fighters, just as we teach them to police officers. We call it “playing to the witnesses.” With our “friends” at CNN, we don’t need enemies!
13 Jan 05
More Unarmed Marines. When will we ever learn?
US Marines currently assisting in the tsunami relief effort in Asia, as part of a “negotiated arrangement,” have been told to deploy with no weapons of any kind, not even pistols! Put another way, these young Marines have been tasked to function as sacrificial lambs, so that politicians can make style points. The area where they’re deployed in “unfriendly,” by any standard. Anti-Western, Islamic gangs are everywhere, and you can bet they are all armed, to the teeth! Would it be too much to ask to let these brave, young American men and women at least have pistols?
The phrase, “unarmed Marine” should be a contradiction of terms! How can politicians look upon these young lives so casually? How many Marines, unable to defend themselves, will have to be hurt or killed or captured, before we see how unforgivably naive this is?
18 Jan 05
I just got a note from a young captain who is shipping out to Iraq shortly. While there, he’ll be taking M/Gy/Sgt Mitchell’s place in distributing care packages we send over. I’ll have a mailing address for him in a week or so.
Thanks to everyone for your generosity. These brave Marines are not fearful. They’re only afraid of being forgotten.
18 Jan 05
M-14s are back!
The US Army’s Long Range Surveillance Detachment (42nd Infantry Division) is deploying to Iraq with “newly-(re)issued” M-14 rifles, and the apologies, along with pseudo-denials, are rampant. They obviously hope no one notices, lest everyone will all want to switch over. Beating us to it, British Special Ops folks in that part of the world have already “rediscovered” the 303 Enfield cartridge.
“It’s a tremendous force multiplier. It’s a tremendous asset on the battlefield,” we are told. Isn’t EVERY battle rifle supposed to fit that description? What does that make the M-16 and M-4? A non-force-multiplier and a non-asset on the battlefield?
What no one will say (in public) is that, in a battle rifle, the 223 round is a joke, critically lacking in both range and penetration, yet another sad leftover from the lamentable Johnson Administration. It is embarrassing that it has taken so long for this forty-year-old procurement mistake finally to be addressed.
I am personally disappointed that the Marine Corps has not set the agenda on this issue, but has instead conceded leadership to the Army. Marine management did take a single, hesitant step by equipping selected individuals with M-14s last year, but has done nothing since. The 6.8mm round and rifle showed great promise, but that project has also been allowed to wither on the vine.
The M-14 is surely a suburb battle rifle, and the 308 round is nearly ideal for serious fighting. Maybe now individual soldiers and Marines can again think of themselves as fighters of the enemy, not just “finders” of the enemy. Let’s hope the trend continues and that the Marine Corps (belatedly) steps up to the plate and once again takes the lead in battle rifle development.
18 Jan 05
M-14 comments from a friend:
“Ron Smith of Smith Enterprises (muzzle breaks and flash hiders) is busy these days, making designated marksmen rifles on the M-14 platform for, of all clients, the US Army! Other small manufacturers are too. They’re called ‘Crazy Horse’ rifles. He literally can’t make them fast enough.
A major provider of M-14 military ‘surplus’ magazines is now (re)supplying the Army. Long ago, the Army had them manufactured, stored them for years, then surplused them out (at pennies on the dollar) as scrap metal. Now, the Army is buying them all back, at a price higher than they paid originally. Gotta love Uncle Sam!”
Comment: It’s obvious that the M-14 is making a comeback. Let’s hope it is in a big way. It can’t happen too soon!
Other rifles, particularly the FAL, probably constitute a better system, even than the M-14. In addition, promising new contenders are now being produced by Robinson Arms, DSA, Krebs, FN, H&K, et al. However, the rifle itself is not as much an issue as is the caliber. A new rifle, in 223, caliber takes us right back where we started.
We need to break away from the 223 round, and, right now, the M-14 platform is apparently providing the best vehicle to that end.
20 Jan 05
Michael Moore’s armed bodyguard was arrested by the NY/NJ Port Authority Police yesterday at JFK Airport in NYC. He apparently informed the ticket agent that he was carrying a pistol. No comment so far from Moore himself.
Moore now joins a noted group of arrogant, self-righteous hypocrites, including Ted Kennedy and Rosey O’Donnald, in piously extolling the “benefits” of gun control for us peons, but having scant interest in practicing it themselves.
“Fidem nemo umpqam perdit nisi qui non habet”
(No one loses honor, who had any to begin with)
21 Jan 05
More commentary from friends in Country:
“Every few months they break out the clearing barrels again (after having taken them away). We Marines joke about the necessity of bringing ear plugs to chow hall! When I talked to the colonel on this issue, I discovered that he had never heard of Gunsite, LFI, DTI, et al. Yet, he claims he is a ‘warrior’ who ‘knows all about guns.’ When I enthusiastically told him all about the real weapons training we had received from Gunsite and from the Farnams, he responded by saying ‘I’d rather play golf.’ So much for the ‘warrior’ part!
One bright note. Local Air Force folks look upon this issue the same way we do! The local army brass don’t like them either!”
Comment: An unloaded weapon is not just a description of a physical condition. It is a reflection of a woeful state of mind: a warrior UNPREPARED to do battle. We still have any number of Brady-oriented higher ups, particularly in the Army, a few even in the Marines, who are deathly afraid of guns and even more fearful of armed men, even their own (especially their own!). They need to retire and get out of the way!
“Omnium consensus capax imperii nisi imperasset”
(Everyone would have thought him fit to rule, if only he never had.)
21 Jan 05
Interesting comment on Bush’s Inauguration Speech yesterday, from a friend in SA:
“I was impressed by President Bush’s Inaugural Speech. He referred, no fewer than twenty-four times, to freedom and liberty, few times to ‘democracy.’
In my New Year’s message, I wished my crew: FREEDOM, not safety- VICTORY, not prosperity. It seems your president would find himself in good company here!”
Comment: Fortis fortuna adiuvat (Fortune favors the brave)
22 Jan 05
ND, from a LEO friend in the Midwest:
“One of our officers yesterday shot himself accidentally. He was driving to the range for a training day. As he was driving, he attempted to unload his pistol (SIG 226, 40S&W). He reversed two steps. First, he racked the slide. Then, he dropped the magazine. He did the procedure backwards.
Thinking the chamber was empty, he then pointed the weapon at the floor of his beat car (while still driving) and pulled the trigger. The pistol, of course, discharged. The bullet struck our officer in the left leg, exited, and then struck the floor. Realizing that he had just shot himself, our officer called into the PD and told the dispatcher that he had been shot. He then tried to drive to the hospital himself (a two-mile trip from where he was) He almost made it, but passed out while still driving and subsequently struck a parked car.
Surgery took six hours. He is lucky to be alive, and he may loose his leg. We don’t know yet.”
Lesson: Our entire safety lecture, heard by every student, can be summarized in a single sentence: DON’T DO STUPID THINGS WITH GUNS. Pointing a gun at yourself, any gun, in any supposed “condition,” is not smart. Trying to do two things at once (eg: simultaneously drive and unload a pistol) is not smart.
Familiarity breeds carelessness. An ND is never more than a second away. We need a reasonable procedure, and we need to follow it every time. Most of all, we need to be constantly aware of the direction in which we have guns pointed. IF YOU NEVER POINT A GUN AT YOURSELF, YOU’LL NEVER SHOOT YOURSELF!
25 Jan 05
On rifle sights, from one of my instructors:
“Do you remember my Trijicon Tri-Power that I hastily and unceremoniously removed from my AR-15 and jettisoned at our last class? That optic failed when two halves of the aluminum and polymer housing rotated and suddenly shifted my PA/PI over two feet at forty meters! That unit was returned to Trijicon for repair/replacement. After a month, I was finally contacted and informed that my unit failed due to ‘missing parts and improper assembly.’ I was told by a customer rep at Trijicon that my defective Tri-Power would be replaced with a new unit.
It was. Unfortunately, the new one was no better than the one I sent back! This unit will not even zero! At 100 meters PI is still a foot low, with the elevation set at its maximum. This second Tri-Power was also returned. Over a month has passed, and no communication at all this time.
Trijicon folks have been polite, but they keep dropping the ball. I’ll never own another one.
Lessons: If you want a tube sight on a serious rifle, get an Aimpoint CompM2 or a Leupold Scout Scope. If you want a holosight, get an EOTech 552. Most of all, accept the fact that your gear may fail. EXPECT IT! DON’T BECOME A VICTIM OF IT. Have a backup plan (iron sights) that will allow your to keep going no matter what.
26 Jan 05
With the recent demise of the Beretta 92F pistol in 9mm, used by the LAPD for a number of years, but abandoned by most LAPD officers when they were given some leeway as to carry pistols by newly appointed Chief Bratton, most officers are now opting for Glocks in 45ACP.
Many thought pistols in 40S&W, like the G23, would be the most popular, but the 45ACP has ruled the day among patrol officers, when they were given the choice.
26 Jan 05
More on JFK in NYC:
“I recently had a problem at JFK similar to the one encountered by Moore’s bodyguard. NYPD and NY/NJ Port Authority Police made it clear to me that the otherwise lawful transportation of firearms in checked baggage does not apply in NYC! In their minds, they are a separate nation. They couldn’t care less about TSA regulations or Federal Law. Bottom line: if you’re going through JFK, don’t talk about guns.”
Comment: Good advice!
29 Jan 05
2005 SHOT Show:
The SHOT Show started yesterday here in Las Vegas, NV. After the first afternoon on the floor, here is what struck me the most:
Friend, Frank Harris, at Kahr showed me Kahr’s new polymer-frame KP45. It is wonderful! Only slightly bigger (mostly wider, but not much) than the same gun in 40S&W. Great carry gun. A good deal more compact than the G36. They’ll be shipping this spring. Kahr also had on display their Thompson with a 50-round drum magazine. A 100-round drum is coming!
The 45GAP series from Glock was on display, the G37, 38, and 39. The G37 has been out for a while, but the compact G38 and sub-compact G39 are new. The G38 is of most interest. Basically, it is a G36 in the new caliber. When I picked it up, I thought it was a G36.
I saw Kel-Tec’s KTP11, a 9mm 11-shooter. Very compact! Kel-Tec has redesigned the extractor (much bigger) on their 380Auto pistols. Otherwise, the are unchanged. I carry one, and it works great.
Lynn Thompson of Cold Steel had his entire product line on display. Of interest were several small Urban Pals set up as neck knives. Ideal for women! Lynn’s blades are second to none! I carry several constantly.
My good friends, Pete Pi and Mike Shovel, were on hand at the Cor-Bon display. Their DPX line is of particular interest. Cor-Bon’s 223 DPX address the penetration issue for that caliber. It goes right through car doors, unlike standard hardball. Excellent police round, as we’re always getting into gunfights around cars. A 30 Carbine DPX will be out shortly, and it will go through car doors too! Powerball is also going strong and is the pistol round I prefer for general carry.
Beretta had their pistols on more prominent display than was the case last year. I noticed there were no “D” model (self-decocking) pistols shown, only the “F” and “G” models. The Beretta 9000 series compact pistols have a decocking lever that works backwards from all others. One must push the lever up to decock. I was unable to do it with one thumb.
Dave Skinner at STI had a compact series of his “LS” pistols on display. Dave makes the thinnest 40S&W pistol available. It is a delight to carry.
Friends, Jens Heider and Joe Bergoron, at the S&W display, showed me their current line. They’re still making Sigmas. Still making P99s, although the version with the decocking button on the top, rear of the slide is now out of production. The only model produced now is the 990L, which is self-decocking. S&W’s new police duty pistol was not ready for the show. It will be out later this year. If you want to carry a 1911, look at their Scandium Commander model. Really light!
Jeneanne Duncan at Aimpoint showed me their new M3. The illuminated dot can be turned off in previous models. With the M3, it is always “on,” so that when you throw the rifle up to your shoulder, you’ll always see a dot. Intensity is still adjustable.
Surefire had an impressive of small flashlights. I still like the “Aviator” best of all. Gerber is also making small flashlights these, and I like them too.
Friends, Steve and Scott Camp, of Betterbilt were on hand this year displaying their wonderful “Rotator” steel target. They also had their “Safe Direction” kevlar gun rugs, something I highly recommend for anyone who carries regularly.
Dave Surgi, of Invictus Distributing had on display an ingenious gunsafe that fits flush with an interior wall. Camouflaged as an electrical panel, it is a wonderful way to hide guns in a house.
Several friends told me the 6.8mm military round is now a dead issue. Barrett is still making and shipping rifles to a number of special units, and the round has seen good service in Afghanistan. Everyone likes it, but the Pentagon wants to stay with the 223 for the immediate future. Mainline units will not see the 6.8mm any time soon.
More to follow.