1 Jan 07

Living with Guns

Many years ago, while attending The US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, KS, I submitted a paper entitled, “Living With Guns”. In it, I described my sometimes exasperating experiences as an infantry second lieutenant, platoon commander in Vietnam in 1968. I observed that, during that War, although we all had been theoretically trained to operate small arms, nobody had ever taught us how to actually live with them!

I submitted that individual soldiers need experiences that prepare them, not only to operate, but to actually live with, loaded guns during prolonged periods of intermittent (and sometimes continuous) fighting. One may argue that such training is dangerous, but without it I contended, our soldiers will continue to accidentally shoot themselves and each other with distressing frequency the moment they enter an area of active fighting.

In Country, I had personally observed many cases of careless gun handling, several of which resulted in NDs, and, as is the case currently in Iraq, there was no shortage of incidents where an ND caused a serious injury or death to one of our own people. However, despite the fact that such catastrophes were scandalously common, they usually elicited little more than a sarcastic chuckle (or a yawn) from battalion-level brass. They seemed to write off such episodes as “inevitable”. They would remark, “These people have been trained in safe gun-handling. It shouldn’t happen”.

But it kept happening, and it struck me that sterile, abstract training in “safe gun-handling” did not suffice to prevent it.

In Stateside training, individual soldiers were rarely provided with experiences that prepared them for when they would have loaded and ready-to-fire rifles and pistols with them constantly. It was not enough, I contended, to merely train people how to operate small arms, then hysterically snatch the guns away and lock them up in a vault the other ninety-nine percent of the time.

In training, for example, we never actually carried loaded weapons. We handled them, but they were always empty except on those rare occasions where we actually fired live ammunition on a range. But, even on the range, circumstances were stilted, artificial, and largely theoretical.
However, the moment I arrived in Vietnam, we not only carried loaded firearms, but we slept with them, ate with them, went to the head with them, flew on aircraft with them, etc. Your small arms were your constant companions, and they were always loaded and ready to fire. All that we had to learn on the fly! None of it was ever even mentioned during our Stateside “training.”

We learned the hard way that is does not suffice merely to train people how to operate guns. We have to make them into professional gunmen, not just gun-operators, but gunmen! Anyway, if you’re familiar with USMC and US Army bureaucracy, you can imagine how far my ideas got. Even today, this issue has still not been addressed in any meaningful way. Soldiers today are instructed to be (on rare occasions) warriors, and naive sheep the rest of the time.

In short, incompetent small-arms training was, and still is, “condition-based.” It is predicated on the false notion that unloaded guns are safe, and loaded guns are dangerous. Within this mendacious system of thinking, “safe” guns are routinely handled carelessly (no matter what you try to say to the contrary), and “dangerous” guns (on those rare occasions when they are actually handled at all), are apprehensively treated as if they were coated with poison. The rest of the time, we carry sterile guns and pretend to be armed.

Conversely, competent small-arms training is “system-based.” There is only one system for handling guns, as all guns are considered dangerous, all the time. All guns are handled the same way, regardless of their ostensible condition. In other words, a gun’s suppositional “condition” has no bearing on the way it is handled. We have no safe guns! We carry loaded guns on our person at every opportunity, taking full advantage of every chance to experience “being armed” (not just pretending).

In exactly the say way, sharp knives are not only more useful than dull ones, they are actually safer, once people learn to handle them correctly.

This fearless and audacious system of gun-handling, combined with good judgement, and common sense will enable you to live with loaded guns daily and never experience even your first accident. Professional gunmen are distinguished from pretenders by four main points.

(1) We’re always armed. Yes, we really live it.

(1) We don’t have accidents with guns.

(2) We don’t hesitate

(3) We don’t miss.

Unfortunately, Western Civilization, even its armies, is rapidly deteriorating from a proud foundation of logic, reason and courage to an unenlightened state of nescient fear and ignorant mysticism, truly a recipe for chaos. Details may differ slightly, but the philosophy is indistinguishable from the Dark Ages.

As HL Mencken put it, “I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. Of course, this makes me forever ineligible for public office.”

… and, it would seem, promotion!



3 Jan 07

How far we’ve come!

During the Falkland Islands Campaign of the early 1980s, which pitted inept Argentine dictator, Leopoldo Galtieri, against Britain’s Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, a hastily-organized BEF (British Expeditionary Force), after an eight-thousand mile journey, was ultimately victorious in reclaiming the Islands, but sustained significant losses to their invasion fleet, losses that would have been far more substantial had the Argentine Air Force figured out that they had to modify bombs for close-in attack on ships!

A number of British capitol ships sustained direct hits from bombs dropped by low-flying Argentine attack aircraft. In fact, the HMS Plymouth was hit by four Argentine bombs in a single raid, any one of which would have surely sent her to the bottom. However, all four failed to detonate and were subsequently sterilized by EOD personnel.

The problem was in the fuses. They needed to be modified for low-level attack, but weren’t. As a result, they faithfully struck their targets, having failed to arm! Analysis after active conflict revealed that a substantial percentage of Argentine bombs thus dropped from attack aircraft had hit British ships directly, but had failed to detonate, as many as two out of three! Had that ratio been reversed, the British fleet would have doubtless been forced to withdraw without accomplishing their mission.

Like all overconfident autocrats, Galtieri, fancied himself a military genius. Hence, nearly all communication between his fighting forces and himself was one-way. His officers learned to keep facts, particularly unhappy ones, to themselves. Under such a system, vital intelligence rarely makes its way up the food chain, and that is exactly what happened here. Courageous Argentine pilots quickly and correctly analyzed the problem, but the information never found its way past the rank of major. The war ended before corrective action could be taken, and history, once again, turned upon the most curious and banal of details!

The BBC found out about the Argentine bomb/fuse problem early-on, from interviews with ships’ crew members, but were cautioned by the commander of the BEF and the Thatcher Administration not to disclose it through news broadcasts, lest this vital information get to the ears of the enemy. However, while the War was still in progress, they did it anyway, releasing a muddled report that mentioned a great number of unexploded Argentine bombs!

When they found out about this reckless act, many incensed British servicemen regarded it as an act of treason and demanded those responsible be arrested, as the Argentines could have used the information to their immediate benefit, causing the loss of thousands of British lives. As it turns out, Argentines never solved the riddle in time anyway, and the entire issue rapidly withered away.

How different today! Now, we routinely see smug reporters and anchors alike, from virtually all American news networks, practically getting an erection as they gleefully report on American casualties and nightly join in a dreary chorus calling for the ignominious defeat of all American forces! Any and all vital, tactical information is immediately and faithfully passed on to the enemy. And, none of these so-called “journalists” apparently have the slightest concern that they will one day be called to account for their treachery.

Our enemies must take great comfort. I’m sure Galtieri himself wonders, even today, why he never got such widespread support from his enemy’s own journalists!



4 Jan 07

At a just-concluded terrorism seminar in NJ, colleagues Dave Grossman and Chuck Remsberg warned of the high likelihood of terrorist attacks on American schools and school children. Terrorists’ predicable goal is to inflict maximum mayhem and death as a way of bursting onto our national headlines, just as was the case at Beslan. However, what struck me most was the terrorists’ thinking process in selecting targets. They may be crazy, but they’re not stupid:

Unlikely targets include schools in states that have “Shall-Issue” CCW laws, where parents dropping off and picking up children, or attending school activities may well be armed (contemptuously ignoring stupid “no-guns-on-school-property” rules) and likely to enthusiastically engage, with lethal force, those attempting to harm their children. Terrorists find that eventuality most inconvenient!

Unlikely targets also include schools where emergency planning has a high priority in the community, is well publicized, and visibly-armed police officers are continuously present and maintain high profile.

Likely targets include isolated schools in rural areas, where law enforcement and EMS resources are stretched thin and are easily overwhelmed and where bad, winter weather makes travel difficult, slowing and complicating response.

Likely targets include affluent school districts in big, metro areas or posh suburbs, where “emergency planning” is a subject so unpleasant that the community just doesn’t want it discussed, even among police. These are the same places where police beat cars contain neither rifles nor shotguns, and even uniformed police are supposed to be unarmed on school property. Let’s just call it “Lemming City!”

Likely targets include school districts close to the Mexican or Canadian border, where entire teams of terrorists can easily slip into the USA, achieve their goals, and then slip back across the border where they’ll probably escape capture indefinitely.

I wonder if it will take a Beslan-like incident to persuade Americans that children need to be continuously protected by armed adults. It is time for Americans parents, teachers, and school administrators to get tough or die!

“The meek may inherit the Earth, but they do it in small plots!”



5 Jan 07

Yesterday, a heavily-armed gang of Mexican drug traffickers “overran” a US Border Patrol site, on US soil, somewhere in Arizona. The site was manned by uniformed, US National Guardsmen, all without weapons or ammunition. Guardsmen did the only thing they could. They fled for their lives, amid, I’m sure, the unrestrained laughter of the Mexican invaders! These are the same unarmed/unloaded Guardsmen who mockingly “patrolled” airports in the wake of 9/11.

What kind of idiot put these poor lads in the middle of “drug alley” with no way, much less a directive, to protect themselves? Is the president and congress so frightened of “negative publicity” associated with our brave lads shooting foreign invaders, that they would rather see our own people, defenseless and helpless, shot to death? And this, under a Republican administration? The lives and health of our soldiers obviously mean nothing to their (so-called) commanders and everyone else comfortably up the food-chain and personally out of harm’s way.

This would be an absolute disgrace for any nation, much less the world’s only (so-called) super-power. I’m sure the Mexican government and Mexican drug traffickers alike regard it as hilarious. We have become a laughing stock! Violent, Mexican criminals are absolutely confident, despite occasional empty bluster from some congressional gasbag, in response to every such provocation, our government won’t do much more than scratch itself!

Who live in that part of the country, Federal agents, Guardsmen, and private citizens alike, and who still foolishly believe our Federal Government is going to so much as lift a finger to protect them and their property are delusional. They’re on their own!

Two-thousand years ago, Seneca put it this way:

“The worm that destroys you is the constant temptation to seek approval from your critics.”

Nothing much has changed. For civilizations, life is short. Shorter for some than others!



7 Jan 07

“This is not Poland! It cannot happen here!” Those are the words, in 1940, of French General Maurice Gamelin as he disdainfully discounted the possibility of France being overrun by Germans, as had Poland less than a year earlier. History would shortly prove itself a cruel and humiliating critic of Gamelin and his naive colleagues.

I wonder how long we, in our time, are going to have to wait to see a permanent, Mexican, military presence on US soil along our southern, so-called “border.” It will all start with the customary tongue-in-cheek denials we’re learned to expect from sleazy government spokesman. As a loosely-held Washington secret, it will finally burst onto the headlines, and the same spokesmen will then sheepishly admit they were lying all along. But, of course, the media has long-since assured us that lying by public officials is okay, so long as it is sincere.

The Mexican military will assure safe passage of illegal aliens and drug dealers and will dare us to do anything about it, or their conspicuous presences on US soil. Of course, we’ll dither and ultimately do nothing, as a literal army of mealy-mouthed government lawyer/apologists, enthusiastically supported by the media, literally trip over themselves making excuses for the Mexicans, assuring us it is all really okay.

The Mexicans will occasionally shoot American citizens who get too close, but all gunfire will be one-way (of course, it is now), as every Border Patrol agent will be petrified of being the one to “start an incident.” After all, when BP agents shoot, they go to jail. That threshold has already been established!

So long as illegal aliens can be easily manipulated and their votes shamelessly purchased, our current generation of amoral politicians will welcome them with open arms. The future of the Republic is something that seems to concern no one, particularly modern-day Gamelins and Chamberlains.

Freud described it this way: “Neurotics complain vehemently of their illness, yet defend it as a lioness her young, the instant you offer them a cure. And, pointing out to them this obvious contradiction is an exercise in futility!”



10 Jan 07

Tonight, our President outlined his plan for Iraq and the Middle-East, bowing to leftist critics in the media who hate his guts (and will continue to do so no matter what he does) and earnestly desire for him and the entire Republic to fail and go down to defeat and disgrace for no other reason than the seizure of political power by their favorite political party. Conversely, when that party is in power, the media will predictably apologize extravagantly for every one of their blunders and misdeeds.

In 1863, an exasperated Robert E Lee put it this way:

“It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I’m readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I’ll, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials- after the fact.”

Righteous character must come before either personal will or intellect. Without character, intellect is unfocused and pointless, and, without character, will is dangerous!

It’s a lesson learned, sooner or later, by all who are in command!



11 Jan 07

First day of the 2007 SHOT Show in Orlando, FL:

I was told that the Orlando version of the SHOT Show (at Orlando, FL’s huge Convention Center) was going to be smaller that when it is held in Las Vegas, NV as it was last year. If that is true, it isn’t smaller by much! I just finished a exhausting first day, seeing as much as I could and visiting with as many of my friends and colleagues in this business as was humanly possible!

Here is what caught my eye:

SIG’s new 223 fighting rifle, the M556, is about to start shipping. Copies I saw were very nice. Light, short, handy!

SIG’s 229, 226, 220, and 239 pistols in the manually-decocking (DA/SA) version will soon be available with SIG’s new “short reset” trigger. It is a vast improvement over the old system. Second shots are now available via a significantly shortened reset, and the reset itself is distinct and crisp. This represents an important product upgrade!

Glock had their new 21SF on display. Upper is the same as a G21, but the grip is significantly smaller and slimmer. Basically, it’s a G21 with a ROBAR grip-reduction and ambidextrous magazine release! The G21 has always been too big for my hand. The G21SF fits just fine! G21SF magazines will work in the G21, but not the other way around. In the entire Glock display, I didn’t see any pistol with a manual safety. If one exists, they’re not showing it!

STI had on display their new “Escort,” a Detonics-sized, aluminum-framed 1911carry pistol. Short and light, this is a nice piece!

Lasermax has a new, clamp-on, extremely compact “Uni-max” laser. Clamps on any rail and switch and power source are all self-contained! When you want to equip nearly any pistol, rifle, or shotgun with a laser, thus unit will go right on, and you’ll be up and running in a few seconds! Lasermax’s laser is pulsating and not solid. I think this is a significant factor, as it is instantly distinguishable for the solid laser commonly associated with pointers and Tasers.

The Taurus 24/7 is basically a Glock with a manual safety, but it is compact, smooth, and light. Nice carry gun. The trigger has a long, mushy take-up, but the reset is short and crisp. Perfectly useable! When I carry it, I just leave the manual safety in the “off” position, essentially pretending it’s not there! Taurus is now also making a nice, five-shot (38Spl), J-frame, scandium snubby. They make the same thing in magnesium, but the scandium model is the more carryable.

S&W has greatly expanded the M&P pistol line, now including models in 357SIG and 45ACP. The M&P’s interchangeable grip panels make this a most adaptable pistol, and the feature is a great boon to law enforcement, because nearly any hand size can be instantly accommodated. The 45ACP model features an optional, manual safety an also optional integral lock. Again, I would have no interest in either option on my copy. The M&P is now clearly S&W’s flagship pistol. I love mine! Several Sigma pistols were still on display, but off in a corner. No P99s were to be seen! S&W’s new Turkish-made M1000 gas shotgun was on display, but no law-enforcement version has yet been produced. All copies on display were sporting guns.

Beretta’s rotary-barrel PX4 series has been expanded, now including a compact model that is very compact! Models in 9mm, 40S&W, and 45ACP were on display, all with interchangeable grip panels. Trigger systems available include the “F” (two-stage, manual decocking), “G” (single-stage, manual decocking, “D” (self-decocking, but long and heavy), and “C” (self-decocking, lighter and shorter). The copy that I carry is the “C,” system, and that is the one I recommend for serious purposes. The RX4 223 rifle, available later this year, was also on display. Like the CX4 Carbine, it is smooth, short, completely ambidextrous, and extremely user-friendly. Same robust gas system as on the Benelli M4 shotgun.

Benelli’s Super-nova pump shotgun is now available in a law-enforcement version. Nice gun and legitimate competition for the excellent Remington 870 and Mossberg 590. Benelli’s impulse/recoil M2 and gas-operated M4 shotguns, also in law-enforcement versions, were featured prominently. Unless, you’re going to hang a lot of accessories off your shotgun, the M2 runs just fine!

My friends at Cor-Bon tell me the DPX line, now available in nearly every caliber I’ve ever heard of, had become their flagship round, eclipsing Power-Ball. Winchester’s SXT, Hornady’s, Federal’s, and Black Hill expanding pistol bullets all work fine, but only DPX goes through car doors and still expands when it hits soft tissue on the other side. That is why I carry it!

FN’s FNP40/DAO is an acceptable pistol, but it doesn’t feature any option like Beretta’s “C” trigger. Useable gun, but its long, heavy trigger pull and long reset make it basically a flat revolver. The FNP does feature interchangeable grip panels, but only two options, not three like S&W and Beretta.

Action target is making the first genuine improvement in the Pepper Popper since its invention! Their “Fall-Forward Pepper Popper” features a locking gate that holds the leaning-forward Popper upright. A bullet striking the plate pushes it back just enough to release it to fall forward. So, when hit, it falls forward, not backward. Ingenius!

Detonics’ “Combat Master,” a copy of which I personally carry every day in my wonderful Lou Alessi shoulder holster, was on display as well as their 9-11-01, full-sized 1911.

EOTech’s new 553 model is a good way to go! Compact, rugged, and reliable, the 553 represents the latest product improvement. I prefer mine forward-mounted, as, when fighting, I don’t like objects close to my face.

Kahr displayed their TP45, P45, and the new PM45, the smallest 45ACP pistol I’ve ever seen! For 45ACP fans, this is going to be a wonderful carry gun! Their M1 Carbine, now with a flat bolt, is very smooth and nicely finished.

DSA’s wonderful FALs now feature an M-16, adjustable rear sight! Rugged and well protected, this is a system familiar to all soldiers and Marines. Also now available is Bob Weir’s collapsible/extendable stock, which greatly enhances compactness and adaptability to varying body sizes.

We saw Kel-Tec’s new PF9, a single-column, compact 9mm pistol on the Kel-Tec pattern. Flat and compact for concealed carry. Kel-Tec is also shortly introducing a 308 caliber, bullpup rifle, the RFB. In order to accommodate left-handed shooters, empties eject out the front! The represents an exciting development!

Finally, Fobus now makes a locking, paddle holster. It features a button on the inside that is pushed forward to release the pistol. The pistol automatically locks in place as it is holstered, much as is the case with Blackhawk’s Serpa holster. I have concerns with Paddle holsters staying in place, but this new Fobus design is interesting.

Tomorrow, I’ll be exploring for a second day!



12 Jan 07

Second Day at the 2007 Shot Show:

More things of note:

ATS (Advanced Training Systems) is now making a wonderful self-contained shoot-house, using a composite rubber material to absorb bullet spatter. Quite impressive!

John Ring at Ring’s has the most complete line of prop guns available. He has copies of guns I’ve never heard of! We use John’s simulators all the time.

My old friend, Lynn Thompson, at Cold Steel now makes a six-inch Ti-Lite. Fits in the pocket and opens in a flash. The other new product I like is the “Urban Dart,” A neck-knife/dagger that is easy to carry and fast into action. Lynn’s product line is unequaled in the industry!

A company called FlashFog makes a fog generator that can fill an entire room with dense fog within a few seconds. I stepped into their test booth, and the stuff is like pea soup! What a great way to “discourage” people from entering a building!

RRA is currently offering a “two-stage” trigger on all their AR-15s. The original, Stoner trigger has no take-up and breaks at six to eight pounds. RRA’s two-stage feature simply adds take-up to the trigger, which now breaks a four to five pounds. Target competitors like the feature. I don’t! My preference is the standard, plain-vanilla, original Stoner trigger system, for reason discussed at length in previous Quips.

Erny Emerson is now making the “Snubby” folder. It has a full-length handle, but only a 2 3/4 inch blade. It is designed for NY City residents who are prohibited from carrying a knife with a blade longer than three inches, yet who want the full control of a handle that completely fits their hands. I never would have thought of it!

Friend, Wayne Novak, has added a notch into the face of his famous wedge, rear, pistol sight. It’s called the “X-Sight.” The purpose is to provide a perch that one may use to cycle the slide on clothing or the heel of a shoe when the support hand is not available. With his heretofore standard, wedge sight, successfully performing the maneuver is extremely difficult.

Taser featured the new “C2,” non-police version of their famous product. The idea is to fire the weapon at an attacker, then pitch the whole thing and run away. The famous “five-second ride,” standard in the law-enforcement version, has been expanded to thirty seconds with the C2, to allow plenty of time to disengage completely. The unit costs $350.00, but when it is actually used, all the owner need do is send a copy of the police report to the company, and the entire unit will be replaced at no additional charge! Other new products include a 12-ga shotgun shell that fires a self-contained Taser unit a suspect (out to fifty meters) and then discharges when it strikes. No wires! It is called the “X-Rep.” The “T-Rad,” a Taser/Claymore mine is also to be marketed shortly. The company is active!

Blackhawk is now making their own line of prop guns, gray and bright orange. The SERPA holster is now available in a clever, level III version and a shoulder holster! Blackhawk is also now making their own weaponlight, the XIPHOS, which features the same pullulating strobe as the Gladius flashlight.

A company called CCF Raceframes is making an all-metal, replacement frame for some models of Glock pistols. The resultant pistol is surely stiff and robust, but heavy!

Several companies were on hand displaying gas-piston, conversion kits for the AR-15 rifle, in a perpetual attempt to address the “crap-in-the-receiver” issue inherent to the Stoner/gas system. The first of these appeared thirty years ago, and it seems new ones come along every SHOT Show. I surely sympathize with the issue, but all of them, including the ones I saw today, are frail, tiny, and insubstantial. It strikes me that the “cure” is worse than the disease!

More tomorrow!



13 Jan 07

Third Day as the 2007 SHOT Show:

A number of friends have asked me to find out if SIG’s new “short-reset” trigger will be retrofittable on existing SIG pistols. So, I asked my friends at SIG this morning, and the answer is “Yes!” The short-reset trigger can be installed at the factory, by SIG armorers, on existing 226s, 229s. And 220s. $100.00, and turn-around is thirty days. Recommended!

SIG is also now producing Airsoft copies of all their pistols. Everything works, including the decocking lever!

Remington has on display a copy of their new 870 Riot Shotgun in twenty-gauge! Much better choice for small-statured shooters than any twelve-gauge shotgun, even with wimpy ammunition.

Aimpoint introduced their new M4 “Micro.” Only two inches long and light! This is a vast improvement over anything they’ve produced up until now. Same effect, but much less weight and bulk. I’ll have a copy on one of my rifles shortly!

Friend, John Klein, at Sage is now making a replacement chassis for not only the M-14, but for the Ruger Mini-14 and the M1 Garand as well. Pistol grip, telescoping stock, and rails. Brings both rifles right up to speed!

Among the nicest AR-15s on display was Sabre’s “Pro.” It has everything I want on a serious rifle and nothing I don’t.

A resurrected Charter Arms has on display a left-handed revolver, called the “Southpaw!” Cylinder release button is actually on the right side of the frame, and the cylinder swings out to the right. First of its kind that I know of. Charter Arms revolvers look and feel as they always have.

ASP is producing a wonderful line of small flashlights, all employing LEDs. Brightness is unbelievable! They’re also producing folding/lockable/hinged handcuffs! All hinged handcuffs keep both cuffs continuously on the same plane, but these can also be locked apart. Quite an innovation!

Friend, Alex Robinson, at Robinson Arms tells me the 6.8mm version of his famous XCR will be available toward the end of this year. I’ll have one of the first copies! The 6.8mm is a vastly superior round to the 223, in every way. This iteration of the XCR will be a genuine, battle rifle!

Steyr’s famous AUG may soon be made and marketed in the USA! My friends at Steyr tell me they are currently ready to go with domestic production. Just awaiting a final decision from the head of Steyr-dom. We’ve been hearing whispers about this for over a year now. Whoever Steyr’s president is needs to either paint or get off the ladder!

Magpul has on display a wonderful M-16 magazine, best example I’ve ever seen, and reasonably priced. I’m going to get a supply!

I received details today from friends in the ammunition industry on a recent ND that resulted in a serious, self-inflicted injury. A G19, carried loose in a back, pants pocket, discharged when the owner attempted to withdraw a handkerchief from the same pocket! The single round, Cor-Bon DPX, struck the owner in the top of his right foot, and performed as advertised! Not much of the foot was salvageable.

The lesson here is: when you carry a concealed pistol, particularly an autoloader, carry it in a high-quality holster, not rattling around at the bottom of a pocket or handbag! When pistols are carried, the trigger and trigger guard need to be covered, and the pistol needs to be held in position rigidly and securely. Exposed triggers and unsecured pistols combine to set one up for disaster, as we see!

Tomorrow is the last day of the Show, and there are a few more folks I need to talk with. More



14 Jan 07

2007 SHOT Show, last day!

Many have asked if the new C2, non-law-enforcement version of the Taser will be sold in California. I asked the Taser folks about that today, and the answer is “Yes!” Only seven states have laws banning non-law-enforcement ownership and use of ERDs (Electronic Restraint Devices). Hawaii, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and four others. CA is not among them!

Many are curious with regard to Remington’s 20ga 870 riot shotgun. The copy on display at Remington’s booth has a four-shot magazine tube, plus a Remington-made, two-shot extension. So, the magazine holds a total of six rounds. Nice defensive shotgun for small-statured people!

Magpul’s new 30-round, M-16 magazine that I took a liking to is plastic. It is very well done and retails at $12.00. Hard to beat!

Leupold now also has a zero-magnification, non-battery, low-profile aiming device called the Prismatic. Lots of good light-gathering ability like all Leupold optics. Reticle is a circle and a dot, and the unit is designed for forward-mounting and long eye-relief. I may have to install a copy on one of my military rifles!

Century arms is making a US version of the Israeli Galil in 223. I handled a copy today, and it looks good to me! Excellent iteration of the Kalashnikov and a nice car-gun.

First Choice Body Armor had on display their MUST police ballistic shield. It is the lightest shield I’ve ever handled that is still IIIA. I was able to hold and deftly maneuver it using only my left arm. Amazing!

There are many other products I could have mentioned, but I tried to confine myself to what I consider most significant. Next year’s SHOT Show will be at the same time, but in Las Vegas, NV!



17 Jan 07

I found it curious that the massive Conference Center in Orlando, FL, where this year’s SHOT Show was recently held, ostensibly prohibits concealed guns anywhere on the premises. This admonition was dutifully passed on to exhibitors and attendees alike by SHOT Show brass, all with a straight face. It struck me, and many others, that this represents a grotesque contradiction with the professed philosophy of SHOT Show management. It is, after all, the show that self-professes to symbolize “everything we stand for.” They promote gun ownership, but they surely don’t trust anybody who has one! In any event, as with all trade shows, it’s a “soft rule” that was ignored by most people I know.

“Being armed” is still not practiced by, and is indeed fear-engendering to, a large segment of the American population, even many professing to be in our Camp.

I like the way my friend Dave Kahn puts it:

“The proposition at debate is a socio-political one: is it possible and practicable to maintain a comfortable and reasonably secure social order with lethal weapons not only ubiquitously present, but in a high state of readiness? Naive grasseaters can’t imagine how it can be so, never mind how they themselves could be capable of doing it. Yet, professional gunmen do it routinely.”

I suspect, in a civilization-in-decline, that actively promotes learned-helplessness and perpetual dependency, we’ll continue to see people, motivated by malignant insecurity, gravitating to our side, but reluctant to abandon deep-seated, grasseater habits, generating many obvious, indeed hilarious, contradictions, as illustrated in the foregoing.

When people are paid to “be poor,” we should not be astonished when we find ourselves inundated with “poor” people. In the same way, we are suddenly awash with “victims” when achieving that status brings reward from the government, or farmers, when paid by the state not to produce, mysteriously become non-productive. It is an “enigma” only to the politically naive.



22 Jan 07

This news from a friend with the LAPD today:

“… suspect had been detained, arrested, questioned, searched, and handcuffed (rear). The suspect subsequently pulled a small pistol from the rear of his waist-band and was able to fire at our uniformed officers who were standing next to him. One of our officers was hit twice. One round was stopped by his ballistic garment. The other did some internal damage, but the officer is likely to recover fully. The suspect was immediately shot to death. He was DRT.


Comment: Happily, this sort of incident is relatively rare, but hurried, cursory searches in the field often fail to detect deadly weapons, particularly when officers performing the search have a low expectation of finding anything dangerous. In most cases, the suspect takes no offensive action anyway, but sometimes, as in this case, he does. These officers were lucky, and I’m sure, for them at least, the lesson has been learned. Next time, among those for whom the lesson has not been learned, the price may be higher!

Lesson: Don’t look for dangerous items, not expecting to find any! Don’t confront desperate people, not expecting them to be violently malignant, even when it is tantamount to suicide! Being outsmarted is forgivable. Being “surprised” is not!



24 Jan 07

Comments on team tactics, from an instructor in WI:

We conducted a large-scale, building-search/response scenario for suburban officers, which involved most PDs in the county. I was a terrorist for two days, and observed:

Teams that were aggressive, coordinated, decisive, and that moved quickly were difficult to pin down and engage successfully. Conversely, teams with confused, indecisive leadership, that dithered and hesitated, were quickly and effortlessly wiped out.

I was monotonously successful in hitting the inadvertently exposed knees, feet, and elbows of officers who thought they were using cover competently. When thus struck, officers were astonished. They had no idea that these body parts were (unnecessarily) exposed.

Officers who were trained to shoot rifles and shotguns off either shoulder had a significant advantage, as they were able to effectively use either left or right-hand cover. Those who, when shooting from left-hand cover, continued to support the rifle from the right shoulder were easily picked off.

Teams that chicken-walked in the open seldom lived through the first minute. Teams that bounded aggressively from cover to cover were usually successful.

Comment: The goal when using cover is not to eliminate exposure. It is to eliminate unnecessary/unproductive exposure. Some exposure is going to be necessary, and risk will always attach to it.

Building clearing is no place for confused dithering! When you think you must go in, your movement must be coordinated and aggressive if there is to be any change of success.

Learn to shoot left-handed!



26 Jan 07

I’ll be voting for Steve Schreiner for the NRA Board. Like me, he hunts with military rifles and carries regularly, and his interest in firearms is not limited to competitive contests and collecting. Good guy!



28 Jan 07

Range Fire!

Last week, I conducted a training course at a municipal, police, indoor range in the Midwest. This range is an up-to-date one, with good ventilation and a modern, rubber bullet trap. In addition, it is well maintained and swept up after each use.

As a group of students were shooting from the fifteen-meter line, we all suddenly noticed flames erupting from a downrange joint in the concrete floor. The flames followed the crack from left to right, like a burning fuse, leaping into the air twelve inches at times! Several resourceful officers grabbed fire extinguishers, but they were ultimately unneeded. The flames died out within less than a minute. With the excitement over, our training resumed.

When pistols, rifles, and shotguns discharge, not all powdered propellant contained within the cartridge actually burns. In fact, a significant portion does not. Instead, scorched but unburnt, it is jettisoned from the muzzle along with the bullet. On outdoor ranges, the phenomenon is mostly a non-issue, but on indoor ranges, unburnt powder accumulates on the deck and, mixed in with other debris, it is usually identified at “dirt” and swept up. On this particular range, such “dirt” is not allowed to accumulate and is promptly carried away, but even thorough sweeping does not get unburnt powder out of joints and cracks in the concrete floor. I’m not sure what ignited it, but in this case there was enough accumulated, unburnt powder to burn its way along the joint for three meters or so.

On heavily-used, commercial ranges, large piles of such “dirt” are sometimes allowed to accumulate in edges and corners, as well as concrete joints. That practice engenders an extremely dangerous circumstance and has caused more than one such range to burn to the ground!

In order to prevent these fires, indoor ranges need to be swept regularly, but, in addition, they need to be periodically vacuumed, particularly edges, corners, cracks, and joints. That is the only way unburnt powder can be completely removed from places it likes to accumulate. This job is best left to companies who specialize in this kind of cleaning.

“Range fires” sound incredulous, until you’ve seen one for yourself!



28 Jan 07

Military Rifle Effectiveness

In an article in the current issue of Infantry Magazine, authors were assigned the task of articulating the current party-line with regard to continued lack of confidence at the ground level in the military’s M855 “62gr green-tip” 223 round, still being issued.

We are assured that extensive re-testing has recently been completed in response to chronic complaints from the field. However, most such complaints are quickly dismissed as resulting from “inexperience” and “hazy recollections.”

We are then told that all resultant testing only addressed close-range, exposed human targets (fifty meters maximum) that are unprotected by cover, ignoring the 223’s (1) lack of acceptable terminal effect beyond 150m and (2) chronic lack of ability to penetrate commonly-used objects (like car doors) that the enemy uses for cover- the twin issues that are at the heart of complaints about this caliber and have for the past forty years. Government “studies” typically miss the point!

Authors went on to admonish us all that we need to be accurate shooters. No problem with that, but they then advocated “controlled-pairs” for engaging enemy soldiers. Funny, no one ever suggested the necessity of any such multiple-shot technique when we were using M-14s, did they? Routinely firing “controlled-pairs” reduces a 28-round magazine to a 14-round one and effectively halves one’s ammunition supply.

In conclusion, we are assured that inveterate complaints about the 223 round’s dismal failure as a main, battle caliber are merely “myth and superstition.” The Stoner rifle in 223 caliber is the “best… available” we are told. Then, almost as an aside, it is sheepishly admitted that ineffectiveness at long range and second-rate penetration really are problems with this combination and that “something even better” may come along soon.

Well, it could hardly be worse! The replacement forty years ago of heavy-caliber, main-battle-rifles, like the M14 and FAL, with light rifles in varmint calibers was, among other things, an attempt by “just-tech” types to degrade the dignity and potency of the individual soldier and Marine, when it has been the heroism and gritty determination of the individual soldier and Marine that has consistently turned the tide of battle since this nation began! It is a forty-year old, procurement mistake, and all the trumped-up “studies” in the world will fail to convince soldiers and Marines in the field who are obliged to believe their own eyes!

The 223 round may be adequate for domestic, personal defense and domestic policing. A convincing argument could even be made for its military suitability in rear-area defense. But, as a main-battle-caliber, its glaring inadequacy is obvious to all but a few, party-lines and party-liners notwithstanding!



29 Jan 07

Interesting conclusions from an Instructor on the West Coast:

“At this month’s Airsoft session, the subject was, ‘Confronting someone who is visibly armed with a slung rifle or shotgun, while yourself armed only with a concealed pistol.’

The person with a rifle may be a legitimate hunter who has inadvertently strayed onto private land, a drunk shooting tin cans in an inappropriate place, or a person of unknown intent in the context of a natural disaster. We simulated all three! Our ‘rifle’ was a realistic-looking Airsoft Kalashnikov.

Here are some things we learned:

Someone with a rifle slung with muzzle up represents far less of a threat than does someone with his rifle slung muzzle down! When the rifle is slung with the muzzle up, unslinging and getting it into a legitimate firing position is slow and clumsy, and, during the process, the rifleman is extremely vulnerable to close attack.

When the rifle is slung with the muzzle down, deployment is smoother, much faster, and far more difficult to counteract.

The best ways to confront a person equipped with a slung rifle is (1) at conversational range, or (2) at distance and from behind adequate cover.

When you are right on top of the suspect, you can control him when he makes a furtive move by deflecting the rifle away and moving aggressively to the side. Pistol rounds delivered in this scenario were invariably to the suspect’s side, shoulder, and back. The rifleman seldom got rounds on target. Getting this close is a dicey proposition no matter what techniques you employ, as the suspect may have other weapons (pistols, blades) that you don’t see. But, when you have no choice, be eminently prepared to go all the way.

Conversely, when a student, in the open, confronted the rifleman at eight to ten meters, it was nearly impossible to out-draw (with his pistol) the rifle as it came off the suspect’s shoulder.

The best plan is to confront the armed suspect with several people, all themselves armed with rifles, at varying angles and distances, and from strong positions of cover. In such a scenario, any rational suspect will immediately perceive his position as untenable and will likely not engage in provocation.”

Lesson: The best confrontation is no confrontation! When you must challenge a visibly armed suspect, do so from the position of greatest strength available. Don’t tempt him (and fate) by providing him with too much of an edge!



30 Jan 07

Shooting incident in SC, from a friend and LEO there:

“Late last week, three of our uniformed, patrol officers responded to a loud, family dispute. After arriving and making contact, our officers managed to calm things down, and the man was eventfully persuaded to leave the house for the balance of the evening. Two of the three officers remained behind, while the third returned to his parked, beat car. The male suspect politely asked if he could put together an overnight bag, and our officers permitted him to go into the master bedroom for this purpose. Less than a minute later, he came out shooting!

With pistol in hand, he shot at both of our officers and his estranged girlfriend. One of his bullets grazed the cheek of one of our officers. The other officer was unhurt, as was the woman. Both officers, and the woman, fled the house, and the suspect chased after them, shooting as he ran.

Hearing the excitement, the officer at the vehicle retrieved his shotgun, just in time as it turns out. At a range of twenty feet, he shot the suspect in the chest with a single round of 00 buckshot. The suspect responded by turning around and retreating back to the house, closing the door behind him.

SWAT was called out, but, when they arrived and probed the house, they found the suspect DRT in the living room. Autopsy revealed that he died as a result of the shotgun wounds.

Our injured officer is expected to recover fully, but may have a sexy scar for a souvenir!

Here are the lessons we are all learning from this incident:

This is not Atlanta! This is the first OIS we’ve experience here in a long time, maybe too long, as perhaps we were all too reluctant to believe that it could happen ‘right here in River City!’ All of us need to be constantly thinking tactically, no matter where we are!

Don’t turn your back on suspects, no matter how penitent or innocuous they appear.

People lie. People have hidden agendas. Who have been violent in the past are probably emotionally irrational/unstable, maybe suicidal/homicidal, and can instantly become violent again.”

I would add:

When you’re being shot at, move!

Beware of bedrooms! Like kitchens, they are full of weapons.

You can’t shoot people “a little bit!” When it is time to shoot, it is time to shoot without delay and ruthlessly, for maximum stopping effect. This isn’t Disneyland!



30 Jan 07

I am on my way to an offshore destination as of tomorrow morning and will be gone and mostly out of touch for nearly all of February. I’ll personally return all messages when I get back to CONUS. Vicki will field messages and mail in the interim, although she is also away right now also, teaching Marines!

Full report when I return!