4 Jan 10

On pocket-pistols, from a friend in WA:

“I picked-up a used Kahr PM9 late last year. Its prior owner was frustrated with its occasional hiccups, but I know many Kahr-owners who say all Kahr pistols require a ‘break-in’ of between two-hundred and five-hundred rounds.

They’re right! After spending a day at Marty Hayes’ wonderful Range in Onalaska, WA, all problems gradually worked themselves out, and the little gun now runs just fine.

My PM9 resides in a Stephen McElroy Pocket-liner. It comfortably disappears in my front pocket. Loaded with CorBon DPX, I am dangerous in non-permissive environments where I work, and I don’t worry about ‘printing.’”

Comment: Friends in the retail gun business tell me that “pocket” pistols are red-hot these days, as increasing numbers of nervous Americans come to the realization that they need to be armed all the time.

S&W Scandium Snubby revolvers, Kahr P380s, and SIG’s P238 do not stay on store shelves for more than a day or two.

Artfully concealing these small pistols, particularly for women, is a much easier task than is the case with bigger guns.

All new guns, regardless of manufacturer, need to be “broken-in” to one degree or another. You should not carry a gun (for serious purposes) in which you have only marginal confidence.

Shoot it now and then. Make sure it runs!

“In the long-run, there is no such thing as luck. However, the ‘short-run’ is often longer than many individual lifetimes!”

Operator’s Axiom



4 Jan 10

More Revelations from Scenario-Based Training, from an Instructor and Colleague:

“I conducted Airsoft, scenario-based training this past weekend with a group of DTI Instructors and students. I set it up my shop (indoors) in low light. Actors were all given rolls to play, but no one knew what rolls were being played by the rest of the participants.

In the first scenario, there were two VCAs, armed with blades, one otherwise-uninvolved eye-witness, one armed citizen (selected for victimization by the VCAs), and one responding police officer, who arrives after all significant events are concluded.

Armed citizen is aggressively stalked and ultimately approached by VCAs, who demand money. One VCA, amid belligerent, verbal threats, lifts his shirt in order to display a large knife in his belt, even referring to it and the damage it can do. He made this threatening display several times. Our armed citizen later said he never saw knives, nor was aware of their presence, until they were actually brandished in the hands of the VCAs, as he was being attacked!

Our armed citizen didn’t even attempt to draw his pistol until both VCAs, knives in hand, charged him! He learned, graphically, the crux of the ‘Tueller Drill” that day! VCAs were in physical contact with him before his first shot was fired.

The exercise continued with the armed citizen wounded, one VCA DRT, and on the ground, and the second VCA running away. Armed citizen, gun still in his hand, stood at the scene, dazed.

Then, police show up! At gunpoint, police command armed citizen to drop his gun. Citizen is then frisked, cuffed, and placed in the back of a marked beat-car.

A ‘witness’ shows up. He is himself a neighborhood punk and gang-member. He says, ‘Some dude just shot my friend,’ loud enough for the armed citizen to hear.

Police go back to the car and question the citizen. He sings like an canary! His high-pitched, gravely-voiced statements to police are disjointed, inarticulate, mostly incomprehensible, and factually incorrect. It is all little more than panicked blather!

Five minutes into it, as he is vainly trying to recall how many shots he fired, it finally dawns on him to take a long breath and say, ‘Officer, I’ll be more than happy to answer the rest of your questions as soon as my lawyer is here.’

Our hero had been through DTI Basic and two of Henk Iverson’s Courses. He knew what he should have done, but even the small amount of pressure we generated in the scenario caused him to unnecessarily hesitate in responding to a deadly attack, and then subsequently blow it with police.”

Comment: The lesson here is that a single exposure to competent training, when it is not regularly reinforced, will not adequately prepare most to skillfully deal with the potentially-lethal encounters that motivated us to go armed and seek training in the first place.

Critical skills must be learned and then regularly exercised. We can’t just “take the pill” and then naively think we’re “good to go” from that point forward. Training is not an “event.” It is a life-long commitment. You’re either “one of us,” or you’re not!

“Lucky fools rarely bear the slightest suspicion that they may be lucky fools”

Nassim Taleb, Poker Player



5 Jan 10

Weapon Maintenance, from a friend and Instructor:

“I bought a Kahr P9 some time ago. My wife and I both used and carried it. We ran it with all brands of high-performance ammunition and, for practice, some pretty wretched junk. That little pistol effortlessly digested all of it, with nary a failure. We both trusted it implicitly!

One day, I decided to ask a well-known pistolsmith to polish the pistol’s trigger linkage, since, while the trigger, as it came from the factory, was certainly north of tolerable, it had an annoying little hitch in its ‘git-along’ that I decided a sophisticated connoisseur such as myself simply shouldn’t have to tolerate!

After his expert ministrations, I couldn’t get the damn thing to run a full magazine (with any of the four I owned, all of which had fed flawlessly beforehand)! In addition, I couldn’t get the situation to improve, even after several thorough cleanings, intermixed with a 250-round break-in.

From that day forward, the pistol never ran satisfactorily again. I finally traded it, at a loss.

My sad lesson: When your business-piece runs just fine, be certain you really need whatever fiddling you’ve decided you have to have done. “True Happiness” may prove far more illusive than you ever imagined!


“But, at my back I always hear
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near
The grave is a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.”

Andrew Marvell



5 Jan 10

Beware of Dangerous People, even at your Doorstep! This from an LEO in the Midwest:

“Yesterday, we had a bank-robbery in our small town. The first one ever at this bank!

Two suspects in ski-masks brandished guns and quickly entered and exited the bank, after receiving several thousand dollars in cash.

Both suspects made it out of the bank before local police arrived, and they fled towards the interstate in a vehicle, but were boxed-in by our marked units before they could reach the on-ramp. They then exited the vehicle and fled on foot into a swamp and subsequently into a residential neighborhood.

We were right behind them, with dogs, but they split up and separately entered two local homes.

One conned his way into a house by convincing the single, male home-owner that he needed to use a phone to call a friend for a ride, and in fact subsequently talked the home-owner into giving him a ride to a local shopping mall. As the vehicle, containing home-owner and suspect, attempted to leave the neighborhood, it was stopped by our marked units, and officers questioning both quickly saw through the phoney story and arrested the suspect, without further incident. The embarrassed home-owner was unhurt, through no fault of his own!

The second suspect entered another residence through an unlocked front door, quickly found the home-owners car keys in his jacket pocket which was hanging near the doorway, and made off in a stolen car! He successfully made it out of the neighborhood and is still at large.

Lessons for me:

Keep doors (home and car) locked!
Keep your electronic security system turned on when you’re not there.
Be armed, even at home.
Don’t engage strangers at your doorstep in conversation, and don’t unlock the door! Tell them that you can’t help them, and that you’re calling police.

Be aware that dangerous, criminal suspects are everywhere, including your doorstep!”


“Opportunity may knock, but seldom nags!”

David Mamet

Now is the time to make important changes in your physical situation and in your personal philosophy, changes that harden you, yours, and your home against criminal violence.

“Hope” is not a strategy!



7 Jan 10

Expectations Low Enough? This from a friend and trainer in SA:

“Our national school results have just been released. Our Education Minister expressed concern that there has been an alarming decline in high-school exam scores. No ‘official’ reason has been offered. However, those of us involved with police training at the grass-roots level know what the problem is.

Our education system has been changed to an ‘outcome-based’ approach. The term sounds lofty, of course, but it has been a disaster! In OBE, a minimum standard is set. Most learners aspire only to that. When failure rates exceed a certain percentage, the predictable bureaucratic reaction is always to lower the standard! When even that low standard produces disappointing results, the process is repeated.

We all know, when government finds something that demonstrably doesn’t work, their enthusiastic reaction is, without fail, to do more of it. With government, and all the swelled heads in it, ‘repentance’ is absolutely unthinkable, as that would involve them being compelled to sheepishly admit that they were wrong, and arrogantly so, to begin with!

In firearms training, we see this flawed philosophy fail consistently. Every time some ignorant manager meddles with our qualification standards (invariably lowering them) because our failure rate is too high, we actually see an increase in failures, as learners no longer have to try so hard.

The underlying theory with OBE is that, when you make standards low enough, you’ll never be disappointed. In other words, ‘standards’ are nonchalantly manipulated with the goal of making bureaucrats look good. In fact, that is the only ‘goal’ that ever sees the light of day. The welfare of students, and the nation’s future, is, of course, the last thing anyone ever thinks about!”

Comment: OBE is just a symptom. As always, government’s fearful attempts to prevent “chips from falling where they may” insulates bureaucrats and weaklings from reality and, in the end, causes them to be deathly afraid of, and violently hateful of, truth in any form. Truth becomes their enemy.

Elected officials should be genuine beacons of truth, never compromising in an effort to pad resumes. But, not today!

Today, votes are purchased, like any other commodity. “Elected” officials are thus, for the most part, sleazy con-men.

“Successful bluffs require an opponent who is (1) deathly afraid of failure and humiliation, and (2) haunted by the aberrancy of you holding a hand superior to his. Thus, nimble bluffs demand a plausible narrative that is, at once, both credible and logical. You want to mislead your opponent, escorting him down a believable (albeit false) path, but avoid embarrassing or bewildering him. When he becomes angry, or inordinately perplexed, your opponent will call your bluff, just to indulge his curiosity, or maintain his dignity!”

Poker Players Axiom

Here is another gambler’s axiom:

“Never play the game too long!”

Today, we’ve played too long, and World History is calling our bluff!



7 Jan 10

Re-emergence of an old scam, from a friend on the East Coast:

“Last week, a woman pulled into a local bank parking-lot, went in, and withdrew several thousand dollars in cash. When she got back into her Mercedes, a smiling ‘good-Samaritan’ approached, waving a stack of bills, and saying, ‘Lady! You dropped this.”

Instead of leaving her window up, locking all doors, and quickly checking, she rolled down her window. He grabbed her arm, took her purse, and fled. Two accomplices then came from behind and quickly slashed all four of her tires. They fled also.

Police arrived shortly thereafter. The trio is still at large. The woman was not hurt, but she was badly shaken, lost her purse, inherited a towing bill, and had to buy a new set of tires!

However, she could have just as easily been murdered!”

Comment: VCAs are working in pairs and groups, especially in big towns. Smart ones select victims carefully. Thus, women, infirm, and elderly need be particularly observant and careful.

In big towns, with paranoid, power-hungry mayors who invariably have anti-gun agendas, VCAs know that most potential victims are not armed. In states and towns where CCW permits are available, there is currently a rush to get them.

In those places, VCAs can’t be quite so smug!



12 Jan 10

Pig Hunting in FL:

Just completed a wild-pig hunting adventure in FL. The ranch where I hunted is huge, and this is the wettest, coolest hunt in this area I’ve ever participated in. Water levels are high, and temperatures struggled to get into the 50s, even in the afternoon.

Today, in the late afternoon, after seeing no pigs all day, I finally got a shot at one as we rounded a bushy area (called a “hammock” locally). We saw three, all already running flat-out. I used my RA/XCR in 7.62×39, and, as always, I was shooting Cor-Bon DPX. My XCR is equipped with a forward-mounted Aimpoint T1, a Blue-Force Gear Vickers two-point sling, a co-axial Laser Devices flashlight and mount, and a green Laxermax, also forward-mounted, under the barrel

I picked the one to my left and tried to get my Aimpoint on him. Range was fifteen meters. We were still moving in our jeep. As my red-dot bounced around on the running pig, I pressed off my first shot. It hit him just behind the shoulder (did not exit), and the DPX bullet, as always, went about it’s deadly work.

I knew my first round had connected, but the pig turned and ran directly away, so, as the jeep finally came to a stop, I stood up and fired three more shots. All three hit, and he kept moving, albeit slower. We headed him off a few seconds later, and I finally anchored him with two more broadside shots. Wild pigs are tough!

He was a seventy-pound male. When we examined him, we discovered both rear legs were broken, as was one front leg. However, my first hit had been the fatal one. Of the three broadside shots, none exited.

My guide and I, as light faded rapidly, went on, and, five minutes later, spotted a heard of five more pigs rooting in the open at a range of three-hundred meters. It took us the next fifteen minutes to sneak up on them on foot.

I finally got within fifty meters, using a hammock for concealment. It was obvious I would not be able to get closer. My guide, armed with a DSA/FAL (“Spartan” Model), also using DPX, was on the other side of the hammock and instructed me to take the first shot.

It was nearly dark, and I picked a big one in the center of the herd that was presented broadside. I was standing, there was nothing to rest the rifle on, and going to a braced/kneeling position would put me below the top of the grass and obscure the target. So, I put the dot on the center of the shoulder and held as steady as I could. The red-dot was too bright, so I dialed it back two clicks.

When the shot broke, I heard a solid impact, and knew I had connected! I caught the link immediately and delivered a second shot. I heard it hit too, and the pig went down. My guide fired two shots at another pig, connecting with the second. I caught my link again and hit that pig also, and he went down!

A third pig was on the run laterally, and I fired at him once, just before he disappeared into heavy cover. My red-dot was on his middle, but I believe I hit just behind him, as I did not hear the shot impact.

Once again, hunting elusive, tough, wily, dangerous game with military rifles is a wonderful, exciting experience as well as great training.

It is similar to playing poker. Opportunities are sudden and always fleeting. You have to instantly size-up the situation, calculate hit-probability, and make your decision.

Do I take this shot, or wait for a better opportunity?

It’s your call!



14 Jan 10

I just received a note from one of my students, an Army Officer, currently serving deep within enemy territory (“Indian Country,” as we called it in Vietnam). Because he is enlightened, he is disgusted with the Army’s attitude about personal readiness, as any enlightened person would be.

This note was written just before a recent attack where a number of CIA agents were murdered.

In paraphrase:

“Our Base is well inside hostile territory. All serious attacks here have been within a few hundred meters of us, including a successful attack on a UN ‘Safe House.’

Everyone here is, however, completely unarmed! This is what they say to us, and I am quoting directly:

‘… all personnel will have their weapons GREEN (we call it “Storage Mode”) at all times. All weapons will be cleared immediately upon entering the compound… at no time are weapons to be loaded, nor is any weapon to have a magazine inserted’

When attacked, we’ve been directed to run and hide in bunkers, but still not load our weapons!

I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to get our allowable weapons status upgraded. I’m told, ‘We’ll have NDs, and that will generate too much paperwork,’ another direct quotation! I’ve even confronted star-wearers, saying ‘Why do we have soldiers in an overseas combat zone, including officers and staff NCOs, under arms, who are apparently so poorly disciplined and trained that they can’t be trusted with loaded small arms?’

With a sneer, the general replied, ‘… it’s just too dangerous having people walking around here with loaded guns.’

After years of continuous lethal contact with an implacable enemy, most reasonable people would think we would have long-since weeded out such emasculate fools, sheep, and attaboys.

No such luck. In fact, we’ve promoted them!

As for me, and a number of others, we’ve long ago decided to ignore stupid rules that endanger our lives, about which no one apparently cares anyway, except us. My pistol is always in “Carry Mode” (called “Red” here), no matter where I am.

When stopped by someone who points out that I have a magazine inserted in my pistol. My response is as follows, depending upon the rank of the person who noticed:

(1) ‘Go find something else do to, Sonny!’

(2) ‘I’ve never been able to understand violence in any form. Have you? Actually Bud, that is not a magazine. It’s a dust-cover. It renders the pistol completely useless. You should have one!”

(3) ‘Sir, that regulation negates my ability to defend myself, which is my inalienable right, a right I claim, fearlessly and unapologetically. If you think you want to charge me, go for it!’

Most of the time, my pistols are concealed, and the issue never rears its ugly head.

Like so many other capable and dedicated officers and NCOs, I’m getting out, leaving in disgust!”

Comment: Although we’ve made some progress, particularly with the Marines, the foregoing nauseating catastrophe is still all too typical.

Cowards never triumph!

“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one, any day
I’d rather you walk with me than merely ‘tell the way’
The eye is a better student, and more willing, than the ear
I find your council confusing, but your example is always clear!”




16 Jan 10

Transportation “Security,” from a friend in NV:

“I just took a Greyhound Bus from Las Vegas over to LA, to visit friends. I decided it would be easier, and less expensive, than driving.

I was armed with two pistols, assorted blades, and OC when I reported to the LV Bus Station.

When it came time to board, everyone went through the same door, and there was a ‘security-person’ there. He was a harried, insecure, confused, rent-a-cop in a tattered, grimy uniform that was at least two sizes too big! Passengers put a single bag (of their choice) on a table in front of him, and he hurriedly looked through it.

As I put my small tote-bag on the table, a woman walked right past me, in an obvious hurry to get a good seat. Rent-a-cop called for her to come back several times, but she ignored him. His response was to shrug his shoulders and return his attention to me. So, I grabbed my bag and walked past him too! He reacted by disregarding me and turning his attention to the next passenger!

My arsenal and I arrived safely in LA.

I have no doubt that I’m on my own!”

Comment: The predictable institutional response to “security concerns” is always to “tweak the lie.” Institutions, private and public, do not promote security. They promote the illusion of security! The welfare of individuals is ever the last thing considered. After all, they’re insured!

Promoting a delusional, presumptive fantasy is what insurance companies, and the government, demand, and an ever-improved myth is what they, and we, get.

Among “security professionals,” individual responsibility and preparedness are prohibited subjects, never to be so much as murmured, much less honestly and openly discussed!

Any doubts? Read the pitiable “Ft Hood Report,” just released by the Pentagon!



18 Jan 10

Anarchy in Haiti!

Haiti is a brutal, feudal monarchy. And, as is the case with all such feudal fiefdoms, when disaster strikes, the people, steeped for generations in squalor and learned-helplessness, seem utterly incapable of doing anything for themselves.

The ongoing international relief-effort has reached only a minuscule fraction of those in need, and local “government” officials are nowhere to be seen!

Anarchy has broken out nationwide. On the news, we see only two kinds of people, (1) beggars and (2) violent thugs!

For generations, Haiti has been ruled by a succession of bestial dictators who, like all despots, have retained power through savage brutality, enforced impoverishment, and religious mumbo-jumbo.

This is ever the case with feudal monarchies. Dictators all claim to be “enlightened.” They mean to rule well, but they meant to rule, and political opponents are predictably isolated, terrorized, imprisoned, and eventually herded into gas-chambers.

They enforce their reign of terror through an army of what used to be called “Dukes,” “Barons,” “Warlords,” “Earls,” and other assorted stooges who barbarously put down all murmuring and other hints of political opposition. Today, these venomous tasks are accomplished by bureaucrats and “secret police.”

In such an asphyxiating political system, there is no social mobility, no private enterprise, no private property, no Middle Class, and no technological advancement. All production is usurped to preserve luxurious lifestyles of the “Governing Class.” People have no rights, nor individual liberty, nor value, except as stoop-labor, in-effect, slave labor. There is no benefit in innovation, since bettering onself is impossible anyway, unless you’re “connected.”

This is precisely the corrupt, looter’s culture that our brave ancestors came to this Hemisphere to escape, in rotting Europe and other places.

“Third-World” status is ever the fate of feudal monarchies. Until individual liberty and economic freedom, enforced through “The Sovereign, Armed Citizen,” illuminates the land, conceited, paranoid, vain, closed-minded dictators will emasculate all progress and suffocate all social enlightenment, and technological advancement, forever!

“Ancient, effortless, ordered cycle on cycle set-
Life so long untroubled that ye who inherit forget
It was not made with the mountains; it is not one with the deep.
Men, not gods, devised it, and men, not gods, must keep.”




19 Jan 10

2010 SHOT Show, First Day:

The SHOT Show is in Las Vegas this year, and for the next three years!

Mood in the Industry is upbeat! All ammunition companies are still in backlog. Gun companies are getting caught up, and some even have excess inventory, but there is much enthusiasm and many new products.

My notes:

ASP showed its new “Agent” extendible baton. It is extremely compact and collapses manually, so there is no need to bang the tip on something hard to re-collapse it, and it will not re-collapse inadvertently. Excellent for concealed self-defense!

At the SIG booth, SIG’s 556 rifle is on display. With its adjustable/folding stock, I have a copy, and few rifles run better! SIG also showed its new 516. The 516 is a gas/piston rifle with the profile of an AR-15 and three gas setting (the 556 has two).

I have not had good luck with gas-piston rifles with the AR-15 profile. SIG’s attempt is well put-together, as is everything from SIG. However, in general with these rifles, the piston and op-rod are both too thin, and most have a two-piece op-rod, so it must bang into the bolt-carrier with each shot. The best gas-piston system is where the piston, op-rod, and bolt-carrier are all one piece, as on the Kalashnikov and the RA/XCR. But, when piston and op-rod are thus adequately robust, cosmetic similarity with the AR-15 is lost.

Cor-Bon’s DPX line is extremely successful, in both rifle and pistol calibers. This year, new African calibers are available, including 458WM, 404 Jeffreys, 458 Lott, 505 Gibbs, and a host of others, DPX and solids. Great stuff! I killed my Cape Buffalo two years ago with a Cor-Bon 458WM. First round was a solid. Second was a DPX. Both performed superbly!

Crimson Trace is making a nice laser for Kahr’s P380. Most lasers are now green, and most pulsate. That is the current trend. Crimson Trace also has a wonderful, compact unit for rifles that includes both a light an a laser.

Vertical/forend-units for rifles, containing both light and laser, are popular this year, and are offered by a number of companies.

Nighthawk’s line of serious pistols are impressive, albeit expensive! The “Ladyhawk,” with its thin grips and high-tech coating, garnered much attention. Nice carry-gun!

Lasermax introduced its new “Gemini.” It’s an extremely compact unit, containing both laser and light, designed to fit on both pistols and rifles. It is so small, it can be left on permanently with all rifles and most pistols.

Prisim was on hand with an active display of its video-simulator. They’re now integrated with the “Davork System,” which uses a CO2 cartridge to realistically simulate recoil in both pistols and rifles. Slides reciprocate normally, and normal decocking is required on manually-decocking pistols. Felt recoil is also normal. The only thing missing is ejected cases, and there is no tether!

Directly competing with Ruger and Kahr, S&W had on display their “Bodyguard/380,” a small 380 autoloader, similar to Kahr’s P380, albeit slightly thinner. It has a two-position (redundant) manual-safety, manual slide hold-open, and excellent sights. And, it features an integral laser. It’s built-in! I think S&W has decided that most purchasers of this kind of pistol will want a laser anyway, so the pistol just comes with one!

At Springfield Armory’s booth, I saw their XD/M “3.8″ compact (short slide) pistol. I have an XD/M, and it is extremely reliable and an excellent carry-gun, albeit big. The 3.8 makes a superior carry package, while retaining the XD/M’s legendary capacity.

Glock’s “Generation-4″ pistol was on display. With variable grip-geometry (similar to S&W’s M&P’s), the gun is eligible for contracts that demand that feature. The pistol comes as a standard “short-frame,” but two individual inserts can be used to make the grip sequentially bigger. But, the biggest advance is a vastly improved recoil spring that does not need replacing nearly as often as its predecessor. The pistol is built around the 40S&W cartridge. It is set up for long service!

CSE (Critical Safety Equipment) displayed a clever, light, and compact system for restraining prisoners who must receive an MRI. There is no metal in it. Nothing needs to be removed! Here is a product I wish I’d thought of!

More tomorrow!



20 Jan 10

2010 SHOT Show, Second Day:

Beretta had copies of their new TX4 shotgun. It’s a five-shooter, gas-gun. Self-adjusting gas system permits it to cycle normally with all kinds of twelve-gauge ammunition. Looks like a nice patrol-shotgun!

SIG’s P250 is available with an ambidextrous, manual safety. Nothing that I find useful, but it works like a 1911 manual safety. Comes “off” just fine during the draw, but a grip compromise is required to push it back “on.”

Who want a serious 308 have a choice between DSA’s FAL, the PTR-91, and SA’s M1A. All are most satisfactory, run well, and all are on display. I have copies of all three. DSA tops the List.

Leatherman’s new MUT (Military Utility Tool) is something I surely wish I had with me when in Vietnam! I have several Leatherman tools, but the MUT tops them all. It includes a seat-belt cutter, brass carbon-scraper, wire-cutter, pin-punch, along with all the other usual Leatherman accessories. All serviceman going overseas should have a copy!

High-Vis makes a square light-tube as the front sight on Ruger’s LCR. Fits nicely into the square rear-sight notch! All other light tubes I’ve seen are round.

Taurus’ “Slim” 709SS 9mm, eight-shot, polymer-frame pistol really is thin! Similar in size to Kahr’s excellent PM9.

Winchester is now making a “Buck & Ball” twelve-gauge shotgun round. A Forester slug, plus three 00 buckshot pellets (ahead of the slug), in the same round! It is called the PDX1. Seldom seen since the Civil War! They’re also making a 410 round (also called the PDX1) for the Taurus Judge Pistol that features twelve BB-Shot pellets behind three plated, lead disks up front. This round will be popular with Judge-owners!

Friends at Winchester tell me they still sell a lot of 9mm 127gr +P+ ammunition. It is restricted to LE, but much filters to other users. They also tell me that current 45ACP sales are so strong, they’re approaching demand for 9mm! By contrast, 45GAP and 357SIG are produced, but constitute little more than obscure footnotes by comparison.

Bushmaster had on hand copies of their ACR (Adaptive Combat Rifle). Once called the “Masada,” this 223 gas-piston rifle has a nice folding/adjustable stock. Bolt holds open on the last round, and it takes AR-15 magazines. Bulkier than the AR-15.

Firstlight’s Tomahawk flashlight, a copy of which in carry daily, features a combination of red and green lights that make blood stand out. Popular among medical folks!

MGM (Mike Gibson Manufacturing), celebrated makers of targeting systems, has a charging-target system called the “Attack Target.” The target charges the shooter at a high rate of speed, and requires neither electricity nor compressed gas. Teaches students to get off the “X!”

Mark LaRue is making a quick-release, offset mount for the Aimpoint T1. It mounts on the rifle’s top rail, but offsets the optic to the right, so that one can use his magnifying ACOG normally, but quickly tilt the rifle counter-clockwise and pick of the T1’s red dot. The two optics otherwise do not interfere with each other.

C-products, makers of rifle and pistol magazines, is now making a twenty-five-round FAL magazine, and a forty-round AR-15 magazine. Both all-steel. They’re also marketing a “magazine for magazines.” It is a spring-loaded AR-15 magazine dispenser, worn on the chest, that holds three magazines. As they are grabbed and removed, a new one pops in place. Clever!

More people to see tomorrow!



21 Jan 10

2010 SHOT Show, Third Day:

I talked with friend and blade-master, Ernie Emerson, today. Like Lynn Thompson of Cold Steel, he really lives the Art! Ernie showed me his new “Gentleman Jim” folding blade. It is a thin 3.75-inch folder, equipped with his famous “Wave” quick-opening feature. “Gentleman” Jim J Corbett was a famous boxer of the early Twentieth Century who was celebrated for routinely dressing up when in public. This new blade honors him.

My friends at PTR91 (formally “JLD Inc”), famous for their wonderful PTR91 308 military rifle, showed me their newest addition, the PTR32. It is in 7.62×39 and proportionally smaller than the PTR91. It takes standard, AK magazines. Collapsing stock is available, which makes it suitable for low-profile transport. Its fluted chamber, necessitated by its gas-delayed blowback system, makes it sensitive to some foreign ammunition that uses tar as a sealant. However, I’ve run some pretty disgusting stuff through my copy of the PTR91, and I’ve never had so much as a hiccup!

Colt is displaying their new 0781ODA pistol. It looks like a 1911 in profile, but it is self-decocking (DAO). Trigger is heavy at twelve pounds. Reset is deep. No manual safety (which would be a silly redundancy anyway).

Self-decocking, autoloading pistols (no manual decocking-lever and no manual safety) are definitely the trend in American Law Enforcement, but many federal and big-metro-area police contract specifications now require that pistols be “striker-fired.” Traditional, arching, exposed-hammer ignition systems are thus being systematically excluded from consideration. So, Colt’s new pistol may be rearing its head at precisely the wrong moment. SIG’s otherwise-excellent P250 suffers from the same issue!

Rimfire-consuming AR look-alikes are all the rage currently, owing to high ammunition costs. Shooter’s can acquire and exercise all manual, operating skills while consuming relatively low-cost 22LR, rather than 223 ball. Colt’s version has a bolt-lock/release lever that is non-functional (cosmetic only), automatically eliminating it from consideration for most police training. I can’t imagine why they designed it that way!

As originally designed and produced, John M Browning’s 1911 pistol had no mechanical interlock that prevented the firing pin from going forward when the pistol was dropped on the muzzle, nor when the slide went forward in the normal loading procedure, nor during the normal cycle of operation. These theoretical circumstances through which the pistol could conceivably fire unintentionally (or even go full-auto) were considered so astronomically unlikely, Browning was unconcerned.

History has proven him correct! I, for one, have been training people (including myself) to carry and shoot 1911s since 1968 and have had thousands of 1911s come through classes, including many that were manufactured during, and even before, WWII. My students have loaded them, unloaded them, performed chamber checks, shot them, and even dropped them more times than I can count. In those forty-odd years, I’ve never once personally witnessed a 1911 slam-fire, a 1911 go full-auto, nor a 1911 discharge as the result of being dropped. Maybe these things happen, but they have never happened in front of me. Yes, like all of us, I’ve heard many third-hand stories, but my personal experience causes me to believe Browning was right, as we have discovered over the years that he usually is!

Today, nearly all major manufacturers of pistols, other than 1911s, have trigger-activated firing-pin locks standard on all their products, and have had this feature from the first gun they produced. In the 1980s, Colt added a trigger-activated system to their version of the 1911, and most Colt’s 1911s have come with it ever since. A trigger-activated firing-pin lock makes it mechanically unachievable for the firing pin to reach the primer of the chambered round without pressure being applied to the trigger.

Other modern-day 1911 manufacturers, specifically Kimber, instead use their version of the “Swartz-System,” which is a grip-safety-activated firing-pin lock. The Swartz System was designed to address the drop-safety issue only. It does not address the slam-fire issue, nor the full-auto issue, as the pistol is properly gripped (depressing the grip safety) when it is being loaded and/or fired.

My friends at Kimber tell me that ninety-percent of 1911s they produce come with the Swartz-Safety. A “II” stamped on the slide indicates a pistol is so equipped. However, parts and machining necessitated by the Swartz-Safety makes the pistol difficult to clean, so many devoted 1911 users and carriers thus don’t want it.

Accordingly, Kimber makes their 1911s both ways, and you can order yours with or without!

My personal choice is “without.”

STI, makers of excellent (albeit expensive) small, 1911 carry pistols, showed me their “Escort” version two years ago. Last year, the Escort had evolved into the “Shadow,” which was even more thin, sleek, and smooth. This year, the Shadow has evolved into the “Elektra.” All are fine, but the Shadow is still my choice!

Friend, Dan Coonan, is back in business with his “Coonan Arms” pistol. Introduced over a decade ago, the Coonan Pistol will again be produced later this year. The Coonan pistol is a 1911, chambered for the 38Spl and 357Mg revolver cartridge! The serious-pistol field is currently crowded with many fine guns, and it remains to be seen if the Coonan catches on this time!

Finally, a company called Bright-Strike is making the “Flex-a-Ton,” which is a collapsible baton, combined with a bright, strobe-enabled, flashlight. It is designed specifically for officers who are heavily restricted with regard to deploying batons, but essentially unrestricted with regard to deploying flashlights. An equipment solution to a political problem!

More to come!



22 Jan 10

2010 SHOT Show, Last Day:

Last time the SHOT Show was in Las Vegas (2008), it was at the spacious Hilton/Las Vegas Convention Center. That venue was popular with just about everyone.

This year, and for the next several, it is being held at the far-less satisfactory Sands Convention Center. I heard legion complaints from vendors and attendees alike. Of course, complaints are normal at trade-shows, but this year we had vendors spread out over many isolated ballrooms, as well as the main halls. Booths were difficult to locate, and the “lower level” had a ceiling so low, many displays could not be used, as they did not fit! Restrooms were inadequate, and the roof leaked!

Several major vendors, who have always maintained a presence in the past, were conspicuous by their absence this year. The SHOT Show is an important industry event, and I surely hope more do not elect to drop out next year!

On the positive side, nearly all vendors with whom I spoke reported excellent traffic. Everyone was upbeat!

Next year’s SHOT Show dates are 18-21 Jan 2011 (Tues-Fri).


Para-Ordnance (formally from Canada, now headquartered in NC) had on display their TTR (“Tactical Target Rifle,” an inherent contradiction, but what do I know about marketing?). Currently available only in 223, it looks like an AR in profile, but employs a unique operating system that is neither, in the strictest sense, the original Stoner system, nor a gas-piston system. A gas-delivery probe, extending rearward from the barrel’s gas-tap, fits inside a hollow “op-rod” halfway down the forend. As the rifle cycles, the two never separate completely. It is called the “DIGS” (Delayed Impingement Gas System). Soot, and other garbage associated with combustion, never make their way back to the receiver. Plus, the receiver does not heat up as much as is the case with the Stoner System.

Recoil spring surrounds the op-rod, so there in not one in the stock. Hence, the rifle has a legitimate folding stock, not the traditional telescoping one.

I’ll have a copy to test before long!

Barrett’s contender for the AR market, the “REC-7,” is well and truly a gas-piston gun, but both piston and op-rod are bigger and more robust than is the case with most of the others. The copy I got my hands on was in 6.8mmSPC. Everything Ronnie Barrett makes is top-drawer, and I’m sure this rifle will demonstrate itself to be no exception.

Rohrbaugh has added a 380Auto Pistol to its line of extremely small 9mms. The 380 is the same size as the 9mm, but recoil is much reduced. My copy of the Rohrbaugh, which I carry as a backup, while not fun to shoot, has proven itself to be extremely reliable.

My old friend, John Kline of Sage International, continues to come up with innovative ideas! This year, he showed me a drop-in, telescoping stock for the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 pump-shotguns. These will be helpful to trainers tasked with effectively combining shotguns with small-statured students! Most shotgun stocks, as they come from the factory, are suitable only for average, to large-sized, males.

The “DUOStock” replacement AR stock maintains superior body-contact as the Operator moves and fires. I have a copy on an AR, and students love it!

Long-time friend, Ed Taylor from Advanced Training Systems, showed me his “Ranger” animated target. It is a three-dimensional mannequin, mounted atop a four-wheel drive, electrically-powered, low-profile, remote-controlled trolley. It goes forward and backward, neutral-turns, and can be controlled (no wires) from as far away as one-thousand meters. It makes an ideal rifle target. Before the Ranger, something similar cost $5,000, and up. The Ranger can be had for half that!

Folks at Blue-Force Gear showed me the most useable trauma kit I’ve seen. It is compact, but contains everything necessary to treat gun-shot wounds in the field, and it deploys so that you can get at what you need fast!

A company called SOLKOA demonstrated a product called “Fast-Fire.” It is an innocuous, white, odorless cube the size of a moth-ball. When you touch a match to it, it burns with a hot flame for five minutes, sufficient to get a fire started nearly anywhere. It now enjoys a permanent place in my range bag!

Gerber is marketing a compact tool that should be in the hands of every AR-owner! It is called the “EFECT,” and it is a Leatherman-like device that has a front-sight adjustment tool, stiff brush, pick, scraper, and pin-punch. It also will soon reside in my range bag!

The foregoing are my notes on products that garnered my attention. While by no means complete, I still hope they inspire everyone to personally attend the next SHOT Show and, in so doing, advance the Art and support our politically-vulnerable Arms Industry.



24 Jan 10

One More Thing:

I’ve been asked about S&W’s “Bodyguard/38″

It was indeed on display at this week’s SHOT Show, along with the “Bodyguard/380″ (upon which I did comment).

Both are small, personal pistols, with integral lasers.

The 380 version is interesting, and I can see its merit for some consumers. At the time, I didn’t think the revolver was interesting enough to comment on, but I was apparently wrong, so here they are:

I struck me that the Bodyguard/38, with its simplified mechanics and liberal use of plastic, is similar to Ruger’s LCR. Price is similar too.

The cylinder-release latch is on the top of this little pistol, rather than on the left side, where S&W has put it since 1895. As I handled the gun, it took me the better part of a minute to figure out how to load it! In addition, cylinder rotation has been reversed. The cylinder rotates clockwise, Colt-style.

I’m sure it is perfectly functional, but, who want a snubby-revolver for concealed carry, will probably be better served by S&W’s existing 340PD.

Between Crimson Trace and Lasermax, one can now easily retrofit nearly any pistol with a laser.



25 Jan 10


From an Instructor:

“… just bought a new SIG/556 Rifle… best part about the deal is that is was on sale for $1,200.00, with an additional $300.00 rebate from SIG!

So, I got a 556 for less than most ARs!

… for those who want a superlative military rifle, like the SIG/556, now is the time!”


“Opportunity knocks, but seldom nags!”



27 Jan 10

Small, 380Auto Pistols:

Kahr, SIG, Kel-Tec, Taurus, Ruger, and now S&W have all recently united in producing small, thin, single-column 380Auto pistols, the smallest ever made in that caliber, designed specifically for concealed carry for those for whom going armed is a delicate, often embarrassing, issue and who must therefore carry with a high degree of discretion and secrecy.

Retailers tell me that five-shot, snubby 38Spl revolvers, from S&W, Ruger, and Taurus, have, for at least the past three decades, been top sellers. Seldom actually shot, but often carried, these little revolvers are everywhere and continue to sell well.

However, it strikes me that small 380Auto pistols are now taking over that market! The pervasive, continuing scarcity of 380Auto ammunition alone is prima-facie evidence of that!

Other driving factors include increased ammunition capacity (seven shots instead of five), thinness, reduced recoil, and rapidity/adroitness of reloading.

As a serious caliber, the 380Auto is limited, as we all know. For that matter, the 38Spl suffers from many of the same limitations. Happily, modern, high-performance ammunition, like Cor-Bon’s DPX, have upgraded practical effectiveness significantly. And, while so limited, the 380Auto is still indisputably superior to remaining alternatives: the 32ACP, 25ACP, and 22LR.

For doctors, attorneys, nurses, ambulance crews, 7-11 clerks, taxi-drivers, pizza delivery-guys, and a host of others for whom discrete concealed-carry is a pseudo-profane, but desperate, necessity, legitimate choices, until now, have been profoundly limited.

Not any more!



27 Jan 10

Battery Issue, from a friend in FL:

“I was at the movies yesterday and found it necessary to use my small flashlight to find something I had dropped. It is a tube-light and powered by two, 123 lithium batteries. They were many months old and on their last legs. The light kept going dim.

At home later in the evening, I heard what sounded like a small explosion in the kitchen. My flashlight, which I had left on the counter with the intention of replacing batteries, was still in its belt-holder. When I picked it up, it was so hot I was forced to drop it!

The light had exploded with enough force to blow out the lens in front, and push-button in the back.

Batteries themselves were corroded and leaking.

I cleaned up the mess, replaced the batteries with new ones, reassembled the light, and it now, once again, works normally.”

Comment: While unusual, this happens now and then. We all have, and carry, flashlights. Check your batteries now and then! Corroded/leaking batteries need to be replaced immediately. After several months, all batteries need to be replaced, just to insure your light is up to par when you need it.

Don’t neglect your critical equipment!



28 Jan 10

More on exploding flashlights, from a friend in the System:

“The culprit here is nearly always cheap, foreign-made batteries, usually from China! This issue was identified on our military-side over a year ago. As is the case with serious ammunition, high-quality, domestically-produced batteries are always best.

In addition, it is poor practice to mix new batteries with mostly-expended ones, within the same flashlight. When replacing batteries, replace all of them at once, with new ones. Old batteries, regardless of suspected remaining life, need to be discarded. Do not retain them, as they are more trouble than they are worth, and they should never again find their way into serious equipment, except under exigent circumstances.

Make it personal policy, when it is time to replace batteries, to replace all, at once, with fresh ones!

Our relentless insistence upon top quality doesn’t end with firearms, holsters, sights, nor flashlights, but well and truly extends to the ammunition and batteries we put in them!”

Comment: Looks as if China is a poor source for baby-toys, ammunition, … and batteries!

Poor-quality lithium batteries are dangerous! They not only explode, but they can also catch fire! When lithium is exposed to moisture, hydrogen gas, and heat, are released. For this reason, there are various seals and other safety mechanisms built into in high-quality iterations of these batteries that are designed to prevent moisture from getting to the lithium, and safely vent hydrogen gas when it does.

Accordingly, when buying lithium CR123 batteries, get only the ones that incorporate a Positive Thermal Coefficient (PTC) Protection Circuit and pressure-relief vent. Many batteries manufactured off-shore, particularly those coming from China, do not have this safety feature and are thus not recommended.

Risk is lower with alkaline batteries.