3 July 00

A sagacious observation from a friend who is a training officer with the State Patrol:

“While we were sitting around the picnic table with relatives, my sister (who has never handled a firearm in her life) asked for the mustard bottle (squeeze type) to be passed. I complied with her request and in so doing held the bottom of the bottle which caused the top of the bottle with the nozzle to point at her. Without hesitation, she protested, ‘Hey, don’t point that thing at me.’

It immediately dawned on me that common sense dictates that one should not carelessly and inadvertently point weapons at one’s self or others, even if the ‘weapon’ is no more harmful than a mustard bottle. Yet, we see it all the time, caused by people who are a little too casual about safety.

How interesting it is that my sister, not even a gun owner, much less a seasoned gunman, still instantly recognizes a situation that puts her safety in jeopardy. But, how may ostensibly highly trained and seasoned officers with my department menace themselves or others daily with the careless and nonchalant handling of their duty weapon, and give it scarcely a thought!”



4 July 00

New weapons:

At a Defensive Urban Rifle and Shotgun Course in the Midwest last weekend, we had an officer bring an H&K G-36 rifle. A female student used an M1 Carbine. Another student used a Robinson Rifle, and another brought a new Remington 870 shotgun.

The H&K G-36 is a military, 223 rifle with an integral, optical sight. It is a Class III item that cannot be imported for commercial sales, but this particular police department has a number of them, and they are issued to individual officers. This same department was at our class last year when the rifles were new. After a year of significant use, they’re holding up well, and are useable by most officers. They love them!

I continue to be impressed by the reliability and usability of the M1 Carbine, particularly in the hands of small-statured people. My female student (who was small, even for a woman) was able to heft and deploy her M1 Carbine with grace and precision. Her movements were smooth, and she was deadly accurate. When she tried to use an AR-15, she was awkward and clumsy. Her M1 Carbine functioned throughout the entire weekend without a single hiccup.

The Robinson Rifle, manufactured in Utah, is most impressive. It is a 223, military rifle and is patterned after the second-generation Stoner design. It uses a gas piston (rather than a gas-activated bolt carrier) and takes AR-15 magazines. It is well put together. I still like the first-generation Stoner System, but this new rifle has a lot going for it.

Remington is now putting a lockable, manual safety on their 870 shotgun. I assume they are now doing the same with all their weapons, or soon will. The trigger-block, manual safety button now has a key slot which is designed to accept a special key (supplied with the weapon). One can now “lock” the manual safety into the “on” position. If this is the new trend, I wonder how many people are going to be murdered as they are desperately trying to get their firearms into a condition where they can be made to fire. Encumbering perfectly good guns with these dubious “safety devices” ultimately serves only to make them unreliable. Guns that won’t shoot are like cars that won’t start. Something for the grasseaters.

Finally, the City of Chicago, IL Police Department has issued external trigger locks to all of its officers and has announced, with much fanfare, that they now require all officers “lock their gun up” any time the officers are actually working. We’ll see two things: (1) A rash of shooting accidents as officers or their family members try to install trigger locks on loaded guns, or try to remove them from loaded guns. (2) Officers murdered in their own homes by criminals who are now confident that they can break in without any risk of getting hurt. I wonder if the Mayor and Chief of Police (who obviously regard to lives and health of their officers as expendable) have locks installed on the guns that are protecting them!

Happy 4th to everyone!



4 July 00

Kahr P9:

I’ve been carrying a polymer-framed Kahr P9 (9mm) for several weeks now. Last weekend I had an opportunity to give it a good workout.

This is the best pistol Kahr has made! Extremely reliable, slim, light, and easy to carry. It carries equally well in an IWB holster or a pocket liner. I’ve used both, made for me by Dave Elderton at Ky-Tac.

The biggest complaint we’ve had about Kahr pistols is their weight. The P9 finally addresses the weight problem. You hardly know you have it on! Good show from Kahr.

4 July 00

An interesting discovery by a friend who is in charge of training at a large PD in the Midwest:

“We here have found huge differences in shooters’ scores when they shoot using only an unattached flashlight compared with shooting two-handed in low/ambient light. They do much better two-handed in low/ambient light!

I think that it is more than just the necessity to fire with one hand unsupported. I think that the most important factor is manipulating the flashlight and the weapon independently, at slightly different times, and in different ways, requires that shooters use both halves of their brains in a synchronized manner. Many are just not used to doing that.

Our officers who fire 85%-95% in any two-handed drill drop to 70%-80% in the flashlight qualification. This statistical data surprised all of us when we instituted our flashlight-only qualification. I thought that it would be a bunny course, and that we would have to tighten it up. Not so. We had to leave it be. It was already formidable, judging by the scores.”

Lesson: We’re all still learning in this business. There are many things none of us understand very well. I am compelled now to look into this.



4 July 00

Comments from my friend in the Philippines:

“M1 Carbine ammo is still produced here for export to other countries like Cambodia. Apparently, the Carbine is alive and well over there. Given the small stature of Asian troops, it isn’t a bad choice.

‘Internal lock’on 870s? That is a regrettable decision on the part of Remington. The pump shotgun has one of the simplest manuals of arms going. The introduction of such problematical devices into an otherwise simple system will do little more than negate the respectable reputation of the pump shotgun.”



5 July 00

Gary at Taurus responded to my quip of 28 June 00 on the reported failure of the internal lock now being installed on all Taurus pistols:

“Before joining Taurus two years ago, I shared your skepticism about (internal) locks. I am also an NRA certified safety instructor. After checking the Taurus Security System (TSS), I was more than satisfied that it has advantages none other can offer and is a worthwhile safety option, as mechanically sound as transfer bar ignition on a revolver or the grip safety on my Government Model.

I carry for personal protection, and my having a firearm at hand has prevented personal injury and harm to others on several occasions. Nevertheless, my unattended firearms are locked separately from ammunition, and the Taurus Security System makes that a very convenient safety precaution to take.

Without any previously known failures of a disengaged TSS to remain disengaged, we are curious to test the firearm in question and ascertain whether the system was properly in the unlocked position. As you can see from the enclosed graphic, the mechanism has been built to lock securely, requiring a twisting motion, and does not lend itself to spinning freely even under the force of recoil. In fact, the TSS is installed on every Raging Bull ever made and I am unaware of any similar occurrence when the key was properly rotated that quarter turn with a distinctive click to announce proper disengagement.”



8 July 00

From on of our instructors:

“I finally saw the new Remington 870 locking, crossbolt safety. It uses a small ‘key’ – actually a tiny L-shaped piece of metal that inserts into the crossbolt in order to turn the safety between one of two positions (‘on’ and ‘off’), slightly less than ninety degrees apart.

There are detents which are intended to keep the safety in the desired position. Unhappily, I was able to easily turn the crossbolt with my fingers from the unlocked to the locked position, without using the key.

Once in the locked position, you HAVE TO use the key to unlock it. The detent in the operating (‘off’) position is non-locking while the detent in the disabled (‘on’) position is locking! It appears that the new crossbolt safety is not interchangeable with the old one.

On the copy I examined, the lock could unintentionally engage in the middle of a fight, immediately rendering the gun useless.”

Lesson: The manufacturers are obviously rushing “internal gun locks” into production so fast that there is no time for adequate testing. Americans are being asked to “beta test” all these new gimmicks with their lives! Politicians and manufacturers obviously view us as expendable.



9 July 00

From a trainer in the Federal System with regard to the new locking safety on Remington shotguns:

“Can you picture it? Police shotguns with a lockable, manual safety, which is always locked (either intentionally or inadvertently), locked in a lock box, locked in the trunk of a locked patrol car! The only thing that would be “safer” is to never take it out of the shipping carton!”



10 July 00

From a friend in the Midwest:

“On July 5th, at about 10:00pm, while traveling on the Interstate, we came upon a roll-over accident that had just happened.

As we stopped, I saw a person attempting to direct traffic, but he didn’t know how, didn’t have a flashlight, and he was standing where he would surely have been injured. So, I ran over to him, took out my SureFire flashlight, and used it to effectively and safely direct the traffic until the local police arrived.

Like you, I carry my Surefire in an Elderton Ky-Tac carrier on my left side, just behind my spare magazine. It occurred to me afterward that there was no time for me to go back to the car and get a flashlight. The fact that I had the flashlight on my person made it possible for me to act immediately, which likely prevented additional accidents. Glad I had it!”

Lessons: I carry a Surefire on my person all the time, just for situations like the foregoing. There is seldom any no time to “get” ready, you must BE ready.



10 July 00

From a friend in the Federal System:

“The State of Massachusetts is ‘requesting’ that local FBI special agents install trigger locks on all FBI firearms not actually being carried on the person. The request is specifically directed at weapons carried in the trunks of FBI vehicles, ie: shotguns, AR’s, MP5’s etc, and guns in the homes of FBI agents.

No amount of calmly explaining the illogic of carrying ‘perfectly safe, therefore perfectly useless’ guns has been persuasive. So far, our local SAC (Special Agent in Charge) has told the State of Massachusetts to go screw themselves. However, given the political climate in Washington and the fact that this is an election year, all that could change. What self-respecting politician would hesitate to sacrifice the lives of a few insignificant FBI agents in order to get elected?”

Lesson: In the eyes of politicians, police are as expendable as everyone else. Only the body guard details of those same politicians can count on not being asked to disarm.



11 July 00

This is from a colleague in Ohio:

“Two of our officers were chasing a man driving a stolen pickup. During the chase, the pickup collided with another vehicle and rolled over. The suspect was able to partially extricate himself from the pickup and, after doing so, immediately started shooting at our officers. Our officers promptly returned fire. The suspect was struck multiple times and died at the scene.

What the two involved officers and the other officers who arrived shortly thereafter didn’t know was that the suspect’s girlfriend was two cars up when the accident occurred. Upon seeing the roll-over in her rearview mirror, she turned around and came back. She pulled up BEHIND our officers (who were all confronting the fatally wounded suspect) and opened fire on them with a handgun and a shotgun. Our officers were unaware anyone was there and were thoroughly astonished by gunfire erupting behind them!

After firing just a few shots, the woman fled and was captured without incident a short time later. Luckily, she failed to hit any of our people. Our guys survived, but through no fault of their own!”


(1) You need to be always looking behind you. It’s not just in Africa that people make a science of sneaking up behind their victims.

(2) Don’t relax too soon! Peirce Brooks taught us that axiom decades ago. We forget it at our peril.



11 July 00

This is from a friend in active service with the USMC. Something which should make us all think hard about traditional methods and philosophy with regard to weapon maintenance at the user level:

“Our Assistant Division Commander recently returned from inspecting one of our battalions, concerned that the M16A2s were ‘not holding up well,’ according to the armorers. There were severe accuracy as well as functionality problems. After a study by our people and Colt, we found that the problem did not lie in the weapon itself, but rather in the Marines.

The Marine Corps was (and is) still adhering to the old policy of exhaustively cleaning weapons for three, consecutive days after each day of firing. This is a carryover from the days when we used corrosive primers, but, as so often happens, the practice continues long after the reason for it has long since vanished. The practice was originally instituted in order to prevent bore pitting of unlined, steel barrels back in the days when we used primers which produced salt when they burned. The salt was then deposited in the bore and, of course, attracted moisture which, in turn, caused rusting. Thorough scrubbing over several days was required to get all the salt out. Non-corrosive primers became the norm in the 1950s, and bore rusting and pitting subsequently became far less of a problem. Chrome-lined barrels also helped reduce rusting.

However, fifty years later our battalion armorers are still holding ‘white glove’ inspections of all small arms. In order to get their weapons ready for such inspections, over a period of three days Marines are using steel bore brushes to clean barrels, which actually strips away the chrome lining. They also use oven cleaner and other corrosive preparations on the aluminum receivers and other parts. All this is done so that rifles will not stain the armorer’s white glove. Never mind that the barrels are shot and the receivers and internal parts are all corroded.

Most Marines (albeit better trained in marksmanship than is the case with the other services) still really don’t know much about guns or shooting, other than what they read in Guns & Ammo. Officers who compose policies and regulations know even less and are infinitely more concerned about their next promotion than they are about the safety and readiness of their men. We thus continue to maintain an obsolete system of care and maintenance.

While I believe in keeping our weapons functionally clean, I have continuously campaigned against ‘white glove’ inspections, all to no avail. ‘White glove’ inspections are so entrenched in the Marine Corps mentality that I may as well suggest urinating on the flag!”

Lesson: Any time there is a conflict between reality and your map, it is your map that is wrong. Reality is always right!



12 July 00

More on Beretta pistols from a friend in a large PD that issues Berettas:

“I have carried and used a Beretta M96D (40 S&W) for five years. The pistol is accurate and reliable. It feeds all ammunition well and rarely has a stoppage. Unhappily however, it breaks with alarming frequency. When broken, it is typically out of action until fixed our armorer.

I have a copy of an internal report our department has put together. Here are the details of the repair history of one of our guns. The following is typical for this gun in our department:

96 03 11 Issued, 0 rnds
96 04 08 Chamber bulged. Barrel replaced, 1,400 rnds.
98 02 03 Trigger return spring broken. It and recoil spring replaced, 7,500 rnds.
98 02 18 Trigger bar spring broken. Replaced, 7,800 rnds.
98 05 15 Cracked chamber. Barrel replaced again, 9,120 rnds.
99 10 18 Broken locking pin on takedown lever. Replaced, 11,835 rnds.
00 01 07 Recoil spring replaced (routine), 13,747 rnds.
00 02 04 Broken trigger return spring again. Replaced again, 15,802 rnds.
00 04 12 Broken locking pin on takedown lever again. Replaced again, 18,006 rnds.
00 04 17 Broken locking block; frame cracked; slide damaged. Pistol deadlined, 18,683 rnds.

The ammunition used is mostly commercially remanufactured 180gr at nominally 950f/s. Pretty wimpy stuff.

Normally, our pistols are closer to twenty-thousand rounds before the frames break. We have had a lot of pistols come from the factory with oval and/or weak chambers.”

Lesson: The foregoing pretty well typifies the unhappy history of the M96. M92s (9mm) hold up slightly better. The drop-lock system used by Beretta is inherently reliable and accurate, probably more reliable than any other pistol operating system. Unfortunately, it just isn’t durable.



12 July 00

This from a friend in a local PD with regard to a shooting involving officers from their department which took place several weeks ago. Some valuable lessons here:

“A two-man beat car from our department responded to an ‘unknown disturbance’ call at 11:00pm. Upon arrival on the scene, our officers found a woman and two men engaged in a shouting match. All three subjects were standing in the open driver’s door of a car that was parked at the end of an alley. Our officers blocked the entrance to the alley with their vehicle. Both officers then exited, and one began the usual battery of verbal commands.

One of the two male subjects abruptly stepped around to the front of his car. His hands were cupped around his crotch. Our officer commanded him to get his hands in the air. The man responded by calmly lifting a five-shot snubby revolver to eye level and pointing it at our officer, all without saying a word! The officer and the suspect were separated at that point by only six feet.

Our officer did not have his gun drawn. Upon seeing the gun in the suspect’s hand, our officer immediately bolted laterally and subsequently ran behind a nearby dumpster. His quick, lateral movement probably saved his life! The other officer, a sergeant, moved in the opposite direction and took cover behind a parked van.

Gun still in hand, the suspect then walked toward the sergeant. The suspect began firing at the sergeant as he continued to walk toward him. Our sergeant immediately returned fire using his pistol. Unfortunately, the sergeant’s fire was mostly ineffective. On the range, he typically fired low and left. That pattern carried through. At a distance of fifteen meters, most of the sergeant’s rounds struck the concrete in front of the suspect. One struck the suspect in the right foot, but it is not clear if that shot was a direct hit or a ricochet. In any event, the sergeant’s fire did not stop the suspect, who continued his assault.

The other officer, firing from behind the dumpster and at a range of twenty meters, struck the suspect twice in the chest, once in the hip, once in the buttocks, and once in the wrist of the non-gun hand. His hits were effective. The suspect faltered, dropped to his knees, and pitched over forward. The other two suspects cowered behind their vehicle.

The suspect fired a total of two rounds. Both missed. He attempted to fire at least two more. His revolver was found with two empty casings, two live rounds with dented primers (duds), and one live round with an intact primer. The suspect survived his wounds and is currently hospitalized. Our local judge set his bail amount at only $150,000, because ‘neither officer was actually hurt.’ We’ll surely try to do better next time!

An interesting side note: The officer who did the effective shooting was NOT wearing his ballistic garment. He had ended his shift, but was bored, so he called the sergeant and asked to be picked up, so he could ride along for a while. In the interim, he had taken off his vest!”


(1) WHEN IT’S LEAST EXPECTED, YOU’RE ELECTED! This was the first officer-involved shooting this department has had in many years. It was the last thing either officer thought would happen that night. The initial circumstances were not particularly galvanizing. SUDDENLY, THINGS WENT IN THE TOILET WITHOUT WARNING. The officers here had to make the transition from Orange to Red to Black very quickly. As the officer who was not wearing his ballistic garment discovered, there is no time to “get ready.”

(2) WHEN YOU BLOCK A SUSPECT’S ONLY AVENUE OF ESCAPE, DON’T BE SURPRISED WHEN HE BECOMES VIOLENT. Even rats fight when they are cornered! Be careful what you wish for.

(3) YOUR OPTIONS PROGRESSIVELY EVAPORATE THE CLOSER YOU GET TO SUSPECTS. When verbal commands are ignored, the tendency is for officers to take a step closer and then repeat the command. The ignorance of verbal commands is number one among documented, pre-assaultive behaviors. That is the time to get further away, not closer!

(4) MISSING DOESN’T STOP FIGHTS, NO MATTER THE VOLUME! The sergeant engaged in what we call “panic shooting.” Some naively believe that a large volume of unaimed fire will dissuade violent suspects. Believe that at your peril!

(5) SUDDEN, LATERAL MOVEMENT MAKES YOU A NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TARGET. We must practice it all the time. We can no longer stand in one place, draw, and shoot. We have to be moving.



12 July 00

From Master Skip. This bears contemplation:

“Your posting on the officer who avoided being shot by side stepping instantly is an infield example of what we have been able to
demonstrate at our ATSA Study Group.

We have demonstrated in repeated studies that, even at six feet and less, a quick side step will cause the bag guy’s first shot to miss about seventy-five percent of the time. There is also a time interval of almost a second until his next shot. The attacker must discover what happened and reorient himself.

Immediate side movement is much more likely to save your life than is a lightning draw (without lateral movement). The most that a lightning draw gives you a tie. Each of you shoots the other at about the same time.

Lateral movement gives you time, time for you to deliver accurate fire and time for your pistol rounds to take effect. In the meantime, the probability that you are shot is substantially reduced.”



14 July 00

This is from a colleague on the East Coast:

“A local police officer was recently shot at close range (five feet) with twenty gauge, number six birdshot, which entered the armhole of his vest and is mostly still embedded in the front wall of his chest. He and a fellow officer responded to a domestic dispute in which the subject had used his vehicle to purposely block a police car into his driveway and had defied various police commands. When the subject came out of the door of the house, the officer sprayed him with OC. The subject immediately ran back into the house, and the officer pursued him only to find that the subject had retrieved a shotgun. The officer still had the OC bottle in hand when he was shot. The officer was able to exit the house, and was helped to cover behind a vehicle by his fellow officer.

The house was soon surrounded by police, but the subject had already fled in the dark from a rear exit. He was apprehended the next morning.

The injured officer, who was initially in critical condition, is now out of the hospital, but will be quite a while in physical therapy for his injuries. If the shot charge had hit him a few inches higher (neck/head), he’d most likely be dead.

I think some of the important points are:

1. Someone sprayed with OC may become irrational and violent, so you must be prepared to respond immediately with a higher level of force if necessary.

2. An uncooperative suspect who runs into an area you haven’t cleared, may be doing so to access a weapon. Be prepared for this possibility. If you are following close behind him as he runs into the uncleared area, you will have very little reaction time if he grabs a weapon and then turns on you.”



16 July 00

This from a LEO friend in South Florida. Some good learning points here:

“It was ‘bike week’ in Datona. My wife and I went to a local restaurant called the Lone Cabbage. They are reputed to serve good alligator and other local cuisine.

When we walked in, I was wearing shorts and an oversized T-shirt that covered my snubby revolver in a strong-side IWB holster. There were several motor cycles parked outside, and, in retrospect, we should have passed the place up to begin with. However, we decided to go in anyway.

Bikers were well represented at the bar, and, one at least one apparently saw or suspected a gun under my shirt. As I passed him, he made a swift and silent hand sign to the guy next to him – a ‘gun’ symbol with his hand and a gesture toward his right hip.

I didn’t see the gesture, by this time spreading down the bar, but my wife did. She whispered in my ear that she had seen the silent communication. We elected to continue right out the back door and onto the boardwalk.”


>Most sheepeople are so self consumed that wouldn’t notice a gun if it fell on the floor! However, bikers and others who have regular contact with police can be very perceptive in that regard. Concealed guns must remain discretely concealed all the time. My friend was a little too casual in that regard, as are we all sometimes.

>The best time to leave is BEFORE things go in the toilet. My friend correctly left the area immediately the moment he became aware that his status was compromised.

>When you’re with your spouse or other family member, work it out ahead of time that, if either one of you sees a problem in the making, the evacuation signal is mutually understood and executed by both of you immediately. When immediate action is required, that is not the time for discussion!



24 July 00

This from a friend in the NJSP:

“Two weeks ago, our Colonel had a few ‘random Troopers’ (read that: ‘set up’) test several new handguns as replacements of our broken down fleet of H&K P-7s.

Several weapons were tested by these people (who, like our Colonel, wouldn’t know a pistol from a flower pot). SIG, Glock, H&K USP, Beretta, and S&W were supposedly all in the running.

The word is that a S&W polymer-framed gun has the fast track.”



25 July 00

We just completed an urban Rifle/Shotgun Course in the Northwest. Some interesting developments:

The range had no gravel. It had a dirt base, and, due to the dry weather, a fine dust quickly coated everything. All rifles had a coating of fine dust, which became thicker as the day went on. We had a number of Colt AR-15s in the program, and all immediately developed functionality problems, mostly feeding and ejection difficulties.

We also had an Israeli Galil (223) and a Romanian Kalashnikov (7.62X39). Both, equally dirty, continued to function without so much as a hiccup.

One student had a FAL (308). It worked just fine, until it started going full auto! At first it doubled. Then, it started firing five and six rounds full auto. Of course, we pulled it off the line. However, there is the first time I’ve ever seen an FAL do something like that.

Politically correct, ten-round magazines now being supplied with AR-15s are most unsatisfactory. Unreliable and poorly put together. If you have an AR-15, be sure to secure an adequate supply of “real” magazines. Then, deposit the ten-rounders in the nearest garbage can.



26 July 00

News from the NJSP:

“It’s official! The S&W/Walther P99 has been selected by the NJSP to replace the H&K P7. The replacement program will take at least a year to make its was through the entire department.”

News from the Philippines:

“Those tasked to select the ‘official’ police service handgun were so enamored by the press Beretta enjoyed in the USA, they never really considered any other gun seriously. The DAO version (92D) was chosen for the same reason.

We Asians are not built like you Americans (We’re much smaller), and many of us have great difficulty managing a big pistol like the Beretta with our small hands. The DAO trigger exasperates the problem. Recognizing this, our police hierarchy, in its infinite wisdom, has authorized the conversion of DAOs to DA/SA, at the option of the individual officer. The individual officer also bears the total expense!”

News from a colleague in Texas:

“High-dollar 1911 clones are popular here, but I see little to recommend them, particularly when Kimber makes an excellent one for $700.00. I seldom see a Kimber fail. By contrast, the tight, high-priced ones fail by the numbers!

Speaking of which, we’ve had two Norinco 1911s here. Both ran flawlessly for our entire five-day Program. That involves firing a minimum of twelve hundred rounds. Neither of the Chinese pistols had had anything done to them. They were both fresh from the box.”



28 July 00

I had a conversation this evening with a seasoned tactical officer with a large metro department in the Midwest. He is very concerned about the lack of commitment to quality training by police department brass:

“With the economy at its present level, large departments (not unlike the Army, Navy, and Air Force) are having great difficulty meeting staffing quotas. Most are seriously understaffed, although they try to keep that fact quiet. California departments are recruiting as far east as the Chicago area, as is the Metro DC PD. It seems that everyone who actually wants to be a cop already is one!

Police departments have always counted on an endless reserve of naive, young military dischargees to fill their ranks. Not so any more. Only departments (mostly, small, suburban ones) who are offering substantial salaries and other benefits are meeting staffing goals. The rest go begging.

The upshot is that realistic training has suffered. Chiefs apparently don’t want to scare away potential recruits and new hires with strenuous training. In fact, one large, Midwest police chief recently admitted (in private) that settling civil litigation arising from “problem shootings” by its officers was still cheaper than instituting a department-wide, competent training program. The money issue looms far more significant than injury and loss of life.

In Illinois, a recent training accident with a 38Spl blank cartridge left an officer with a significant portion of his left quadricep blown away. He will likely suffer permanent disability and deformity. Incidents like that send chills up the spines of chiefs and politicians alike. The result is that a “no risk of injury” policy quickly spreads among departments. The effect is pointless, sanatized “training” which just wastes time and does nothing to enhance officer survivability and safety.”


>THERE IS NO LEARNING WITHOUT RISK. “Risk-free” training is an exercise in self deception. Competent training will always involve risk. The alternative is bunny training which produces little more than animated targets. Trainers need to stop worrying about “upsetting” and “stressing” students and start thinking about the deaths and injury competent training will prevent.

>THERE IS NO LEARNING WITHOUT PAIN. True learning always involves exertion, discovery, and, yes, pain. Discarding dear falsehoods and pursuing the True Way is always painful, even stressful. “The realization of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.”



28 July 00

From a friend in the Philippines who recently attended their annual, local Gun Show:

“Chinese and Spanish guns are everywhere, everything from revolvers to Tokarevs, PPK clones, 1911 clones, 870 clones, and lever-action 22s. Prices are dirt cheap. Sales are brisk!

The Colt XS 1911 line was offered by only one dealer. Nice factory gun, but the price is prohibitive. We have a price problem down here with anything imported from any County (such as the USA) that has a strong currency.

Same dealer had a Kimber. Same problem on price. They’re just not going to move down here at those prices.

The local company that makes 1911s under the ‘Charles Daly’ brand for sale in the USA had a big display. Guns are well made and reasonably priced. I don’t know about the USA, but they’re hot sellers here!

One dealer imported a batch of Ed Brown ‘Classic Custom’ pistols. Stainless lower; blued upper. Fit and workmanship were disappointing. For a gun that sells for a bank president’s monthly pay over here, I expected better. Pass on this one.

There was a Russian-made, Kalashnikov-looking, twelve-gauge, autoloading shotgun on display. It attracted a lot of attention. It is marketed locally under the ‘Saiga’ name. Looks similar to the USAS Daewoo. Something for the kiddies.

S&W was not represented, but Taurus was. They were proudly showing their extensive line of titanium revolvers. However, ‘airweight’ revolvers are just not very popular here. Ditto with alloy-framed 1911s. Since it is so difficult to replace a broken gun or get one fixed down here, no one wants a gun that is likely to need repair or replacement any time soon. Robust guns are the most popular, despite the size and weight.

‘Less lethal’ options had a big presence. Local permits to carry concealed are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, at least for those who bother with such formalities. Without money and political connections, it’s tough to get one. ASP batons, pepper spray in every imaginable configuration, Tasers and other ERDs, etc were all on sale. Before this year, all that stuff was hard to find.

Of course, knives were everywhere too. Spyderco, Cold Steel, Benchmade, and even the pricey ‘Masters of Defense’ series all sold briskly.

As in your Country, people here want to be armed, and, as in your Country, government assurance of ‘safety’ are greeted with disdainful incredulity.”



29 July 00

These revealing observations from a friend in LA:

“I was in a movie theater last weekend when the fire alarm went off. Lights came on in the house, but the exit stairs were poorly lighted. I used my Surefire light (which, like you, I carry all the time) to illuminate the stairs. Interestingly, everyone was using only the right-hand side of the stairwell. Seeing this, I used my light to illuminate the left side and then subsequently opened the left-hand door, which (You guessed it!) no one was using. When I used the light, people followed me as they would an usher.

Last night, I attended a local rock concert. A group of young people were mistakenly seated one chair too far over, which put one in my seat. When I turned on my Surefire to clearly show them that they had left an empty seat by mistake, all ten got up and moved over to let me sit down and were very polite in doing so.


Sheepeople predictably revert to blindly adhering to set routines, even in life-threatening emergencies. This holds true, even though evacuating a building quickly calls for innovative solutions, such and using both sides of the stairs.

Using a flashlight in a crowd instantly establishes you as a leader and compels compliance, particularly among sheepeople who are accustomed to unquestioningly following directives.”

Having a Surefire flashlight you all the time is a good idea!



30 July 00


“The Eighteenth Century, the ‘Age of Reason,’ had produced great thinkers such as Rousseau, Voltaire, and Samuel Johnson, as well as great men of action, such as George Washington and Benedict Arnold. A man who would also surely change the course of history, but does not rank among the ‘greats’ in any category, was John Burgoyne.

‘Gentleman Johnny’ he was called by bored society ladies in London whom he routinely romanced. In fact, his gambling, outlandish clothing (He was called a ‘macaroni,’ a term referring to a person who engaged in eccentric dressing and other forms of self-advertisement), and numerous sexual indiscretions reached such legendary proportions, that Parliament ultimately sent him to America, just to get him out of town!

Burgoyne had displayed some military talent, though his main aptitude was, as noted above, in politics and socializing. However, he was exceedingly arrogant and a rueful slave to his own whims. Like so many present-day politicians, he was a moral weakling. That proved his fatal flaw and ultimately denied him the prominent place in history he coveted but never qualified for.

The strategy was for Burgoyne’s force to sail down Lake Champlain from Quebec, ultimately invading New York. General Howe would simultaneously advance up the Hudson Valley. When the two armies linked up, the rebels would be divided and ultimately crushed. It was a grand plan! But, like so many naive, military master plans, it soon fell victim to deadly accurate rifle fire delivered by determined Patriots who were resourceful frontiersman as well as inordinately capable marksmen, expertly led by the likes of Benedict Arnold and Daniel Morgan.

The ultimate confrontation took place at Saratoga, New York on Friday, 17 Oct 1777. While he dithered, Burgoyne left his forces in the open too long. One-by-one, his soldiers were struck by musket balls and rifle bullets. Before he knew it, his force had been demolished. The military genius he thought himself to be quickly developed feet of clay. After more dithering, he unpretentiously surrendered to the Patriots in an effort to salvage himself and what few men he had left.

Burgoyne was the first Crown General to surrender to the Patriots. He would not be the last! Upon his release and repatriation, Burgoyne was stripped of his commission and, now disgraced, sent back to London. Not one to sit around, he quickly took up residence with Susan Caulfield, a well known singer and actress, and was soon a popular item in London society once more, his defeat at Saratoga now a distant, albeit painful, memory. He would never command troops again.

Neither Burgoyne, nor Arnold, nor Morgan fully grasped the importance of Burgoyne’s defeat. Benjamin Franklin had been in France trying in vain to persuade the French king to ally with the Patriots. The king thought the entire rebel movement was insubstantial and would collapse at any moment. However, when he heard of the surrender at Saratoga, his mood changed. He abruptly ordered a fresh war against Britain and a new alliance with the fledgling American nation.

As it turns out, Saratoga was the turning point of the war.”

Lesson: Never underestimate the importance of good works you do. You may be living through a turning point and not even know it!