4 June 03
At a LEO Program in Michigan earlier this week, we had a small-statured student who was using a department G22. He had before never shot so many rounds in such a short time.
After several hundred rounds of normal cycling, his pistol started to suffer from failure to eject. The problem grew progressively worse, until I suggested to him that he use another gun. However, all the G22s he tried soon yielded the same result.
He was stocky but had small hands and could not grasp the Glock so that the bones of his arm were directly behind the frame. That was the problem!
I suggested he switch to a G23 with a ROBAR Grip Reduction. I had one with me that he was invited to use. The increased slide velocity, combined with the smaller grip solved the problem completely, and he was able to finish the course with no further gun/funcitonal problems.
The lesson here is that equipment has to fit the individual. People with small hands invariably have trouble with double-column pistols, particularly those with light, polymer frames. They need a single-column pistol or a grip reduction. Happily, we were able to convince the department training officer, who was there also, that the existing department gun (G22) was unsuitable for this particular student.
5 June 03
2003 NTI, Harrisburg, PA
This year, I was only able to stay for my day of shooting/testing at the NTI. Then, Vicki and I had to drive back to MI for courses there, which is why this summary is late this time. My usual practice is to stay for the entire NTI week in Harrisburg, PA and attend the banquet on Saturday. Happily, both Vicki and I were able to participate in a panel discussion on Tuesday evening at the hotel.
Skip, Jim, and the crew did yeoman’s work putting this year’s event together. Most of the setup had to be done in the rain. In fact, it rained most of Tuesday when I shot the course. Everything, including all the electronics, worked, in spite of great quantities of mud, flowing water, and puddles (actually lakes!) everywhere . We were all a soaked, muddy mess at the end of the day. Good show, once again!
As always, this year’s event included Simmunition drills in ASTA Village. Everything else was live fire. Included were: a “strange weapon” drill in a darkened building, two “escorted” rescue drills in building mockups, two “standard (known)” tactical exercises, and an “all by yourself” rescue drill in the 360 building mockup.
The day was fatiguing, uncomfortable, and unsettling as always. The rain and mud made it all the more intensive and exhausting. This year’s challenges were the most difficult and sophisticated yet. Most of what I encountered in the building mockups was unexpected, and I had to both think AND react my way through. It is the most mentally and emotionally draining activity in which I participate all year, with the possible exception of my big game hunting expeditions in Africa. The two activities are surely on the same level.
This year, I use my G32 (357SIG), Comtec IWB holster, Rusty Sherrick shoulder holster, and my S&W M340PD for backup. I carried my usual three knives (all by Colt Steel), a Ti-Lite for speed, a Culloden neck knife for stealth, and a Vaquero Grande for serious fighting. All was concealed under my CCW Clothiers vest.
In my G32 I shot Cor-Bon 115grHP. In my snubby, I shot Cor-Bon125gr HP. Nary a hiccup from either gun. All my Glocks are stock, except for factory night sights and a (standard) NY trigger on a five-pound connector. Most other after-market modifications are “not a good idea,” in my opinion. My S&W scandium snubby is completely stock.
Here are this year’s lessons:
When you have multiple, potential opponents, stack them.
In one drill, I was at a gas station when I was approached by a panhandler. Assuming the interview stance, I snapped my head around and noticed a second sleazy character behind me. By the time they both drew guns, I was between them. I should have stacked them when I had the chance, keeping both in front of me. I failed to take advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself. As things turned out, I was forced to stack them during the gunfight.
Had I not made it a practice to look all around, I never would have seen the second assailant. This was the sad fate of many of my fellow participants.
Indecisive movement is scant improvement over standing still.
In this same drill, I should have moved off the line of force boldly, as soon as I smelled a mugging in the making. Instead, I dithered as I processed all the incoming information. I was moving somewhat, but my insubstantial motion communicated indecision and confusion, instead of resolve and strength.
Verbal commands and addresses need to be practiced.
If they are not, the come out garbled and indecipherable. Tape loops must be rehearsed until they flow smoothly.
Cunning criminals can easily separate a member of a group from the main congregation.
My wife and I were walking side by side. Before I knew it, two mugging suspects had grabbed her and were carrying her away, kicking and screaming. By the time I realized I had no choice but to shoot one in the back, he (and she) were already ten feet away.
Leave when things start going in toilet.
In another challenge, I was filling out a form when a person came into the same office. His conversation with the clerk started normally enough, but rapidly grew belligerent. I wanted to complete the form, but decided I needed to exit. Sometimes, it takes a while to reaffirm one’s priorities. I took too long!
In a crisis, confusion rules. Emergencies need to be discussed, even rehearsed, in advance.
This year, after I thought the ASTA Village exercise was over, we were all asked to step in to a conference room to discuss the segment. Suddenly, a bomb went off! It was loud. Walls buckled, and the ceiling caved in. The room was filled with smoke. Gunshots and yelling were heard. I, for one, was taken completely by surprise. It was obvious to me that I had not thought enough about such an incident!
Don’t panic. Think your way through.
One of the live-fire segments involved the necessity to use an unfamiliar weapon (a British SMLE Enfield in 303Br) which one had to use in a darkened room. My predictable reaction to mission overload is always exasperation and dread. The mud and the rain also did nothing to improve my focus! I have to force myself to take a deep breath, regain control, size up the situation, make a plan, and move out boldly.
Carry pistol and backup pistol need to be used in harmony.
In several of the elaborate, live-fire challenges, after the second magazine in my G32 ran low, I consciously holstered it with several rounds left as I drew my backup pistol. In effect, I manufactured another backup. It was surely reassuring to me that, when I ran dry, I could immediately default to another gun.
The knife/pistol technique works well when one is surrounded by people who might want to disarm him.
I used my Cold Steel Vaquero Grande to dissuade potential gun grabbers in several of the problems. Upon seeing my blade and gun in such close proximity, few would have any interest in attempting a disarm
When a building fills with smoke, I was astonished at how disoriented I became.
I couldn’t remember where I had been, and I couldn’t find the exit. Once again, I had to calm myself down and make a plan.
Look up and down, as well as level.
I missed several important clues, because I failed to look up and down. In any tactical circumstance, one have to be moving and looking continuously.
Move laterally upon seeing a threat.
I am always tempted to stay in place and fire the instant I see a threat, but I now force myself to move off the line of force first.
One-handed shooting is a much more important skill than most realize.
Again this year, much of my shooting was one handed, not by choice. My left hand was constantly occupied with bloody bodies, opening doors (and holding them open), and keeping myself from stumbling.
Standing targets need to be zippered.
The zipper technique (starting at the navel and working one’s way up the body midline and into the thoracic triangle) routinely prevented me from getting my front sight too high too fast.
Again, all serious gunmen should try to get to the NTI. We all leave our egos at the door and lapse into “student mode.” I wouldn’t miss it!
5 June 03
New rifle for the USCG:
“Shortly, USCG drug interdiction/boarding teams will be armed with M-16s in an upper modified to chamber and shoot the 50AE cartridge. They will be using this weapon to disable the swift boats used by drug smugglers. The bullet has shown its ability to instantly shut down outboard motors and punch large holes in hulls. The ammunition is effective to 150 meters.”
Comment: I’m sure must testing was done. I’m interested to see if the new rifle will really do what they claim. Testing is often agenda driven. Real-life results are more difficult to fake.
6 June 03
At an LEO course in MI earlier this week, we scheduled an extensive low-light shooting session with handguns. One department’s representatives had their G22s all equipped with M3 quick detachable flashlights.
One student observed:
“The light is always in alignment with the barrel, and reloads can be done without tucking the flashlight under one’s arm. Shooters can keep both hands on their pistol when shooting (unlike the case when using the Harris’ technique) and, even with one hand injured or occupied, the shooter can still use gun and light together.
However, the light is always in direct alignment with the barrel, so one can’t light up something without pointing the gun at it. Also, because the light is right below the barrel, if one takes more than four shots from any one place, he will discover himself in a ‘white out,’ where the light is hitting smoke and unburned powder hanging in the air, effectively masking the target. No problem if there is room to move, but an issue in tight quarters.
The user must learn how to attach and remove the flashlight while keeping his hand below the line of the barrel, and must also learn how to avoid the ‘constant on’ switch, located on the right side of the unit.
Finally, one can’t reholster with the light attached.
This piece of equipment has its place, as long as the user is aware of all of the foregoing. I will have the M3 attached to my bedside Glock, but will not carry it (I’ll stick with my Surefire 6P).”
Comment: I’ve already editorialized on the subject of multipurpose emergency equipment. Personally, I prefer a gun that is just a gun.
7 June 03
“It is common for the M3 light to come flying off the pistol. It’s happened so often here, we’re gone back to Surefires.”
“Compared with the Surefire, the M3 is flimsy. We got rid of ours and now use Surefires exclusively.”
Comment: I’ve received many more comments expressing the same sentiments. The verdict seems unanimous!
7 June 03
On the Taurus PT92 safety/decocking lever, from a friend in Africa:
“We had a Taurus PT92 in a course, a shiny stainless number! This gun is basically a Beretta 92, with a frame-mounted ‘manual (three-position) safety/decocker’.
If carried cocked and locked, pushing the safety into the ‘off’ position too enthusiastically also decocks the pistol, negating the benefit of having it cocked in the first place. In addition, if the shooter then holds the lever down, the pistol won’t shoot at all!
The student using this gun was an ‘expert’ in double-action/confusion shooting by yesterday evening.
No thanks! Give me a Glock any day!”
Lesson: At the moment of truth, the last thing you need is a bewildering choice of several ways to proceed. This is why pistols like the PT92 have never gained any real market share and why pistols like Glock seem to have cornered it all. The Glock has only one component to its fire control system, the trigger. No manual decocking levers; no manual safeties. Nothing needs to be done to it in order to enable it to shoot, and nothing needs to be done to it after it is shot in order to get it into a condition where it is appropriate to holster. The gun does everything for you, except shoot itself. No choices. No confusion.
7 June 03
Fighting from within cars:
A federal agent and great friend of mine and of the NTI presented a thoroughgoing lecture on fighting from within cars during this year’s event. Important points:
A moving car, going as slow as fifteen miles per hour, is seldom penetrated by pistol bullets, even rifle bullets. Resistance to penetration is even greater at higher speeds. A stopped car is penetrated much more often. The lesson is clear: if you’re in a car and the fight starts, stay in the car, speed up, get everyone down, and get out of there.
Unless the attackers have RPGs, staying in the car and leaving at high speed nearly always makes more sense than exiting the car and fighting/fleeing on foot. A hit from an RPG will cause casualties on the inside of a car and probably disable it, but even a skilled RPG crew will have great difficulty hitting a rapidly accelerating car. As noted above, small arms fire at moving cars mostly fails to hit in the first place, and even the rounds that do hit seldom penetrate to the interior.
Molotov cocktails are largely ineffective against moving cars. If one strikes your car, just drive away. It will burn out in seconds and so little damage.
Keep the interior of your car clean. Trash inside a vehicle can become harmful missiles during an explosion or high-speed crash.
Seat belts are a two-edged sword. Wearing them restricts movement and makes getting into an effective firing position difficult. However, wearing them also makes it likely that one will survive a crash and remain conscious long enough to exit the vehicle and flee to safety. Wearing them is usually a good idea. They should only be taken off when things get desperate.
Crack the windows several inches when things start going in the toilet. A cracked window is easily broken. Rolled all the way up, car windows are nearly impossible to break from the inside.
If you’re being followed by another vehicle, crack the driver’s window and spray OC out the opening. The slipstream will deliver it directly to the pursuing vehicle. Even if their windows are rolled up, the OC will be sucked in to their vehicle and “encourage” them to find something else to do!
When firing at pursuing vehicles, shoot into the radiator. It’s a big target, and once a radiator leak is created, the pursuing vehicle will quickly overheat and have to stop.
The best weapons for fighting from a car are pistols and short-barreled rifles. Long-barreled rifles and shotguns are unwieldy and difficult to maneuver inside a car. A good “urban rifle” is just the ticket. The best caliber is 308. Rifles chambered for 223 lack sufficient penetration to be effective against most cars.
8 June 03
From a friend with the LAPD:
“The rumors that have relentlessly circulated since Bratton became our new chief several months ago are coming true! The Beretta 92F that we have used here for so many years will be phased out in favor of the Glock pistol, probably the G22 and/or G23. I, for one, am glad to see the caliber upgrade.
A number of reasons have been cited. Our existing fleet of pistols is due (actually overdue) for retirement, and an upgrade to 40S&W has been in the works for some time. However, durability issues with the Beretta 96F have effectively eliminated it from consideration.
All our firearms instructors are purchasing personal G23s, so they can be ready for the switch.”
Comment: The LAPD is the last, big department to give up on the Beretta pistol. Beretta, once king of the hill, has steadily lost market share to the point where today they can be called “non-players.”
9 June 03
Pistol performance in the Philippines, from a friend there:
“Over here, Beretta 92s have endured only because those who have them don’t shoot them much, far less than you Americans. Some have ditched them because of grip size. We have small hands compared with yours.
CZ75s and clones fare slightly better. Rarely do operators carry them hammer down on a loaded chamber. Cocked and locked is the preferred mode, due (once again) to trigger reach. In terms of durability, frame, slide and barrel of the CZ’s have stood up to hard use, but smaller, internal parts have not. You need two to keep one running.
SIGs have not seen real use here, again due to trigger-reach difficulties. They’re just not designed for our small hands.
Kahrs have a small but fiercely loyal following.
Glocks have suffered a bad rap mainly due to slide breakages, either near the ejection port or under the muzzle. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens often enough to be alarming to some. I’m not sure why it happens here and not in the USA.
Taurus PT92s (and all other pistols with three-position safety/decocking levers) have developed a bad rap here as well. Your African friend’s observation is common here . Many users find that, when the pucker factor accelerates, they bear down on the safety/decocking lever so hard that the gun cannot be made to fire.
The Walther P99 developed a strong patronage, but, seven years later, we’re having problems with broken firing pins, even when snap caps are used to dry fire. In addition, sights routinely wobble in their dovetails.
The 1911 lives on, but it too isn’t free from woes. Firing pin stops work loose. Extractors require frequent checks for proper tension (and breakage). Slide stops and hammers break, and improperly adjusted internals often turn the gun into a machine pistol.
My own two cents reflects the advice you give in your rifle book. You may not find one gun that has all the ideal features, but you should come close if you shop hard enough. In our case, it’s a little trickier since our hand sizes are significantly smaller than those of our American or European brethren.”
Comment: A piece of emergency/safety equipment as personal as a defensive handgun needs to fit properly and suit the user. No one gun will “fit all,” despite the efforts of big police departments to pretend it is so. The search will last a lifetime (which we all hope is long and prosperous!)
11 June 03
Notes from the IALEFI Conference in Orlando, FL:
S&W had a strong presence at the vendor’s show today and last night.
The SIGMA pistol is still in the product line and will remain. It is now their “low-cost” pistol.
The P99 is now offered in the “Revolver Trigger”mode, the “Glock Trigger” mode (called the “QA”), and the “Manual Decocking” mode. The “Glock Trigger” mode is nice, but, on all models, the trigger still starts too far forward for those with small hands.
They tell me that some departments who have purchased the manual-decocking version of the P99 are now making the act of manual decocking optional! Officers are given the option of never decocking. That moves the trigger into a permanent, rear position, solving the trigger-too-far-forward problem, but, in my opinion, not giving the officer sufficient control over the trigger. Time will tell.
The P99 system is now available in a single-column 45ACP. Grip and pistol are comfortable. Nice gun in that caliber.
A magazine safety does not come with the P99, but is available as an option. Most are already familiar with my opinion of magazine safeties.
Because of its light weight, recoil is sharp on the P99 in 40S&W.
S&W’s 1911 is a nice gun. Feeds Cor-Bon PowerBall like hardball. I’m going to have to get one!
I finally had the opportunity to get my hands on an “X-Frame” revolver in 500 S&W and shoot it. A monstrosity (albeit an elegant one)!
I also had the opportunity to use the new SIG self-decocking trigger system (mounted on a 229). It has no name yet, but we all liked it. Pull weight is a consistent, smooth, seven pounds and short. Hammer spur is gone. It can be used in conjunction with either a regular or a short trigger. Vast improvement over SIG’s existing self-decocking (“flat revolver”) system. I’ll have one soon.
Cor-Bon PowerBall in 45ACP, 40S&W, and 9mm fed flawlessly in all pistols present. This is the best round to use in just about any pistol. High speed, unimpaired functioning, adequate penetration, consistent and spectacular expansion, no plugging of the hollow cavity with clothing, benign appearance. Nothing not to like!
FN is now making the Hi-Power in the “SFS” trigger system. In this system, after a round is chambered, the operator manually pushes the hammer spur forward. The hammer spur actually disconnects from the hammer itself, so the gun is still “cocked.” It just doesn’t look that way. When one needs to shoot, pushing the manual safety down “recocks” the hammer (reconnects the hammer spur to the hammer itself). It a clever, cosmetic feature, designed to mollify those uninformed few who might see a cocked hammer and perceive a hazard. Friend, Bill Laughridge used to offer this system as an option on Hi-Powers. Now, FN offers it from the factory. The downside is that it always takes two hands to reholster.
The Beretta (pistol cartridge) rifle, called the CX4 (Storm), is streamlined, comfortable, and handy. Unfortunately, the crossbolt manual safety is misplaced and impossible to use without compromising one’s grasp on the gun, and the forend gets too hot to grasp under rapid fire. The rifle only takes Beretta pistol magazines, another mistake. Ruger made the same mistake with their pistol-caliber rifles, by only making them to accept Ruger pistol magazines. If both the Beretta CX4 and the Ruger rifles accepted Glock magazines, they couldn’t make them fast enough!
Remington is now marketing their M7600 pump rifle as a police carbine. The caliber on display was 308. It will have a hard time competing with the DSA/FAL, but it is cheap by comparison.
An Israeli company is producing the “Corner Shot,” which is an elaborate, self-contained device that holds a Glock pistol in the front and enables the operator to look at a television monitor in the rear as he peers around corners. Clever, but it has a sizable learning curve and it is expensive. In addition, it is a real hazard on the range, since the operator can inadvertently point the muzzle sideways before he knows it, and the sideways recoil is a strange sensation! I witnessed several occasions where students inadvertently pointed the gun sideways down the firing line!
Beamhit, represented by the always exuberant (and my good friend) Brian Felter, has greatly expanded their product line. They are now competing with more expensive video simulators. It is a clever system on which many mechanical skills can be trained in, all in a non-shooting environment.
Snail Systems displayed their “flowing water” bullet trap. It’s a conventional, steel escalator trap with a constant, downward flow of water over the impact area. The effect is that incoming bullets never actually hit the steel. Instead, they hit the water and hydroplane upward and into the snail chamber for final deenergizeation. Dust is eliminated, as is noise and wear and tear on the steel itself. For a heavy use range, it is a great idea.
Advanced Training Systems is now making dense, rubber sheeting for range walls and, in some cases, impact areas. Made from recycled tires, it is inexpensive and long lasting. It can even be used for knockdown targets.
Lasermax had a nice display. The unit fits completely inside a Glock, SIG, 1911, and Beretta. I used it in conjunction with a partner (who also had one). I found that the laser can actually be a nonverbal form of communication with a partner. If one of us lasers a suspect, the partner can see and knows to laser the second suspect. I may have to soften my opinion of lasers on pistols.
The Prism video simulator was on display. Excellent but expensive. The system is now available in an IMAX format, with screens on the sides and back, forcing the student to look all around.
I used a rifle with an EO sight on several Prism scenarios. I dialed down the brightness of the illuminated aiming point, perceiving it as too bright. However, seconds later, when I was under stress, it became obvious that the aiming point was not bright enough! Next time, I’ll know to make it brighter than I think necessary.
I noticed that the EO System encouraged me to shoot too fast. I had to make myself slow down.
12 June 03
More from the IALEFI Conference in Orlando, FL:
Dave Grossman has a knack for putting into words what so many of us have danced around for years but to which we’ve never attached descriptive labels. Dave and Gary Klugiewicz have both expressed the concern that too much of the training, ostensibly designed to prepare students for emergencies, is done in the abstract. They go on to say that, at some point, training must be conducted under stress, so that it will be useable to the student when he must apply it under stress. It’s called “Stress Inoculation,” and it is the term we’ve been looking for. Psychomotor skills that are intended to be useful to a student in an emergency must be pushed from the frontal lobes into the midbrain. Thus, in training, stress needs to be manufactured, so that the student can be immersed in it as he trains. As I said, most of us do it now. We just didn’t know how to describe it. Thanks to Gary and Dave!
Another of my colleagues brought up a second point that I wish I had thought of and articulated before now. In the middle of a gun battle, it is likely that the shooter will neither hear the sound of his own shots nor feel the recoil of his pistol. Tunnel vision and auditory exclusion have been documented for a long time now and are familiar to all of us. In fact, many are the instances where an officer has pressed the trigger on his empty pistol multiple times before realizing that it was not firing any more and has, long since, needed to be reloaded.
We should, of course, be focused on our pistol’s front sight, but we need to make it a practice of mentally noting, in our peripheral vision, the ejected case flying up and out. So long as we note the case departing the outline of the slide, we can be confident that the pistol just fired, even when we can neither hear the report nor feel the recoil. Again, it is something many of us are already doing. Now we know why it is important, just how important it is, and why our students need to make a practice of it.
16 June 03
From a friend who owns a gunshop in the south:
“A shooter at a big local match, while loading a handgun using the ‘front slide serrations’ on his pistol, allowed several of his left-hand fingers forward of the muzzle (an error nearly impossible to avoid when using this specious gun handling technique). Somewhere in there, his strong-side index finger made its way inside the trigger guard, and the pistol discharged. The shooter was astonished, as he was obviously unaware of where his fingers (on both hands) were. His left index finger was shot off, and he then pressed the trigger a second time in an apparent startle response, and shot off the middle finger on the same hand!
The damage is not life threatening, but he now has a permanent, disabling injury.”
Lesson: I don’t know how often this has to happen! Grabbing the slide of any autoloading pistol ahead of the ejection port is not only a poor tactical procedure (because the ejection port is thus usually blocked), it is a veritable invitation to a shooting injury to the shooter’s weak-side hand, as we see from the foregoing.
On any autoloading pistol, placing slide serrations ahead of the ejection port is a senseless and dangerous design flaw, in my opinion.
16 June 03
From a friend with the LAPD:
“On Thursday, two of our narcotics cops were involved in a shooting in my division. I was the first sergeant on scene.
Two rival gang members had squared-off on a pedestrian-packed sidewalk. Each pulled out a handgun (one a no-name autoloader/mouse gun, the other a Ruger six-inch revolver w/38Spl ammunition) and commenced shooting at each other at a range of ten feet. The Ruger shooter scored six hits! The auto shooter scored only one. Both shooters then calmly walked away from each other.
The Ruger shooter passed his pistol off to a buddy who then turned and faced two of our guys with the revolver still in his hand. Our officers both fired instantly upon seeing the gun. Each officer (armed with Beretta 92Fs) fired two shots. All four shots missed completely! Fortunately for them, the suspect could not have fired anyway, as the revolver was completely expended and had not been reloaded. He dropped to the ground and surrendered without further incident. The shooter himself was arrested a short time later.
The second gang member, the one with the six holes in him, passed his gun to his thirteen-year-old girlfriend, who started to walk away. Two of my sharpest officers pulled up and saw the hand-off. They grabbed her and him, and recovered the gun. He went DRT shortly thereafter.
Our Chief Bratton showed up minutes later! (one would never see either of our two former chiefs do anything like that). I briefed him and showed him the scene. The very first thing he wanted to know was that our officers were okay and being taken care of. He made it clear that the suspect’s unlucky demise was ‘just as well.’ I like him already!”
Comment: So do I!
Lessons: Sometimes criminal suspects are competent shooters! We need to be better, faster, and act decisively and without hesitation. At the moment of truth, we will shoot about as well at we did on our worst day of training. The two officers who missed need to take the hint and get to the range!
24 June 03
Your “Lizard Brain”
In a recent conversation with good friend, Dave Grossman, Dave mentioned that he had recently talked with a gaggle of bearded, bespectacled psychiatrists (all with heavy, German accents). Dave was getting their advice on the differences between the human “front brain” and the “mid-brain.” They had a number of terms for the “mid-brain,” all with a minimum of six syllables and all difficult to pronounce. When Dave suggested to them the term, “mid-brain,” they all nodded in wavering agreement that the term was probably adequately descriptive and that longer and more difficult terms would never see general use anyway.
What Dave, Gary Klugiewicz, and I all concur on is that lifesaving, psychomotor skills, intended to be used in an emergency must eventually filter from the frontal lobes (front brain), where they are first learned, into the mid-brain (primitive or “lizard” brain) if they are ever going to be accessible when one is in a hyper-stressful, crisis environment.
The frontal lobes is where our intellect dwells. Its precocious and elevated development separates us from lower forms of life. In one’s frontal lobes lives discernment, understanding, and our ethical skeleton. However, the frontal lobes are also the residence of confusion, indecision, hesitation, and panic. The frontal lobes are never really quite sure of anything! The front brain is the “legislative branch” of our intelligence. The mid-brain is the “executive branch.” The front brain works just fine when we are, at a leisurely pace, contemplating our navels, but, in a life-threatening emergency, a shrewd front brain wisely hands off operations to the mid-brain.
The mid-brain has no philosophy, no hesitation, and no regret. It knows only death, and life, and nothing in between! The mid-brain is never confused and never dithers. Its job is to get us out of this mess alive! It is poor at multitasking. It acts decisively and only does one thing at a time. It never apologizes, never looks back, and sheds no tears.
Unfortunately, the mid-brain is ignored in the training philosophy of many institutions. We do too much training “in the abstract.” “In the abstract” is where all training must begin, because the front brain is the entry point for all information. Unhappily, that is where much of what passes for training also ends. As the student is gradually immersed in the training environment, stress levels must be increased so that important psychomotor skills begin to filter into the mid-brain. The mid-brain will only “know what to do” if the student has been “stress-inoculated.”
The hand-off from front brain to mid-brain must be seamless and immediate. The mid-brain has to “hit the ground running” if there is to be any chance that it can act in time to save your life. You need to “have a plan,” and it must reside in the mid-brain. Unhelpful thoughts, swimming around in your front brain, must be jettisoned before they contaminate your mid-brain. This will mean endless repetitions under physical stress and anxiety.
Ultimately, your front brain will be of limited use during a crisis. In fact, it (and you, if you don’t permit a hand-off to the mid-brain) will be little more than a blithering, dithering buffoon! If the hand-off to your mid-brain is smooth, authoritative, and timely, and your mid-brain has been well trained , it will know what to do and will act decisively to save your life. Treat it well. Train it well!
24 June 03
From an LEO friend in OH:
“I have run fifty 135gr PowerBall rounds thru my G23. I have to say that this stuff is the stoutest ammo I have shot yet. Velocity of 1325fps is cited on the box, but I got nothing lower than 1355 and as high as 1405, with the majority at 1375fps. Hot stuff!”
Comment: I believe PowerBall is going to be “the way to go” in all serious calibers. Solves a number of problem at once. Great product!
29 June 03
Latest from LAPD:
“Our Police Commission is about to approve the Glock pistol for the LAPD. It is a forgone conclusion. The chief wants them. We’ll have 9mm, .40S&W, and .45 ACP. Officer’s choice. Our department firearms instructors have already gone through a Glock transition course.
The official round will be Winchester/Ranger.
Officers will have the option of retaining their Beretta 92Fs, but the majority are expected to make the switch.”
Comment: It will be interesting to see how many make the switch and how fast.