1 Mar 00


A number have asked why I used 90gr 9mm ammunition instead of what I have often said I prefer in that caliber, 115-124gr bullets.

The reason is that in a suitcase one can get more rounds in the lighter bullet weight than would be the case with heaver bullets. Sometimes non-tactical circumstances make hypocrites of us all!

Most police holsters there are level-one with conventional thumb-break snaps. Unfortunately, the snap doesn’t work well when the CZ-75 pistol is cocked and locked. Several small, local manufacturers make acceptable leather, concealment holsters, nothing, of course, like Lew Alessi or Mitch Rosen. Kydex is generally unavailable. My friends there now all have Elderton Ky-Tac holsters and love them! There is nothing like Kydex in hot, sweaty weather.

I wore Second Chance’s new Zylon Ultima body armor both to and from Africa and for much of the time I was there, particularly when I went on several ride-alongs with the Capetown Traffic Police to some of the city’s garden spots. It is amazingly thin, flexible, and light. The most comfortable body armor I’ve ever worn. Great stuff. Glad I had it!

Since he first invented soft body armor, Dick Davis has been responsible for every significant advance in the technology since. This newest innovation is no exception. The first soft body armor was made by Second Chance. The best still is!



7 Mar 00

This from a friend who is a commercial airline pilot:

“John McCain was a flight instructor of mine during the Basic Jet phase of my Navy flight training at Meridian, MS in 1965. I owe him a debt of gratitude for what he taught me about taking control of a jet and making it do exactly what I wanted it to do with precision and confidence.

Unhappily, I subsequently lost faith in John McCain. A large group of airline pilots, faced with mandatory age-sixty retirement, who, like me, knew John from their military service years, were led by him to believe that he would lead a legislative push to overturn the infamous “age-sixty” rule. After leading our group on, he dropped us cold when ALPA (Air Line Pilots Assn) showed up with PAC money in hand.”

This is the one who is interested in political finance reform?



7 Mar 00

This from a friend in the Philippines:

“Had the chance to examine and work with an ASP Baton yesterday. After an hour of practice, I could no longer get the forward most shaft to retract into the handle. I banged the thing on a concrete floor in an attempt to get the device to close. No luck.

I then sprayed penetrating oil on the frozen section and left it to soak overnight. Still no luck.

Pass this around to your law enforcement buddies. They may have experienced the same thing with ASP batons and perhaps can share a fix.”

If you have comments, I’ll pass them on.



7 Mar 00

This from friend who is an ER physician in the Midwest:

“Last week I evaluated three gunshot victims in the ER and operated on one.

Victim 1:

Young male sustained gsw (handgun) to R neck in submandibular area. Bullet with significant fragmentation ultimately lodged against skull base in mastoid region. Small entrance wound without powder burns. Massive swelling to lateral neck secondary to probable avulsion of occipital artery. He was alert and verbal. He’ll be okay.

Victim 2:

Young male inside restaurant sustained close range gsw (handgun) to right forehead. Golfball-sized swollen region on forehead with central stellate entrance wound. No exit wound. Venous bleeding and brain matter spontaneously expressed. Flexor posture on right, 7mm midposition pupils. Trace withdrawal on left. CT showed bullet/bone
fragments from frontal entrance wound through basal ganglia. Bullet lodged adjacent to torcular. Rapid deterioration to brain death. His only family was a father who had loaned him his car to go get lunch. I escorted the father to the ICU bedside for ID

Victim 3:

Elderly male sitting in car in drive thru sustained gsw (handgun) to left parietal region. Range to shooter was fifteen feet. Oblique entrance wound with silver-dollar-size subgaleal hematoma. He was combative but eventually followed commands. CT showed 4×4 cm posterior temporal-occipital hematoma. Bone/bullet fragments along trajectory. The bullet fractured the occipital bone inner table but did not exit. Entrance wound skin grayish discoloration/burned look with underlying punched-out skull fracture and linear fracture extending posteriorly. Brain matter/blood spontaneously expressed from dural opening. Upon opening dura, I found herniation of swollen brain/hematoma. Deeper arterial bleeding from probable sylvian vessels and multiple bone fragments lodged deep in brain with hair strands and metal fragments. I debrided and closed primarily after excising scalp entrance wound.”


When using a handgun, the head is always a poor target, even at close range. Of the three head wounds described, only one was fatal, and in at least two cases, the victim was alert and completely capable of defensive actions. If you need to take someone out of the fight quickly, the chest and neck are the best targets. Rapid, multiple hits are always indicated.



7 Mar 00

From my friend in the Philippines:

“On the legal front, the Chief of the National Police has recently liberalized the number and type of guns one can own. Previous limits were lifted, and the sole restrictions now remaining are submachine guns and other full-auto weapons.

At the same time, permits to carry handguns outside residence have been very slow. Since the new chief took over in November, only fifteen permits have been issued (all to his friends and other politicians). This is in contrast to over two thousand per month during previous years.

The new Chief finally allowed rifles to be owned so that citizens have the capability to fight heavily armed criminals should they invade innocents’ homes. But, he won’t trust the same populace to carry their legally licensed guns for protection when they go about their normal routine.

We live with what we have and then fight for what we deserve.”

Lesson: This is the problem when unelected bureaucrats acquire arbitrary power at the expense of citizens’ rights. This is also what happens when local control is lost. That national police chief couldn’t care less about the plight of innocent citizens in some out-of-the-way place.

Therefore, be wary when someone gets appointed as the “czar” of something.

Any time government at any level wants to “do” something for you, they remove the opportunity and the possibility of you doing it for yourself.



14 Mar 00

At a Course last weekend in Los Angeles, one of my students carried a Glock-17 in a plastic holster made by a company called Fobus. We’ve seen a few Fobus holsters in other courses. They are inexpensive and, while they are not nearly as elegant as those made by Dave Elderton at Ky-Tac, Dave Wegner at Blade-Tec, or Gregg Garrett, they are at least functional.

Not this one! A piece of plastic continuously pushed in the magazine-release button as the weapon was holstered. The result was that the magazine kept falling out after the gun was drawn. A quick swipe with my Cold Steel Scimitar solved the problem, of course. This is the first example of this problem I’ve seen.

Another student carried a Witness pistol in 10mm. It’s basically a copy of the CZ-75, and worked about as well! It experienced a failure to feed every fifth round. The barrel was vented, and the venting did reduce the muzzle flip, but nobody wanted to stand next to it! The student eventually abandoned it for another Witness pistol, this one in 9mm. It worked only slightly better.



14 Mar 00

This from my friend in the Philippines:

“A local Army Unit adopted M16s manufactured by Olympic Arms. ‘Select fire’ is a proper description. Either it fires or it doesn’t! Examination of the defective units showed that the gas port in the barrel is off center and not mating fully with the gas tube. The same weapon manufactured by Bushmaster, and in use with the National Police, are much better.

The M16 shall remain our standard service rifle for quite some time. The H&K G36s would have been fine, but I can’t see how any armed force can adopt them in large numbers, aside from those within affluent nations.

The Beretta 92DAO (‘D’ model) that was adopted by the national police is plagued by its size to the point that many troops cannot grip the pistol well. The leadership has consequently approved the conversion of these guns to manual decocking, at the user’s expense.

The only cops who go about life unharassed around here are those using personally owned weapons like Glocks and 1911s which are better suited to our hand sizes.”



21 Mar 00

I just finished an Advanced Defensive Handgun Course with several friends form the intelligence community in the Washington, DC area. Of the twenty people there, most had 1911s (Kimbers, Wilsons, and Para-Ordiances). There were several Glocks, and one Beretta 96 Compact.

It’s interesting to see the perennial popularity of the 1911 among those who work in unwholesome environments. When working with police departments on the East Coast, one usually sees Glocks and Berettas, but not with these folks.

Carry ammunition for the 1911 was mostly 230gr Federal Hydra-Shok.



21 Mar 00

From a friend with a PD on the East Coast:

“It’s in vogue for everybody to carry some type of big knife. Last week, while running a qualification course, I watched one of our officers, who is no amateur with a pistol, swiftly speed load his Buck 110 folding knife into the magazine well of his SIG 228! He had placed his knife pouch in front of his magazine carrier. The two apparently felt the same, and he withdrew the knife, indexed properly I might add, and shoved it into the gun.”

Lessons: Don’t put things of less importance than your spare magazine in front of it!



21 Mar 00

This from a friend who just returned from a trip to Disney World in Florida:

“A ‘fanny pack’ is an excellent concealment option for tourist attractions such as Disney World, blending in to that habitat perfectly. Even my large Bianchi in black nylon generated not so much as a second look, and the Mickey Mouse patch I attached to the front was perfect camouflage.”

‘Safari vests’ are sold there in the gift shop, so they are therefore quite common on the park grounds. They also don’t generate any particular scrutiny”



21 Mar 00

Are subguns as intimidating as shotguns?

This is from a friend in a Midwest PD:

“During a drug raid at a local flop house last week, two suspects were located in the living room. Terry was the first one through the door. He leveled his pistol on the suspects and ordered them to the ground. To his amazement they just stood there and ‘stared at me.’

His partner then came through from behind and leveled the subgun ( Steyr 9mm) on them, simultaneously repeating the command. They dropped so fast that they nearly put dents in the floor!

No shots were fired”



23 Mar 00

Training Female Students!

Two weeks ago Vicki conducted an all-female, Basic Defensive Handgun course in Nevada. I assisted (too much at times!) along with several of our local instructors.

Our students ranged in age from one teenage girl (her father assisted with the students) to a successful business woman in her seventies. Most were thirty-ish and married with children. None had any substantive experience in the defensive shooting arts when they came to us.

I knew the class would be a distinguished experience when a woman I was coaching fired her first shot (from a Glock 19) and knocked down a steel place eight meters downrange. The moment the plate fell, she burst into tears! It was completely spontaneous, and the event took both of us by surprise. Several others had similar experiences.

Vicki had great success! At then conclusion of the course nearly all of our students were able to pass the practical test, and they all vowed to return for the next program. They had overcome their fear and their doubts. It was a great victory.

I am still a pitiable novice at this, but here are several things I learned and won’t forget:

> Women are far more verbal than graphic. Detailed, step-by-step instructions are necessary for each motor sill. Unlike men, women don’t visualize in great detail and thus won’t fill in the blanks, and they won’t go forward on their own unless they are confident they adequately understand the next step.

> This skill has a great emotional content when it is taught to women, particularly when they confront the reality that they are learning to inflict lethal wounds on human beings. Men don’t feel the emotion as intensely and don’t display it as spontaneously.

> Women don’t come to us with the mechanical skills which most men possess and take for granted. The way the slide moves on the frame, the way cartridges are fed in to the chamber, even the act of charging a pistol magazine are not as intuitively obvious to women as they are with men with mechanical backgrounds. One must thus slow down and explain these things thoroughly, lest students start regarding the pistol as a magical contrivance rather than the deadly simple machine that it is.

> When women cry, one must just let them cry and then get back to the task at hand without further delay. Like vomiting, crying is something which cannot be controlled, nor should it be. Female students must understand that crying is okay but that it will not bring a halt to training. After the crying, the lesson resumes.

> Male instructors, like me, must make an emotional connection with female students. They need to understand that we have their best interests in mind even when we’re not a patient or as delicate as they would appreciate us being. When the emotional connection is lost, learning ceases.

I know much of the foregoing is politically incorrect, but the notion that men and women learn the same things in the same way is rubbish. Of course, there are some men who tend to learn like women and visa versa, but the goal of the student and the instructor is always the same: the improvement of the student. Many times, they can’t come to us. We have to come to them!



24 Mar 00

“It’s tough taking sides in an argument between Charlton Heston and Bill
Clinton. On one side you have a classic actor trained to fake emotion
for the camera, trained to win you over with a well rehearsed script and
then on the other side you have Charlton Heston.”

— Allyson Smith, San Diego Tribune, 3/22/00



24 Mar 00

This just in from a friend in a position to know:

“Look for the US military to dump the M9 (9mm Beretta 92F) at their next opportunity and go back to the 45 ACP, probably an H&K.”



24 Mar 00

Did you see this in the “mainstream” media? This from a friend in the US Border Patrol:

“Just last week in El Paso, two of our horse-mounted officers were chased by nine Mexican soldiers in jeeps. The incident took place three miles inside the US. They shot at our guys more or less continuously for nearly an hour. We’re extremely lucky they’re such bad shots, as none of our guys were hurt. We finally got some help on scene, and we took them all into custody at gunpoint.

What a surprise! Next day Janet Reno ordered us to send them all back to Mexico, with their weapons, ammunition, and vehicles. No charges. No detention. All they did was try to murder federal officers on US soil, nothing really serious! As you can imagine, morale here is something to behold.”



24 Mar 00

This just in from a friend who is a range officer with a large, metro PD. Did you see any of this in the media?

“I had a chance to see one of those locking magazines that Glock has produced. Our idiot governor has forced the State Park Police to adopt them (the governor’s own bodyguard detail is apparently exempt; what a surprise!).

During the televised news conference where the locking magazine was first shown to the public, no one, not the governor nor any of the police officials present, including the chief, could figure out how to unlock the damn thing and render a gun which was capable of firing. This was all despite the fact that during the various attempts the gun was pointed at everyone on the room several times as well as in every other conceivable unsafe direction.

None of them were being shot at. There was plenty of light to see what they were doing, and they had presumably rehearsed the act many times in preparation for the press event. Still, none of them could get the pistol to where it could be fired.

Amazingly, instead of expressing concern for the safety of his troopers, the governor and his assembled gallery of yes-men all commented on how well the device obviously works!

We tested the device here at the PD range last night. After much practice, it took the best of us a minimum of ten seconds to get our Glocks unlocked and ready to fire, and that was with enough light to see well enough to operate the lock. In the dark, it took much longer, and many of us were unable to make it work at all.

In addition, we found that the magazine can easily be bumped and inadvertently locked without the officer being aware of it.

Perhaps it is just me, but the problem of safety locks is like the dilemma of Descartes and the mind/body issue. No matter where you say the intersection of the mind and body is, you still have to explain how they can interact. No matter how deep in the mechanism you put the safety lock, if the gun can be made to fire, it can be made to fire at the wrong time. But maybe it is just me who doesn’t get it.”

An additional concern is that officers, instead of securing their guns within a locked container, will simply flip a switch on the magazine and then leave them lying around.

Lesson: Public officials don’t care about the safety of their officers any more than they care about the safety of citizens. As always, you’re on your own!



27 Mar 00

Trigger “safety” locks!

This from a friend in MA:

“Last week in a local Massachusetts courthouse, an attorney was placing his handgun in a locker, as is required at this particular public building. He was carrying on a state CCW permit.

Apparently wanting to be ‘really safe,’ the lawyer drew his pistol and then attempted to put a trigger lock on it prior to placing it into the gun locker. You guessed it! As he was attempting to install the trigger lock on his loaded pistol, it discharged into a wall. Fortunately, there were no injuries. The attorney was not charged, and the whole incident was quickly buried.”

Lesson: Trigger “safety” locks should be banned from the face of the Earth! I highly recommend against their use and the use of any other device which goes inside the trigger guard.



28 Mar 00

This from a police range officer in Wisconsin:

“The Wisconsin State Patrol recently got a whole bunch of surplus M-16s from the government’s North Star program, and quite a few troopers now have them in their patrol cars. A number of local departments, including the Madison PD, have done likewise. It’s becoming more difficult, however, as the supply of North Star M-16s has now mostly dried up. A few departments have opted for Mini-14s.

The point is that now that the WSP has broken the ice, shotguns are quietly being replaced with rifles in beat cars statewide. Interesting how rapidly trends like this can take hold. As you might imagine, there has been zero publicity!”



28 Mar 00

Maybe there are at least a few intelligent people left!

This is from a friend in upstate NY:

“Two weeks ago our county legislature was discussing a bill that proposed ‘mandatory trigger locks.’ We went to the meeting and brought an unloaded gun and a trigger lock, and proceeded to show them just how ‘effective’ such devices are. We showed them how trigger locks are a veritable invitation to an AD.

By some miracle they actually got the message and ‘determined to study the issue further.’ At the next meeting we were also there and pointed out how the proposed new law (like most gun laws) was self-contradictory, impossibly vague, and so poorly written that none of the lawyers in the group were able to say for sure what the law specifically required.

Apparently there are still some politicians with at least half a brain. We won! The bill is dead.”



29 Mar 00

We conducted a defensive handgun course last weekend in Texas. During the course, two pistols experienced a blowout, a 239 SIG and a S&W P99, both in 9mm.

In both cases, the chambered, 9mm, hardball round blew out on the unsupported area of the feed ramp. Both cases ruptured and leaked gas into the receiver. The shooters suffered no injury, but both pistols were out of action afterward, one temporarily and one permanently.

In the case of the SIG, the gas leak blew out the extractor plunger, leaving the (now disabled) extractor and spring in the pistol. We never recovered the plunger, but replacing it will get the pistol back into action. There was no other damage.

In the case of the P99, the gas leak built up enough pressure to put a sizable crack in the polymer frame. The slide and barrel were fine, but the frame was history. It will have to be replaced.

At this point, I can’t say if the incidents were caused by defective ammunition (It was a factory reload in both cases, but from different lots) or the pistol firing out of battery.

Such incidents are not common, but they do happen. I had an extractor blow out on both a Kahr-40 and SIG 229 (357SIG) last year. Again, no one was injured, but both pistols were rendered temporarily out of action.

Lesson: Never travel with only one gun. When your pistol suddenly goes south, as they all can, you’ll need a gunsmith (or maybe a gun dealer) to get you rearmed. That probably won’t happen instantly. In the interim, you need another gun.



30 Mar 00

From a friend who runs a large, commercial pistol range:

“I have witnessed many pistol ‘blowouts’ like the ones you described. I have never seen ANY polymer-framed handgun survive such an event. The frame is, without exception, destroyed by the leaking, high temperature, high-pressure gasses.”

Lesson: That is the price one pays for carrying plastic pistols. They are light and wonderful, but there is no way plastic is going to be as strong as steel or even aluminum alloy.



31 Mar 00

On the Ruger Mini-14 and other rifles from a range officer in a large, Midwest PD:

“Most commercial Mini-14s come with light barrels which, of course, are definitely not designed for high-volume fire. They heat up rapidly and promptly start stringing shots vertically. Cook-offs are not uncommon. The LE version has a heaver barrel, and that is the one I recommend for defensive purposes.

The configuration of the Mini-14’s front sight is such that it’s easy to mistake one of the protective ears on the side for the front blade. When that happens, the student, of course, shoots way off to one side. We see this many times when students are shooting fast and/or in low light. The same thing can happen with the AR-15, but, because of the way the front sight is designed, it is much less likely.

The folding stock that comes on the Mini-14 sucks! It’s too long for my short-statured students, and the metal buttstock is slick and routinely slips off the shoulder. In addition, because of its insubstantial design, a comfortable and repeatable cheek weld is nearly impossible. Folding stocks found on the Galil and the DSA/FN are vastly superior.

The bolt catch wears out quickly. The Mini-14s used by the ______ PD started failing to go to bolt lock on the last round after only 1,500 rounds, and now it is difficult to even lock the bolt to the rear manually.

Aperture sights are surprisingly difficult to explain to those who had never been exposed to military training. Like you, I’ve found that many inexperienced students look right over the top of the rear sight instead of through it, consequently shooting way high. We see this same phenomenon with the H&K MP-5 also. Less so with the AR-15.

Our PD had Marlin carbines (9mm) until they fell apart, which didn’t take long. The brass then decided to get military-surplus M-16s, but then attention-deficit-disorder kicked in, and they forgot. Now, of course, it’s too late. M-14s are still available, but they are unsuitable for most small-statured people.

_______ PD bought surplus M1 30-caliber carbines six years ago, and they’ll all still going strong! No breakage and few problems. The guys like to shoot them, and, within one-hundred meters, they are deadly.

Rifles are finally coming into the system, but it’s a rocky road!”