6 May 02

At a defensive handgun course in Michigan last weekend, a G22 (40S&W) used by one of my students ruptured its barrel just forward of the chamber, sending high-pressure gas into the frame and the shooter’s hands. As a result, the magazine blew out. The magazine-release plunger broke in half, and the right part of it blew out. The extractor also blew out.

The slide and frame are probably salvageable as is the magazine, but the barrel is toast, and several other parts will have to be replaced. The shooter suffered no serious injury, but his hand did receive gas burns and throbbed for a while. His safety glasses prevented any serious gas impact to his eyes.

He was shooting hobby reloads made by a friend. One of them was a squib (primer, but no powder). The bullet from the squib cartridge blew into the barrel and lodged there without exiting. When the shooter then attempted to fire, nothing happened, as the cycle of operation was incomplete. As he had been trained, the student immediately did a tap-rack-bang and again attempted to fire. However, the next round didn’t chamber all the way, because the squib bullet lodged in the barrel was far enough to the rear to prevent the next bullet from going forward far enough for complete chambering. Because the slide could not go into battery, the pistol, of course, still did not fire. The student immediately did a second TRB, with the same result. He then did several more TRBs in rapid succession, with the effect that he successively, and unwittingly, pounded the lodged bullet far enough forward to finally permit the slide to go into battery and the pistol to thus fire. Both bullets blew out the muzzle, but not before pressure built up enough to split the barrel. The result was the foregoing.


>Everyone on gun ranges needs to be wearing safety glasses. We cannot overemphasize this important safety precaution. Even today, we see in gun magazines all kinds of photos of people shooting without glasses. It’s a foolish oversight. Incidents like the one described above are precipitous by nature and fundamentally unforeseeable. The mandatory wearing of safety glasses needs to be enforced by all of us

>Hobby reloads are a can of worms! No matter how careful hobbyists try to be, they don’t have the quality-control apparatus and procedures that mainline manufacturers do. Squibs are just one of the typical problems endemic to hobby reloads.

>During stoppage reduction, the TRB procedure should only be applied once. When a single application of TRB does not resolve the problem, students need to be taught to immediately default to the lock-rip-work-tap-rank-bang drill. Repeated application of TRB is unlikely to reduce the stoppage and may well lead to a KB, as we see here.

>The new generation of high-pressure pistol cartridges, represented by the 40S&W and the 357SIG, are far less forgiving than are older (lower pressure) pistol cartridges like the 9mm and 45ACP. If the above incident has occurred with a G17, both bullets would have probably exited the muzzle with scant fanfare, and the shooter would have gone forward unaware that anything unusual had happened. Pistols, even Glocks, are only so strong!



9 May 02

From friends in South Africa:

“Zimbabwe to our north is now officially engulfed in a ‘famine.’ Starvation is widespread in spite of the fact that it is probably the most fertile place in the world.

Stalin manufactured a similar ‘famine’ in Russia in the early part of the last century. The now-familiar Communist pattern was repeated later in North Korea where it is still firmly in place. It’s latest manifestation can now be found in Zimbabwe.

‘Land reform’ is always used a convenient pretext for Communists to take high-performance farm land away from its legitimate owners and ultimately out of production altogether. The Communist pattern of seizure always involves a throng of nationalized thugs who are routinely and casually brutal and thoughtless. Victims are frequently raped and murdered in public, as an example to all who would dare object. Subsequent denial and cover-up is standard procedure, and the self-righteous world press is only too happy to go along with it.

In South Africa we can see the same thing starting here. Communists form a strong segment of our national government, and they are now talking openly about similar ‘land reform.’ The newly appointed Minister of Justice is an acknowledged Communist.”



13 May 02

Gunshot wound information from South Africa:

“ER doctors here in Johannesburg see more gunshot victims in a single weekend than the average trauma physician will see in several months. The gunshot wound/fatality statistics you teach are surely born out here. It is interesting to see the large number of people shot (only) once or twice standing in long lines at the hospital ER. They typically wait an hour or more. Some are serious, but the vast majority just stand and wait their turn. After being patched-up, almost all are released at once and go their way.”

Comment: Most of the gunshot wounds described above are from 9mm hardball. If high-performance ammunition were in common use, as it is over here, fatality percentages would be higher, but not much.



13 May 02

Confrontation at gunpoint in MI, from one of our instructors:

“I took my mother out to dinner for Mothers Day. As we were returning home, a car pulled up beside us, and the driver asked us for help, saying he was sick. I politely told him that if he parked his car, we could call the police and that they would surely be able to help him. Instead of parking, he tailed us for several blocks and ultimately right into our driveway. Leaving my mother in the car, I exited my vehicle and approached his, asking if he wanted me to call the police. He looked at me and said, ‘I really need help!’ I again told him that I would call 911. He responded with a profusion of obscenities, and his breath told me he was drunk.

I backed away and ordered him to leave my driveway. He replied with more profanity. As I was retrieving my cell phone to call the police, he abruptly turned his car and came right at me! I moved laterally and yelled at him to leave us alone. He turned his car again and came at me a second time. This time, as I again moved laterally, I drew my pistol and repeated my orders. The drunk, not getting it, backed his car up to come at me a third time. I moved again, this time taking cover behind a tree. Apparently not able to see me, he backed out of the driveway and left. My mother and I were unhurt. No shots were fired.

A few blocks down the street the drunk wrapped his car around a tree in a school parking lot. I heard that he was not seriously injured but that the car was totaled.


I’ve been trained by you to move laterally as I draw. I now realize how important it is to do that. If I had not moved off the line of force, this drunk would have pinned me between his car and ours, and I would now be in a hospital with two broken legs.

When it’s time to draw your pistol, you’ll know it! The first time he came at me with his car I, thought (denial) he was just trying to back up. After the second charge, there was no doubt in my mind this guy was actually trying to run me over. That is when I made the decision.

Sometimes there is no good choice, just the best of several bad ones. When the drunk pulled into my driveway, he blocked the only way for me and my mother to get to the door safely. I was worried about my mother and myself, but I still entertained the thought that this guy really was sick and legitimately needed help.”



16 May 02

Vicki and I are currently conducting several courses in a small town in the Midwest. We’ve been here for a week. Last year we trained (handgun) nearly all the road deputies from the local sheriff’s department, including the sheriff himself. This year, we are in the process of training officers from surrounding counties and a number of local, town officers.

Saturday, we were shooting at the local outdoor range when we heard about a real “shooting incident” which had just occurred in the small town from where we had just come. Someone jokingly commented about “Trouble, right here in River City,” from the Robert Preston line in The Music Man. We all assumed it was an accident or a suicide. In reality, it was an armed robbery, which concluded in the shooting death of the robbery suspect, the first fatal armed robbery in the history of this little town. The following I pieced together from conversations with witnesses and participants.

The robbery suspect entered the local drug store (where I’ve personally shopped many times) Saturday morning. A customer said, “A little chilly, isn’t it?” The suspect placidly replied, “It’s going to get warmer.” He then drew a pistol from concealment and placed its muzzle in contact with the head of the petrified female cashier. Looking up at the druggist he said, “Lock all the doors.”

The (unarmed) druggist, thinking fast, replied that the keys were in his office and that he would have to get them. When the druggist then entered his office, he could still be seen by the suspect through a glass partition, but he cleverly picked up the handset on his telephone and dropped it into the wastebasket next to his desk. He then hit his 911 speed dialer and calmly walked back out. The suspect was none the wiser.

The suspect, who had been relatively cool headed, then became unstable, shouting threats and making confusing demands. It was unclear to the druggist if he wanted, drugs, cash, or both. Seeing the situation deteriorating, the druggist decided to make his move. He grabbed the suspect’s pistol (a Makarov or a Tokerov, cheap junk) and wrenched it out of his hand. The suspect recoiled with surprise but recovered quickly and, drawing a SECOND PISTOL, he immediately shot at the druggist. The druggist, using the pistol he had just taken from the suspect, fired back. Six rounds were fired. The two moved apart but were separated by no more than fifteen feet. No one was hit!

The suspect broke contact and ran to his truck which he had parked nearby. A local citizen who had witnessed some of the events called 911 and gave the sheriff’s department an accurate description of the truck, including the tag number. Beat cars from the sheriff’s department and state patrol were already converging on the site.

The suspect and his truck were quickly located in a rural area a short distance from town and immediately boxed in via a double roadblock. Extremely competent road pursuit and roadblock work by the deputies prevented the suspect from leaving the area and getting onto a freeway.

When confronted by deputies, the suspect stopped and exited his truck, still holding his pistol in both hands. He then started walking back toward one of the beat cars. The deputies commanded him to drop the pistol several times. At a range of thirty meters, the deputies started firing. The suspect was struck in the torso by several Federal 230gr Hydrashoks (45ACP) as well as at least one 12ga slug. He went down fast and was DRT.

The decedent had been a suspect in several other recent drugstore robberies in the area. Each one had been progressively more violent. This one was (happily) his last.

The two deputes who did the fatal shooting were both our students from last year. Shooting competence on their part was extremely high. They struck the moving suspect repeatedly at a range of thirty meters. If the suspect was trying to get close to our deputies, he grossly underestimated their shooting ability.


EVEN “RIVER CITY” IS NOT IMMUNE FROM CRIMINAL VIOLENCE. Thinking you’re “safe” because you happen to be in a particular place is an exercise in self-deception.

THE GUN YOU GET TO USE TO DEFEND YOUR LIFE MAY NOT BE YOUR OWN! Miyamoto Musashi taught us many centuries ago, “Warriors should not have ‘favorite’ weapons.” He obviously knew what he was talking about!

VICTORS THINK ABOUT THE UNTHINKABLE, IN ADVANCE. THEY HAVE A PLAN. Our small-town druggist is a hero. He had thought about what we would do in an armed robbery, and, when it happened, he executed his plan on the nail, calling the police without the suspect ever suspecting it. I’m not sure he ever thought about disarming a violent criminal (he has never attended one of our classes), but it is obvious that he knew what he had to do. He dared, and he won.

DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE TIED UP, LOCKED IN, OR TAKEN TO A REMOTE LOCATION. You’ll surely be murdered. Make your move while you still have options. Even when the situation is desperate, it will be even worse when your options evaporate.

THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR COMPETENCE AND THE PERSONAL CONFIDENCE IT ENGENDERS. Neither the suspect nor the druggist were competent with a pistol, and the results were predictable. Our deputies were extremely competent, and they did what had to be done, never doubting their ability and their will to do it.



17 May 02

This morning, I personally interviewed one of the deputies involved in the shooting of the “River City” robbery suspect. More facts:

The local SO uses Remington 870 shotguns with seven-round magazine tubes. The tubes are routinely charged with two slugs, then three 00 buckshot rounds, then two more slugs. All shotguns have a bead front sight and no rear sight.

The first round to strike the suspect was a 12ga slug. It hit him in the lower, left side of his abdomen and went through and through. The deputy indicated that he could see no blood, no bullet hole in the suspect’s shirt, and no visible reaction from the suspect himself. He concluded that either his first round had missed or that the suspect was wearing body armor. A second slug was fired a moment later. It may have hit also, but the autopsy report is inconclusive. In any event, there was still no visible reaction on the part of the suspect.

Simultaneously, the second deputy started firing with his S&W 4556, striking the suspect several times in the upper chest. The first deputy then fired two more 12ga rounds, both 00 buckshot. The suspect finally buckled at the knees and pitched forward. He achieved DRT status a few seconds after that. The first deputy had ejected one live slug from his 870 by mistake; another good argument for autoloaders.

From first shot to last was probably less than ten seconds, but it seemed to be lasting forever. This “slow-motion” effect is common, and it often leads people to mistakenly conclude that their shooting is ineffective. Fortunately, our two deputies were familiar with the foregoing and continued to fire. Neither officer was able to accurately recall the number of rounds they fired. Both fired more rounds that they thought they had, and both perceived the suspect as being closer to them than he actually was.

The second deputy used his pistol, because, when he attempted to retrieve the shotgun for his car’s electric rack, he couldn’t get the lock to open. Electric locks on all the racks in all beat cars are now all being examined.

An examination of the deceased suspect revealed that he was carrying a pocketful of plastic, electrical ties. We conclude that he had planned on tying up everyone in the pharmacy.

Additional Lessons:

If you have a defensive shotgun maintained in transport mode, DON’T MIX SLUGS AND BUCKSHOT TOGETHER IN THE MAGAZINE TUBE. You’ll never keep it straight. Make it all buckshot or all slugs, so you always know positively what is in the chamber.

WE NEED TO REPLACE SHOTGUNS IN BEAT CARS WITH MILITARY RIFLES! Our shotgun-armed officer did some accurate shooting with his bead-sighted shotgun, but, compared with an iron-sighted military rifle, accuracy from a slug-shooting shotgun is poor, particularly if it has a marginal sighting system like a solitary, front bead.

When shooting is necessary, KEEP FIRING UNTIL THE THREAT IS DECISIVELY ENDED, even when it appears that the suspect is not responding. Anyone who needs to be shot, needs to be shot thoroughly! When you shoot someone, there will be no blood, no bullet holes, and likely no immediate reaction from the suspect. This is all normal. STAY IN THE FIGHT. FINISH THE FIGHT.



20 May 02

From a friend with the Traffic Police in Capetown SA, on local gangs:

“Gang violence (continuing turf wars) has rocked our suburbs this week. Six people have been killed this week, among them an unborn child struck in his mother’s womb and an eight-year-old boy. Gangsters here will shoot at the drop of a hat. They are incompetent, of course, but the sheer volume of shooting insures a high casualty rate.

In much of the city, gangs are, in fact, the unofficial government. The “official” government has no presence in gang areas and is generally neither acknowledged nor respected.

Gangsters have a whistle system. When a police vehicle enters a gang area, officers will wait until they hear the whistles. That is the signal that their presence has been noted and that they can proceed, in ‘guest status,’ to the accident scene or whatever duty needs to be performed.”

Lesson: When police make “deals” and “arrangements” with criminals (let’s call them what they are), rather than enforcing the law, the status of the entire police department and the municipal government itself sinks to one of “just another gang.” A situation where two “governments” claim the same real estate is inherently unstable. Criminals don’t need to be negotiated with. They need to be eliminated.



21 May 02

From an LEO friend in the UK on their state of training:

“There are two areas where we are currently woefully lacking here in the UK:

LESS LETHAL. After an uphill battle, we now finally have 37mm baton launchers, and M26 Tasers are coming on stream this summer. However, we have no experience on how to use this stuff, as policies and training have not kept up. Management is always anxious to get new gadgets, but their enthusiasm in rarely carries over into training

RESPONSE TO ACTIVE SHOOTERS. We are still at the pre-Columbine stage here, despite Dunblane, Hungerford and dozens of other incidents you’ll probably not hear of. No one here wants to face this issue.”



22 May 02

From a LEO friend in the Midwest on force-on-force training.

“Our current cycle of in-service training has been devoted to refining our response to active shooters in a building. Officers were split up into four-person teams, two armed with shotguns (Remington 870s) and two with handguns. All the weapons were modified to fire the Simunitions FX paintball rounds. I played the role of bad guy and was armed only with a blank gun.

Over the next year, we will be swapping out shotguns for Bushmaster’s version of the M4. However, we have not incorporated these rifles into force-on-force training yet.

As they have been trained, most officers used their sights. Due to the excitement, our perennial trigger jerkers jerked their triggers much worse than in a typical range exercise. They were unable to shoot accurately even at close range. They made unpopular partners!

Contrary to popular myth, stress didn’t affect stance. Weaver shooters shot Weaver, and Isosceles shooters shot Isosceles.

One of our ‘problem children’ who has been highly vocal in opposing rifles, short-stroked his shotgun TWICE, causing a jam each time, resulting in his being shot once and his partner being shot the next time. During the debriefing, I pointed out to him that the short-stroking of pump shotguns is one of the problems that will be eliminated when we get autoloading rifles in the system. He angrily replied, ‘In a REAL situation, that would NEVER happen to me. I was just nervous because it was an exercise, and I was being graded!’

Oh my! Washouts like him often hide behind their ‘armor of ignorance,’ and they will even deny reality in an effort to defend themselves.”


DURING YOUR NEXT GUNFIGHT, YOU’LL DO ABOUT AS WELL AS YOU DID ON YOUR WORSE DAY AT THE RANGE. All their self-deceptive fantasies notwithstanding, poor shooters do not magically turn into masterful experts during real gunfights. Habitually poor shooters are even poorer during the real thing. We all need to reconsider “minimum standards.”

THE REALIZATION OF IGNORANCE IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM. WITHOUT REPENTANCE, THERE IS NO LEARNING. Inveterate excuse-makers are invariably identified as losers by their peers and are generally held in contempt. We all must accept the truth that some of what we “know” is wrong.

THERE IS NO “NATURAL” SHOOTING STANCE AND NO SUCH THING AS “INSTINCTIVE” SHOOTING. Under stress, shooters revert to what they have been trained to do.

For better or worse, RIFLES ARE COMING INTO ROUTINE USE BY AMERICAN POLICE. Shotguns and staple guns are rapidly being replaced. That is the current trend, and we must all be prepared to train our officers to be safe and effective with the new equipment, regardless of our personal likes and dislikes.



27 May 02

This is from friend Mark Moritz. It’s a great idea I wish I’d thought of. It ought to become standard procedure:

“Have you ever tried Best, Worst scoring? I invented it for exactly that reason. Run a match with short stages, and give each shooter several runs. Then use his WORST run for the final score on that stage.

As it is now, shooters tend to put a ‘safe’ score in the bag, and then spray and pray the last run in pursuit of a spectacular score. The winner is therefore the luckiest, and everybody develops bad habits. When shooters are informed that their WORST score will be the one that counts, they suddenly shoot as if every shot counts, which is exactly the point.

And, as a practical matter, if a match is supposed to determine the ‘best shooter,’ there is a good argument that the best shooter is the one whose worst performances are better than everybody else’s.”




31 May 02

NTI 2002

I shot the 2002 NTI on Wednesday here in Harrisburg, PA and have been attending classes and panel discussions yesterday and today. Skip and his staff outdid themselves once more! This year’s exercises were the most challenging I can recall. There were more moving targets and more difficult force-on-force scenarios than in the past. There were four live-fire shoot houses, two live-fire, “standard exercise” drills and three hostile encounters in ASTA Village (where everyone is equipped with Simmunitions guns). Live-fire hostiles and bystanders were all three-dimensional mannequins, all dressed, and all set to collapse when hit or to keep moving in the case of some of the moving targets. As was the case last year, one of the shoot houses was run with the shooter completely on his own, his progress being monitored externally via video cameras. It takes six hours to complete everything. At the end of the day, I ran all the shoot houses a second time. It is exhausting!

This year, I again used my G32 with Cor-Bon 115gr 357Sig ammunition. My concealment garment was my usual CCC vest. My holster is a kydex IWB. Everything worked perfectly.

The live-fire shoot houses all involved active emergencies (as it is explained to each shooter), so, as is my habit, I ran them exceedingly aggressively. Aggressive moment gets you to the source of the problem quickly, but you always run the risk of failing to see important elements along the way. As usual, I missed some significant things I should have seen. In one case, I aggressively entered a bathroom, saw nothing, turned and proceeded posthaste down the hall. Behind the shower curtain, there was a bad guy with a knife. I never saw him. I never even perceived that the shower curtain was not a wall.

As was the case last year, I found myself shooting the G32 VERY fast. It is a fifteen-shooter, but I was surprised by slide lock more than once. As is my habit, I “zippered” bad guys, but I often found myself stalling at mid body. I had to discipline myself to continue to move up the body midline with my string of shots, so that I reliably got into the neck each time.

While moving, I was tempted to stall in place on a number of occasions when I was reloading or trying to figure out which way to go next. I had to force myself to continue moving constantly. Any time I stalled, it didn’t take long for the bad guys to catch up with me!

Much of my shooting was one-handed, and most of it was at extremely close range. I had to fire from a rock-and-lock position many times in order to avoid extending the pistol to within disarm range.

In ASTA Village, I had a number of chances to practice verbal disengagement. I was propositioned by a prostitute, confronted by her angry boyfriend, and assaulted by an indignant shopper in a mall. Each time, aggressive, lateral movement, combined with our standard disengagement tape loops unbalanced and confused aggressors and afforded me time and space to separate from them. By the time they figured out what had happened, I was either out of sight or far enough away that they didn’t pursue.

However, in one confrontation, I wasn’t so lucky! Confined in an elevator, I was confronted by two belligerent thugs who assertively entered (preventing me from exiting around them) and pushed me to the rear. They menacingly produced bludgeons and demanded my wallet. I made a decision quickly. Jumping to the side, I drew and shot both from a rock-and-lock position. Both were startled and hit multiple times before they could do anything else.

Saturday (tomorrow), Rich Wright and I will do the Simmunitions Partners Drill together. More on that tomorrow!



1 June 02

At this year’s NTI, we were able to view a captured Al-Qaida training video and hear comments from several people on the current situation in the “War on Terror.”

In the video, we saw Al-Qaida operatives training for terrorist “events.” The training site was somewhere in Afghanistan. What first struck me was the high degree abject brutality, even in these “roll playing” exercises. Roll players portraying hostages were heard to say, in English, “Please don’t kill me.” There is little doubt in my mind that these operatives were being trained to hear hostages say that and other English-language phases. That opinion was strengthened when we saw hostages being herded up to the roof of a building and then murdered (simulated) and their bodies thrown over the edge, one by one, in full view of crowds below and, of course, news media helicopters which would presumably be hovering above.

Operations portrayed involved raids on buildings, kidnappings, and murders of individuals in their own homes. Sights included golf courses, which caused all of us to believe these people were training for operations in America and Western Europe where the game of golf is popular.

All of it appeared to involve detailed planning and sizable groups of heavily armed operatives. RPGs were routinely used to initiate the operation. As mentioned above, bestial brutality and an utter lack of concern over human suffering were the common threads in all the scenarios. In addition, most scenarios appeared to be suicidal in nature. There seemed to be no plan for the escape or extraction of terrorist operatives.

On the other side of the ledger, we had the opportunity to see the federal government’s newly revised policy manual for local “first responders” to terrorist events. The theme can be summarized in one sentence: Seal off the area and don’t take any action until federal authorities arrive! First responders are discouraged from doing anything on their own aside from establishing a perimeter, and they are also instructed to prevent anyone else from taking action.

In every “active shooter” incident we’ve experienced in the USA, all the murdering was completed within the first twenty minutes. That statistic alone, at least in theory, makes SWAT teams irrelevant. They can’t possibly get organized and get to the scene that fast. If first responders fail to take immediate action on their own initiative, anything the SWAT team does, whenever it finally arrives, is unlikely to affect the final outcome in any significant way. A federal response team, arriving hours or even days later, is apt to be even more extraneous.

The message is clear: If you get caught in the middle of a terrorist event, you’re on your own! You better be armed and make your move at the first opportunity. If you are taken hostage by one of these groups, there is no doubt that you will be murdered outright or ceremonially murdered later, and neither your gender nor you age will make any difference.

Rescue of individuals is NOT in the federal plan. Even after all the lip service paid to the heroic passengers of Flight 93, individual initiative is still being officially discouraged.