1 May 06
From one of our Marine instructors, now in Iraq. He is teaching enlightened pistols classes there to Marines and Army troops, semi-officially:
“Taught my first Pistol Class here Sunday. Fifty students, mixed Marines and Army. I only had a day with them, so we went right into movement, drawing, firing, reloading, and stoppage reduction, as well as correct gun handling. Oh, and ‘catching the link.’ All were amazed with catching the link. Most had no idea how to reset the trigger. They loved our hot range! None had ever been on a hot range before. Few had a clue about how to carry the M9, and none had ever drawn a loaded pistol from a holster prior to arriving at our class. They didn’t know what they didn’t know. I’ll be teaching another group next week. We’re spreading the sunshine here!”
Comment: Webster, A WWII Infantrymen in the European Theater, later described his garrison rifle marksmanship training, where competition-oriented instructors insisted that all trainees, prior to shooting, dutifully thread themselves into the military sling issued at the time. The sling was used to brace the arm and shoulder during rifle “qualification.” Webster was subsequently involved in the D-Day Invasion as well Operation Market Garden. Wounded at Bastogne when the Bulge broke through, he was hospitalized but then returned to his unit and continued to fight with them until VE Day. He never once used his rifle’s sling as he had been trained, and contemptuously referred to that training segment as largely a waste of time.
Whenever this nation has gone to war, it has been unprepared, and, when a big army is called for, has thrown together training programs in order to prepare large numbers of soldiers for active fighting. When it comes to small-arms, the people always mistakenly called upon to do the training are naive, competition shooters, the last people in the world who should be doing it! Input from active combatants and those who actually carry guns is rarely sought, as their comments, though indisputably relevant, upset existing dogma and may actually advance the Art (Heaven forbid!). The system goes through the motions of soliciting “input from the front,” but, when such inquiries reveal glaring training flaws, the intelligence is invariably ignored, then covered up.
I vividly remember as a young, Marine second lieutenant trying desperately, on my own, to develop relevant pistol techniques during my training at Quantico, VA, just days before shipping off to Vietnam, as all “official” pistol training we’d had was a frightful bore, designed and taught by languid, Camp-Perry pistol competitors. As I was facing down range, the head instructor walked up behind me and said, “Son, you ain’t never going to win a pistol match that way.” Even in the middle of a war, all he could think about was pistol matches!
Individual heroes, like my friend, above, fighting decades of encrusted, irrelevant, competition-oriented “training,” are doing their level best to turn the system around, in spite of itself. They are heroes indeed, and we are, finally, making progress.
1 May 06
From a friend who is an EMT in TX:
“My most recent GSW call was last week. Goofy unintentionally shot himself in the left thigh as he was shoving a pistol into his pocket. A second later, he shot himself again, same place. He was apparently so startled from the first impact, he convulsively pulled the trigger a second time!
Pistol was a 25Auto, piece of junk, but it seems to have worked- at least twice! Neither bullet exited. They’re both still in him. He will recover, but likely with some permanent disability. He was fully conscious when we arrived and able to walk normally.
His initial story was that some unknown person ran up and shot him. We knew right away that was BS. When confronted with the evidence, he sheepishly admitted he had shot himself. But, that is not the end of the story: We noticed another suspicious, round scar near his two, recent entry wounds. He went on to admit that he had the same accident only a few months before. Slow learner!”
Comment: During his short lifetime, this cretin will probably shoot himself a couple more times! In this country, idiots can still own guns, drive cars, and become parents! Fortunately, as long as idiots can own guns, I can too!
2 May 06
In my Quip of 25 Apr 06, I provided the wrong Web Page address for the CCW Shirt. Here is the correct information.
42906 Ranger Circle Dr
Coarsegold, Ca. 93614
559 683 7326
I like this carry method!
2 May 06
Security Strike in SA:
“Here in SA, private security guards fill a gap that has been created by a badly degraded public policing system. Our public police do little to prevent, or even investigate, violent crime, and this dreadful state of affairs is no accident. Our central government has accurately concluded, “THE MORE CRIME YOU HAVE, THE MORE GOVERNMENT YOU NEED,” and they have thus come to value the fact that defenseless citizens are relentlessly frightened and terrorized by a growing army of VCAs, who are rarely even inconvenienced by public police, nor need they fear forcibly disarmed citizens. You might say that violent criminals here have become “nationalized,” partnering with government in fulfilling an important political mission for leftist politicians and bureaucrats who intend to remain in power forever.
Private security guards have become part of the background to the South African way of life. One sees them patrolling residential areas, guarding building entrances, and heavily patrolling shopping malls. Of course, most are just impotent window dressing, put there simply to assuage naive grasseaters.
Unions representing private security officers entered into talks with their employers recently. Negotiations failed, and a nationwide strike ensued. After additional negotiations, the largest union still has not settled. Security companies have responded by employing temporary staff. In a recent incident, six temporaries were bodily thrown from a moving train by striking security guards (showing themselves to be nothing but thugs from whom they are supposed to be protecting the public). All six died. There have been no arrests.
Last week, a gang of armed robbers invaded a local, private boys’ school. Upon entering classrooms, they held a rifle to the teacher’s head as accomplices stripped students of money and cell phones. This school employs private security guards, but all were on strike. Not surprisingly, no arrests have been made, nor are any likely.
Victims of violent crime here don’t find the foregoing particularly amusing. You Americans need to see what is happening here. Even now, your own politicians are rubbing their palms, as they take careful note!”
Comment: My colleague, a public police officer, is obviously frustrated and angry at the tailspin his country is in. Unhappily, good and decent people are not attracted to public politics, particularly leftist politics. The adolescent belief that politicians are interested in protecting anyone but themselves is foolishly shared among grasseaters everywhere, who also probably don’t think they need guns. The rest of us know better!
3 May 06
Residential Electronic Security, from a friend and student:
“Last Friday, we had a scare here. Nancy and I arrived home after dinner and shopping. I had been carrying my G27, but I secured it in our basement gun safe as soon as the door was shut. My quick-access lockbox in the bedroom (where I usually put it) is not working, and I just wanted to get rid of my pistol, so I could have a drink. After all, we were ‘home!’
At 11:00pm we were both in the master bedroom, but Nancy needed to get something from the garage, so she turned off our electronic security system, did her thing, and then turned it back on after returning to the house. Suddenly, the alarm went off! I figured Nancy had triggered it accidentally, so I immediately turned it off. Nancy had inadvertently set it off three times in recent months by opening windows while it was turned on, so I was accustomed to false alarms.
Moments later, Nancy came running into the bedroom saying that she hadn’t set it off! I had neglected to look at which zone had triggered, and, in this new house (the alarm system came with it), I don’t know how to review the alarm’s history. I then got a sinking feeling when I realized that my pistol was locked up downstairs. All I had with me was my Surefire and a bottle of Fox OC. The monitoring company called within ten seconds. Nancy took the call and instructed them to send the police. I stationed myself at the top of our stairs, feeling vulnerable and stupid!
Nothing happened. I finally figured, when Nancy turned the alarm back on, she had forgotten to disable motion detectors. That requires a separate step on our current system. However, not wanting to test that theory, we decided we’d ask the cops to clear the house anyway.
Even though we live in town, it took fifteen minutes for the first beat car to arrive. His backup arrived five minutes later. I explained the situation, and the two of them went through the entire house. As expected, no intruder was found. While they were searching, Nancy whispered to me, ‘It took fifteen minutes for them to get here. If there had been an intruder in our house, …’ I interrupted, ‘We would be on our own, right!’”
Lessons: I highly recommend electronic security for residences. Here is what you need to know about them and your personal, security plan:
My friend allowed a single equipment failure (the nonfunctional lock box) to throw his entire security plan into disarray. Everything must work together for your plan to be viable. Doc Gunn refers to this as the “happy family” concept. When one member is unhappy, all are troubled. When something doesn’t work, it needs to be fixed/replaced immediately, then reintegrated into the system.
A gun that is perfectly safe is perfectly useless! Those who regularly carry guns need to leave them on their person, even when home, as much of the time as possible. Taking your gun(s) off as soon as you cross the threshold indicates that you have an unrealistic and naive expectation of the “safety” associated with your dwelling. An intruding VCA may not share the same expectation!
Gun carriers need to be non-drinkers. There is no way around this. Don’t drink and carry!
False alarms are murderers! Cheap, difficult-to-use, poorly-laid-out alarm systems are worse than no system at all. Alarm systems need to be competent, thorough, and easy to use. Accidental alarms had made my friend complacent. False alarms must be eliminated from your system, or you’ll habitually discount the possibility of a genuine intrusion, at your peril!
Electronic systems need to be monitored 24/7 by a capable, local monitoring company, and you need to provide them with clear and explicit instructions with regard to what they are to do when they receive an alarm activation at your house. Home invaders often cut phone lines. Your system needs a cellular backup, so the alarm goes in, no matter what.
Doors need heavy, rugged, effective locks. It should require a sincerely violent, concerted, and prolonged effort to breach your doors.
Sirens need to be inaccessible and internal. The siren needs to drive intruders out, not in, and they need to be difficult to access, so they cannot be easily turned off by simply cutting wires. When your alarm goes off, resist the temptation to immediately turn the siren off. Let it run! It may just chase intruders away, as it is designed to do.
By the time help arrives, the fight will be over! When a determined VCA must be stopped physically, you will have to do it, and you’ll have to do it by yourself. No one will be there to help you.
A competent electronic system always has a (1) a strong parameter (every accessible door and window), (2) external motion lights over every entrance (doors and windows), (3) motion detectors in the inside. Internal motion detectors need to be thoughtfully located, as they can easily be unintentionally triggered by pets (particularly cats) and incautious house guests. Shock detectors and breaking-glass detectors are also useful.
Every room should have a smoke detector, and bedrooms should also have carbon-monoxide detectors. A fire extinguisher should be located in every closet, plus the kitchen pantry. The fire component of your system is always on. It is never turned off.
Bedroom windows need to be alarmed with active screens, so they can be opened and closed even when the system is turned on. Other negative usability issues, like requiring a separate step to disable motion detectors, will predictably generate false alarms. Spend the money necessary to get a competent system that is easy to use, and then USE IT! In bed at night, you should have complete confidence that there is absolutely no way anyone could gain unauthorized access to your home without activating the alarm. Makes for restful sleep!
3 May 06
Comments on emigration, from a friend living in Mexico:
“The current mayor of Mexico City is an admitted, practicing Communist. However, what should worry you is that he is likely the one who will be elected president of Mexico when Fox steps down.
I used to naively think political violence was still a generation away for our dear USA. I’m doubtful now. Time to stock up on ammo!”
Comment: “Political violence” occurs when politicians surreptitiously employ private-sector thugs to visit violence upon those who dare to oppose them. Nothing new for Communists!
3 May 06
Robinson Arms’ XCR modular, military rifle has been in the works for several years now. I finally have my hands on my own copy, and it is beautiful!
We’ll be shooting it this weekend, but here are initial impressions:
The rifle comes with a slick, folding stock and functional, flash suppressor. Barrel and chamber are chrome lined. Chamber is NATO spec. Twist rate is 1:9, just the way I like it.
The rifle itself is gas-piston operated, but light and handy. It takes M-16 magazines. The gas system is adjustable, similar to that of an FAL.
The manual safety lever is similar both in location and design to that of an AR-15, but it rotates through only sixty degrees, rather than ninety. Those with small hands will really appreciate this feature.
While in register, the trigger finger does not come to rest on the magazine-release button, as is the case with the AR-15.
Trigger breaks at a crisp eight pounds, and the reset snaps in abruptly and unmistakably. The bolt handle is on the left side and also functions as a forward-assist, a feature I’ve been personally lobbying for.
Disassembly is reminiscent of a Kalashnikov. Slick and logical, and it can’t be put back together wrong. No tiny, easy to lose, parts. Bolt catch is ambidextrous and eminently useable.
My first impressions are all positive. This is a well-designed, light, short, handy, user-friendly rifle, designed for serious purposes and heavy use. Alex Robinson has emerged as a genuine design genius, and he deserves a lot of credit for devoting himself and his company to this project and seeing it through to completion. It was worth the wait!
PO Bx 16776
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
801 355 0401
801 355 0402 (Fax)
4 May 06
More on residential electronic security, from a friend in the alarm business:
“The latest generation of alarm panels automatically send a periodic ‘test message’ to the monitoring station. When the panel fails to send this message at the appointed time, the monitoring company will contact you. If your current system does not have this feature, an upgrade is strongly recommended.
The functionality of your entire security system is dependent upon the location of the alarm panel (the ‘brains’ of the system), and its ability to resist tampering. Many alarm installers locate the panel within a few feet of the back door, since line runs are usually minimized by this approach. Don’t allow it! The panel must be hidden away, deep within the house, and behind a locked door. This will provide sufficient delay in unauthorized tampering to allow a complete alarm notification to be successfully sent to the monitoring station.
One final suggestion: A common technique used by sophisticated burglars is to cut power to an unoccupied house. Easily done in most cases. Burglars then simply wait a few hours for the backup battery to drain and then for the whole electronic security system to subsequently shut down. Alarm panels are designed to send ‘trouble’ signals when line power is lost, but monitoring stations receive such signals by the dozen every day and mostly ignore them. You thus need to instruct the monitoring company to regard any ‘trouble’ signal from your system as they would an active alarm.”
Comment: As with security in any form, residential electronic security will continue to be characterized by a technology race. In races, one must stay ahead of the pack!
8 May 06
At a Defensive Pistol Course last weekend in IN, my instructors and I had the opportunity to evaluate the FirstLight flashlight during actual shooting exercises. Jeremy Ross, president of the company, graciously brought down several copies for us all to use during our low-light shooting.
We all really like this product! It is a powerful, LED flashlight that attaches to the back of one’s support hand via a strap. It enables one to shoot a pistol via his normal grip, and yet have a flashlight instantly available to search and illuminate the downrange area. It is out of the way, yet instantly accessible. I found it eminently usable with the handgun, but I like it even more when used with a rifle or shotgun.
It puts light, on demand, downrange, right on line with the barrel. But, the unit it attached to the shooter, not the gun! One can perform all the things he does with an attached flashlight, without having to physically affix the flashlight to the gun. Light and gun can be joined when necessary, yet instantly separated when not. Permanently attaching flashlights to guns, as I’ve noted in the past, carries with it all kinds of problems.
We’ll be using FirstLight product extensively this week. Intensity is adjustable, but, on full power, it is a bright as my Gladius.
This is something all police need to look into!
8 May 06
One of the standard drills we do in our Basic Defensive Handgun Courses is called “Battlefield Pickup.” All students place their various pistols on a table positioned on the firing line. Each student then shoots each and every pistol, one by one, personally experiencing the various grip shapes, sighting systems, trigger pulls, decocking levers, manual safeties, magazine-release buttons and levers, and other controls. I consider it a valuable exercise and surely worth doing for the general education of the student.
Yet another good reason for this drill made itself known last weekend. One of my students made an interesting comment after experiencing this drill. He indicated that, after completing the drill, he now knows why finger management is so important. Up until this drill, he had been entirely too casual with regard to the placement of his trigger finger during various gun-handling drills. His own pistol was a trigger-cocking autoloader with a long trigger pull. Of course, we constantly corrected him, but our gentle reminders seemed not to be sinking in.
When he started the Battlefield Pickup drill and scooped up the first of several 1911s, his first shot went off way before he was ready! Downrange to be sure, but he missed the target by a good distance. He was startled, surprised, and definitely unhappy with himself!. He did the exact same thing with the second 1911 he picked up. After that, he got control of his finger and kept it in a strong, register position until the sights were on target.
It was an important lesson, one he may have learned from listing to me, but it was unequivocally confirmed and cemented in his mind via his own, personal experience. That drill just may have prevented an accident!
Lesson: “What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand!”
12 May 06
Robinson Arms XCR on the range:
We conducted an Urban Rifle Program in IN this week. I had my first chance to use, and encourage students and instructors to use, my copy of the XCR. As expected, this 223 rifle digested all brands of 223, including steel-case, without a hiccup. All were impressed by the smoothness of its cycle, its snappy trigger reset, smooth lines, and ease of operation. It is short, light, and handy, a gas-pistol rifle nearly as light as an AR-15. Folding stock is smooth operating and comfortable. Flash suppressor is integral.
As I indicated, the non-reciprocating bolt handle still functions as a forward-assist. The manual safety won’t go into the “on” position when the hammer is down. This is an important safety feature, also incorporated into the AR-15.
I said disassembly was reminiscent of the Kalashnikov. Actually, it more resembles the FAL, except it is much better! All my instructors marveled at the ease with which the XCR field strips. No tiny parts, and it can’t be reassembled wrong.
My friend, Alex Robinson, has, once again, displayed his design genius. I predict a bright future for this wonderful system. Available now in 223, but a 308 version will be coming along shortly.
I can’t say enough about it. This rifle is going places!
15 May 06
On 357Mg revolvers, from a student:
“John; I have been shooting a Colt Python 357Mg revolver I recently picked up, used, but in nice condition. Unfortunately, the extractor rod cannot push spent casings out without a good deal of pounding. Casings (Winchester white-box 357Mg) keep sticking in chambers. I love the pistol, but lack the confidence that I will be able to fire more than six rounds!
Do you know what is causing this dilemma?”
The problem with your Python is probably the same one endemic to all 357Mg revolvers which have had a lot of 38Spl rounds fired through them.
A revolver chambered for the 357 Magnum cartridge will also chamber and fire the shorter 38 Special cartridge. The same is true for 44 Magnum and 44 Special cartridges. This is claimed by many to be a great advantage of the 357 Magnum revolver since 38 Special ammunition is less expensive than 357 Magnum ammunition. However, there are some problems with this practice. Hot gases associated with bullet launch eventually cause spalling on the walls of the chamber. The chamber will gradually be ringed with tiny spall marks where the bullet comes off the 38 Special case. When the longer 357 Magnums are then fired in the same chambers, the brass will expand into the spall ring, making rapid case extraction difficult and eventually impossible, as you noted
What all this means is that shooting a lot of 38 Specials in a 357 Magnum revolver will eventually ruin the weapon for 357 Magnum rounds. As a solution to the problem you can do one of two things:
(1) Simply dedicate the weapon to 38 Special and do not bother with 357 Magnum rounds at all.
(2) Shoot only 357 Magnum rounds in it, both for practice and for duty, forsaking 38Spl ammunition altogether. This solution only applies, of course, to new guns
With your revolver as it is, solution one will make the most sense.
15 May 06
Tasers and Suicide Bombers:
A friend in the Federal Air Marshal Program told me on a recent incident at a major, metro airport in the Midwest:
A ticketed passenger had just gone through TSA screening and emerged into the concourse. He suddenly announced, in a loud voice, that he had a bomb! An Air Martial was in the area and responded, but local, uniformed, PD guys got to the suspect first. Local PD took over and Tasered the suspect. Taser worked just fine, and he was arrested without further incident. No bomb was found.
However, in the aftermath, a heated discussion erupted between the PD and the Air Marshal Service over the wisdom of using an electronic restraint device on a person suspected of carrying a bomb! The department is now tweaking its Taser policy as a result.
Comment: We probably should not be using Tasers on persons suspected of being suicide bombers, but the alternative, gunning them down, is nearly as unattractive. The bomb, when there is one, may well go off in either event. Guns, even pistols, have greater stand-off distance than do Tasers, but gunfire carries greater risk of unintended, collateral damage. It’s a tough choice, but a decision must be made by those who are at the scene, and quickly. We live in exciting times!
15 May 06
Cor-Bon is now delivering 30M1 Carbine ammunition loaded with the venerable Barnes DPX bullet! I’ve just received several boxes and will be testing it shortly.
I believe this round will breath new life into the vast numbers of M1 Carbines currently in private hands, but sitting on back shelves. For the first time in over sixty years, we have a truly effective round in this caliber, a round that expands reliably in soft tissue, and, at the same time, penetrates car doors! The little M1 carbine, originally designed for rear-area defense, can now re-claim its place as a modern, legitimate, defensive, urban rifle.
I predict that Cor-Bon will not be able to keep up with demand!
Innovative, as always, Peter Pi and his crew deserve a lot of credit for this breakthrough.
Call them directly at 800 626 7266
15 May 06
S&W M&P Pistol, 40S&W
At a Defensive Pistol Course last weekend in IN, I had the opportunity to carry and use a copy of S&W’s new M&P pistol in 40S&W. It is compact, but still a fifteen-shooter. I carried it concealed in a C-Tac IWB holster from Comp-Tac, my preferred carry option.
After trying all three grip sizes, I settled on the smallest one, although, even with the largest one, I found it still perfectly operable.
It effortlessly digested a mixture of Cor-Bon HPs and various brands of hardball. Trigger is fine, although the reset is mushy. I still found it acceptably accurate and eminently useable.
On first glance, field stripping is involved, but, after the first couple of times, it is no problem.
I can’t abide magazines safeties, and this copy unfortunately had one. The copy I finally end up with will not! I know some naive chiefs of police think they need magazine safeties, but I consider them death traps.
Assuming my copy arrives in time, I intend to carry and shoot it at this year’s NTI in Harrisburg, PA.
In summary, I like it! Feels good. Points well. The M&P should and, I’m confident, will, take its place beside Glock, SIG, and H&K as a mainstream, police, service pistol.
At long last, and after two, frustrating, false starts, S&W in finally back in the game!
15 May 06
Ambidextrous Manual Safeties:
From a student:
“John: I’m currently in the market for a 1911 concealed carry pistol. The one I like is the Kimber Pro CDP II. My only concern is that it comes standard with an ambidextrous safety. What is your opinion of ambidextrous safeties?”
My reply: I don’t like ambidextrous safeties! In fact, I don’t like any pistol lever or button that faces to the outside as the pistol is carried. All critical controls, like the manual safety lever, should face exclusively to the inside. On the outside, they get inadvertently bushed off by arms and clothing during normal, physical activity.
Ambidextrous safeties are one of the many “additions” that do not belong on a serious pistol.
16 May 06
I apologize for insulting all my left-handed friends! Left handers need an ambidextrous safety, but the lever portion on the left side of the 1911 pistol (the side left-hander don’t use) needs to be ground down to a minimal vestige, or ground flush.
That way, left-handers have a useable safety on the side they use, which faces inside as the weapon is carried, but nothing on the outside to be accidentally wiped off during the normal course of the day.
Shame on me for failing to make myself clear!
16 May 06
At an Urban Rifle Course last week in IN, my friend, Frank Sharpe, brought this to my attention:
Two of our students were using M1 Carbines. Neither would function reliably using the S&B hardball ammunition brought for them. The S&B’s overall cartridge length was too great, and the rounds would not feed, but instead became wedged between feed ramp and magazine lips. When both exasperated shooters finally switched to UMC, the problem instantly went away.
Comment: Again, before making ten gazillion copies of a product, manufacturers need to test it on real guns and under real circumstances! All the S&B ammunition purchased by these two students was little more than scrap.
Money “saved” by going with the less expensive product seems like chump-change now, I’m sure!
16 May 06
On using rifle sights , from a friend, and one of our instructors, in SA:
“I conducted an urban Rifle Class here last week, while you were doing the same thing there in the States. Our outdoor range faces east, and we thus had the sun in our faces most of the morning. All were armed with LM5s, a locally-manufactured Kalashnikov.
As I was demonstrating a shooting exercise, I suddenly realized that I could see nothing through my rear sight (peep sight, similar to the one found on the AR-15)! During a break I went off to one side and tried again. As soon as I lifted the sight toward the sun, I could see nothing. As I stood there, perplexed, I took off my glasses in order to scratch my eye. I then noticed that my glasses were completely coated with a layer of the fine dust that is endemic to this area. While wearing them, and not looking in the direction of the sun, I had not noticed it.
As soon as the sun hit my glasses, light was disbursed, so much that I could not see past the lens.
I learned an important lesson, one I won’t forget!”
Comment: I surely would not recommend shooting without glasses, but, when low-angle sunlight hits dust-coated glass, the lens suddenly becomes a barrier, through which one can see little. The same phenomenon happens with low-angle sunlight hits the dust-coated objective lens of optical sights. This is something of which all riflemen should be aware.
17 May 06
M1 Carbine in Israel
“The most common firearm carried openly by citizens here is the M-1 Carbine! Families out for an afternoon picnic prefer it to any other defensive firearm. They seldom break, never seem to wear out, and the government essentially gives them away.
When we get our hands on Cor-Bon’s new DPX 30M1 round, we’ll immediately swap it out for the hardball we’re currently using.”
Comment: Things are looking up for the humble, little M1 Carbine!
17 May 06
School Raid Drill in NJ, from a friend there:
“Yesterday, our police ESU team, along with State Police Hostage Negotiators, conducted a practice drill at the local high school. Four terrorists, played by police officers, armed with shotguns, AR-15s, handguns, and ‘explosives’ stormed the school and took control of a second-floor classroom. Thirty students and teachers were ‘taken hostage.’
As an EMS, I didn’t see most of the tactical operations, but I did have the opportunity to talk with students and teachers.
One teacher spoke proudly about how he locked his classroom door, thinking that terrorists would bypass the room. They didn’t! He complained that hostage takers were given a key, which he assumed they ‘couldn’t possible have in a real incident.’ As with most grasseaters, I had to explain to him that any shotgun would make quick work of his flimsy door locks! Terrorists had been given keys, only so the school would be in one piece when everything was over!
At the end of the day, two LEOs and seven students were ‘killed,’ and the drill was thus ruled a ‘great success!’ However, the multiple injured students we ‘treated’ all would have been dead long before they were brought to me! The reality of tactical situations is that EMS will be staged far away from the site, so injured are going to be ‘on their own’ in the short term.
Everyone needs to be prepared to tend to their own wounds, if they expect to live through it.
Tourniquets and IBDs are lifesavers. They should be carried by everyone!”
Comment: In such situations, even when the tactical portion goes “perfectly,” dozens, even hundreds, of serious trauma cases will be generated in a short period of time. EMS will get there ”eventually,” but they will be quickly overwhelmed. Many will die waiting to be evacuated or waiting to be treated.
EVERYONE needs to know how to, and be equipped to, treat serious, life-threatening trauma at the scene. This, in fact, is the essence of Doc Gunn’s and my Tactical Treatment of Gunshot Wounds Program.
17 May 06
Protest in Capetown, SA, from an LEO friend and student there:
“Yesterday, we were called in to ‘restore peace’ after striking security guards went on a rampage during a protest march here in the city. Strikers burned cars, looted shops, and beat and robbed members of the public who were unfortunate enough to be there. Cape Town City Center looks like a war zone! Forty strikers were arrested, including one of the leaders of COSATU, the biggest trade union in South Africa. They have shown themselves to be little better than the very thugs they purport to protect their clients from (when they are working).
Our Communist South African government is now reaping what they sowed years ago. Communists consistently employ mob violence in order to intimidate all who dare oppose them. Now, unions have come back to haunt the very government they put in place!
We are heading headlong towards civil unrest, on a large scale!”
Lesson: “THE MOST RADICAL REVOLUTIONARY WILL BECOME A CONSERVATIVE, THE DAY AFTER THE REVOLUTION!”
Communists, along with other autocrats, are all the same. They lust after absolute power, and they will come up with any “justification” necessary, no matter how preposterous, even when it is obvious hypocrisy.
Of course, the American news media (who never met a Communist they didn’t like) will willfully suppress this.
18 May 06
I’m now carrying a copy of the Harkins Triton automatic knife, marketed by my friends at Blackhawk. Most automatic knives I’ve seen in he past have been flimsy, and they all have the irritating habit of deploying inadvertently. Accordingly, up until now, I’ve not carried one.
The Harkins knife deploys with a sliding activator, and withdraws the same way. Inadvertent deployment has been eliminated. It is all done one-handed, and both deployment and withdrawal can be performed instantaneously! The unit is sturdy and extremely well made. Were it not, Blackhawk would have nothing to do with it!
The ability to get a useable, substantial blade on one’s hand quickly, with a minimum of movement and effort has been an illusive goal for those of us who want our weapons with us (yet out of sight) all the time. So far, the Harkins looks as if it fills the bill admirably!
As with the unique Gladius flashlight, Blackhawk has, once again, met a legitimate need with a superior product. Recommended!
18 May 06
From an LEO Friend in the Southwest:
“In April, another uniformed officer and I approached a residence in an attempt to execute a felony warrant. Expecting us, the fugitive’s family members were in the process of hurriedly exiting the residence through the front doorway. Looking through the same door, I recognized the fugitive himself coming down the stairs, inside the house. He had a Beretta 92F in his hand, plainly visible.
My G22 at eye level, and using the door frame for cover, I issued our standard, verbal challenge. My partner, armed with an H&K MP5 (9mm), backed me up. Without hesitation, the fugitive raised his pistol and fired a single shot at me. I don’t believe he ever saw my partner. His bullet struck me in the chest but was contained by my ballistic garment. I felt it hit, but I knew I was okay.
My partner and I both returned fire immediately. I was sure I hit him several times. My partner simultaneously fired a full-auto burst at him. Subsequent examination of his body would confirm our accuracy. As it turns out, I hit him three times in the lower abdomen. Most 9mm rounds from my partner’s SMG hit him in the upper part of both legs. I was using high-performance, HP ammunition, as was my partner. Most of our bullets expanded normally and did not exit.
The fugitive was visibly startled, but quickly recovered. He immediately ran back up the stairs and locked himself in a bedroom where he tended to his own wounds with a makeshift tourniquet.
For our part, we retreated to our patrol vehicle, just in time as it turns out! A few minutes later, the fugitive emerged from the front door and fired at us again, striking our vehicle. Our SWAT team finally arrived. When the fugitive stuck his head out from the same location once too often, they shot it with a 223 rifle bullet. Fugitive was (finally) DRT.
My partner and I are okay. This fugitive earned my grudging respect. He was a fighter!”
Lesson: Determined suspects are not impressed with handgun bullets! It is time to declare a truce in the apparently never-ending “Caliber Wars,” and start confronting the reality that we must all improve our accuracy and understand that (never mind what pistol we’re using) rapid, multiple hits are going to be required to end most fights. Even then, there are no guarantees!
This suspect was able to absorb at least eight handgun hits from high-performance ammunition, within a second or two, and still run up a staircase, displaying little apparent discomfort! Ten minutes later, he was still fully conscious, completely animated, and fully capable of firing, with reasonable accuracy, at officers. We had to blow out his brains in order to finally stop him.
In the Age of Terrorism, we’ll be seeing more of this kind of suspect. We all need to be equal to the task!
18 May 06
On brain-stem shots, from one of our instructors:
“John, I’m currently devoting fifty-percent of instructional time to immediate, first-round brain-stem shots. The basic idea is to grab your holstered pistol and straightaway skull-pop the felon. It fits my experience that three seconds is the maximum amount of time between when the spaghetti hits the fan and when the spatter first reaches you!”
Comment: “Never do your enemy a minor injury.”
22 May 06
Diane Nicholl and Vicki Farnam’s new book, WOMEN LEARNING TO SHOOT: A GUIDE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, is now available. ISBN is 0-9659422-6-0.
Call 303 443 9817 to order direct.
From the back cover:
“Hitting your target isn’t luck, it’s skill!”
In this companion to the ground-breaking TEACHING WOMEN TO SHOOT: A LAW ENFORCEMENT INSTRUCTOR’S GUIDE, we switch to the student’s point of view, particularly the female student. The techniques we have used to help hundreds of women improve their shooting are here for you to learn.
A woman law enforcement officer with fifteen years on the job was often laughed at because of her poor performance on the range. The grip she had been taught did not work with the gun she used. Every time she pressed the trigger, she pushed the front sight out of alignment. Frustrated, she searched for help and read our book. There, she learned how to modify her grip. Now, she is able to simultaneously control the trigger and sights and thus consistently hit the target.
She has gone on to share her knowledge with other female officers as well as her instructor. She actually enjoys shooting now!
DTI Publications Inc.
PO Box 18746
Boulder CO 80308
24 May 06
S&W’s M&P Pistol, continued:
I now have my own copy of S&W’s M&P Pistol, in 40S&W. As promised, it came to me with night sights and without a magazine safety. I am carrying it now, in a Comp-Tac, C-Tac IWB holster, and I find it comfortable and eminently carryable (concealed). No sharp corners or edges. Everything on the M&P is smooth, the way a serious gun should be.
For the spare magazine carrier, I’m using one designed for my SIG229/DAK/357SIG. I works fine. I just had to open it up a slight amount. The M&P’s magazines are ever so slightly wider than those for my SIG. There is little doubt that a “compact” version of the M&P will be out next year, specifically targeted toward the concealed-carry market. This current version of the M&P is pointedly targeted toward the uniformed police, duty market, although, as noted above, I, for one, find it very suitable for concealed carry as well.
Compared with my SIG 229, the M&P is 3/4 inch longer, but nearly the same in all other dimensions. The M&P’s grip is slightly longer (less than 1/4 inch) than my 229’s, but the M&P is a fifteen-shooter, where my 229 is a thirteen-shooter.
The M&P comes with adjustable grip panels, and I’ve personally gravitated to the smallest option (one has a choice of “Small,” “Medium,” and ‘Large,” and all three options come with every pistol). Thus set up, the grip is similar to my 229’s, but it surely feels smaller! Vicki finds the M&P eminently useable with the small grip option, nearly unusable with the bigger options.
Compared with my G38, the M&P is only 1/4 inch longer, but the M&P’s grip is 3/4 inch longer.
The M&P is ½ inch shorter than my Detonics 9-11-01, and the grip lengths of both are the same. The Detonics is, of course, the flatter of the two.
Comparing the M&P, SIG229, G38, and Detonics 9-11-01 may not even be appropriate, but these are the guns I currently have with me for concealed carry, and these four are the ones I’ll be using at this year’s NTI in June. More at that time.
The M&P does have an ostensibly visual “loaded chamber indicator,” which I consider silly and superfluous, but, then again, there is no gun I’ve ever described as perfect.
After two false starts (the Sigma and the P99), S&W finally has a mainstream, flagship pistol worthy of their name. I predict the M&P will boldly step forward and take its rightful place beside Glock, SIG, and H&K in the American police handgun market.
I like mine!
24 May 06
Brain-stem shots, from one of our instructors, continued…
“We have been including brain-stem shooting in our force-on-force class. We integrate these skills into real-time scenarios. We set up the drill with a burglary suspect in the process of kidnapping a child. Students confront the situation suddenly, and without warning. We use KSC G19 clones. They are reliable and extremely accurate.
Students employ the “What do you want?” verbal challenge from low/ready, in an attempt to persuade the suspect to stand still during a two-second window. This is followed by a fast, snap-up presentation and an two, controlled shots to the brain stem. Nearly all students are eventually able to attain the required level of precision.
The suspect (usually me) holds the kidnapping victim, with a training knife to his throat. When we have husband and wives, father and sons, or anyone else with a significant bond with another student, I employ the partner as the victim. The suspect begins by screaming at the student to drop his gun. He continues by making all sorts of unpleasant threats. This normally generates a good deal of emotional involvement on the part of the student!
In the first few iterations, students predictably shoot wide, in an exaggerated attempt to miss the kidnapping victim. Poor shot placement is the inevitable result. Gradually, however, students become comfortable with their equipment and supremely confident in their own ability. Then, they start measuredly placing every shot exactly where it needs to be
On student commented, ‘I’ve had it drilled into me that such shots were impossible. Now, I know they are quite doable, when one is properly equipped, trained, and has the spittle for it!’ My reply is that taking the chance when the window is open is surely less dangerous than allowing the suspect to leave with the victim under his control.”
Comment: In most lethal encounters, body midline (naval to neck) is still the best target, from most standpoints. However, in hostage situations, we need alternatives. Successful brain-stem shots are demanding and audacious, but we sometimes have no choice!
24 May 06
More New Stuff:
Steyr is marketing its original AUG (with the addition of rails), now made in the USA! This American-made AUG was introduced at the NRA convention in Milwaukee last week. Complete with its integral, optical sight, for which it has been so well known, this new rifle will be a welcome addition to the current mix of 223, military rifles.
DSA’s wonderful American-made FAL now features an AR-15 rear sight. The sight works just fine, but adjustment is almost too easy. I’d like to see a way to lock it down, so that inadvertent, accidental adjustment could be prevented. That is one problem endemic with the current version of the AR-15.
SIG is now marketing a cocked-and-locked version of its 220! Featuring a two-position, manual safety lever, similar to the one found on the 1911, this version of the 220 is designed to be carried with the hammer cocked. For all practical purposes, my preference for a carry pistol is SIG’s wonderful DAK trigger system. Manual decocking levers have fallen out of style, but SIG is now offering this additional option, at least on the 220. Interesting!
24 May 06
Personal Injury ND, from one of our Instructors:
“Last weekend, a student generated an ND while holstering his pistol. He kept his finger on the trigger as he holstered his G17. The lip of his kydex holster forced his trigger finger against the trigger as the pistol was pushed into the holster, and the gun subsequently did exactly what it was designed to do! Fortunately, he suffered only minor injury.
The bullet, 9mm hardball, struck a folding knife in his hip pocket, shattering the knife into a dozen pieces. However, the impact deflected the bullet. It struck the ground next to the shooter. He has a nasty bruise on the back of his thigh, but nothing penetrated his skin.
This student is a competent marksman and competes regularly in target events. However, he doesn’t carry a concealed pistol regularly. These types rarely do! After the ND, he confessed that he has developed the dangerous habit of keeping his pistol’s trigger ‘prepped’ while on the line, waiting his turn to fire, pistol at a low-ready position. He said he knew it was a bad habit, but thought it wouldn’t interfere during a defensive shooting course. His prediction was correct, until speed and stress were stirred into the mix!
Here, we have a student who has actually trained himself to violate Rule Three, because he naively thought it would provide him with some competitive advantage! No problem surfaced, as long as he took the time to think about what he was doing. At our Program, in his first exposure to real training, he did what many new students do and tried to go too fast, too soon. His bad habit suddenly reared its ugly head! You will never impress your teacher by doing the wrong thing quickly!
The foregoing is a classic example of someone who is still only Consciously Competent being overtaken by events. He was lucky this time!”
Comment: There is no “right” way to do a wrong thing! “Prepping” the trigger, along with many other competitors’ tricks, is foolish and dangerous, as we see.
26 May 06
I attended a lecture yesterday, presented by a Marine Reserve officer (he is an LEO the rest of the time), on the subject of rifle optics.
He indicated that the USMC selected the ACOG, over the EOTech and the Aimpoint, because it is more detailed and thus provides the shooter with more useable information than do the other two. The ACOG has a reticle in the shape of a chevron. A graduated line down from the chevron is calibrated from 400M to 600M. Magnification is 4X.
By contrast, the Aimpoint just has a dot, and the EOTech has a dot and a circle. He indicated that both were thus only useable out to 100M, although they are a good deal less “busy.” After that, one must “hold over” a guessed amount. Magnification is zero. Both require batteries.
For domestic law enforcement and domestic personal defense, 100M just about covers all engageable challenges. For most encounters within that range, appreciable magnification is actually counterproductive. And, the 223 round is only as effective as it is out to 150M anyway. The military community may continue to delude themselves into thinking they have a 600M rifle, but the rest of us know better.
On the ACOG, the chevron is illuminated by a light-gathering fiber optic strip on the top of the unit. At night, it is illuminated by the same radioactive material that illuminates pistol night sights. So, it is useable all the time, and batteries are not required, something I consider a genuine advantage.
However, during the day, many Marines have complained that the reticle is actually too bright! A field/expedient fix is to put a piece of duct tape over part of the fiber strip. This has now become a common practice in Country.
It is my opinion that the 223 round, particularly Cor-Bon DPX, is eminently suitable for domestic policing and personal defense. For military use, it is inadequate, and that is now widely conceded.
All optics mentioned are fine, but I prefer a plain-vanilla, forward-mounted, scout scope. Leupold makes a great one. I also like the EOTech for its speed and wide field of view, but I keep getting reports that they don’t hold up under heavy use. The ones I’ve used personally have all worked just fine, and their customer service is excellent. Time will tell.
In the interim, anyone who can’t use iron sights can hardly call himself a rifleman!
28 May 06
At an Urban Rifle Course in PA this weekend, we again shot ballistic gelatin through the standard, four layers of denim. This time, I wanted to compare 223 DPX (53gr Barnes bullet) with the new 30M1 Carbine DPX round (100 gr Barnes bullet). Mike Shovel from Cor-Bon was on hand with a supply of both. The 30M1 Carbine round is now available from Cor-Bon, and I, for one, made sure I have an adequate supply!
Interestingly, the 30 M1 Carbine bullet penetrated nineteen inches, while the 223 penetrated fifteen! Both bullets expanded in the classic Barnes way. Four layers of denim doesn’t retard Barnes bullet expansion at all, in any caliber.
Who have and use an M1 Carbine will benefit immensely from this round, the first new round in this caliber in a long time, and the most effective one of all available, by far. Recommended!
29 May 06
What VCAs prefer, from a friend with the LAPD:
“Recently, a local ‘reformed’ gang member was lit up as he sat in his car. I overheard officers behind me talking about strange-looking casings found at the scene. When I turned and saw what they had, I let them know they were 357SIG. No, our local gang members aren’t studying the latest in ammunition trends nor reading scholarly works on ballistic improvements. They just acquire any stolen gun they can get their hands on.
Legitimate gun owners, including cops, need to adequately secure weapons that are not being carried. When they do, we may we may, once again, return to those wonderful, idyllic days of Saturday-Night Specials!”
Comment: Gun safes are good things!
30 May 06
Happy ending, from a friend and student in CA:
“When we recently moved to a quaint, little town near San Francisco, I was the recipient of numerous sneers and scoldings from several other, local cops. Nearly all thought I shouldn’t carry off-duty, nor keep firearms in my house in a high state of readiness. Like all naive liberals, they were cock-sure in their opinions, and resented that I was bringing ‘paranoid thinking’ to their precious ‘Wine Country,’ (actually, more like ‘Whine Country’) I quaintly absorbed their self-righteous expressions of disapproval.
Several weeks ago, a VCA, wearing a black, ski mask, grabbed the wife of a local resident, while she was walking her dog early one the morning. She was dragged into her own house at gunpoint. The VCA announced he was holding her for ransom! The woman’s husband, also in the house, hearing her plaintiff screams, grabbed his (loaded) revolver and went to the rescue. In the living room, he saw the suspect holding a gun to his wife’s head. Without hesitation, he gunned him down. Suspect was DRT! Wife was okay. The VCA was a former employee of the homeowner.
First homicide ever for the PD and the City! All my self-righteous, liberal colleagues have recently (and curiously!) been uncharacteristically silent about my attitude toward personal preparedness. In fact, many have come to be, individually (so as not to be seen so doing), and asked about concealed-carry options. Their liberal arrogance has conveniently diminished, at least slightly. My SIG/229/DAK remains in a high state of readiness. Call me silly!”
Comment: How many time do myths need to be dispelled? Who whine about gun-owing Americans are the very ones to whom “the problem” belongs! Self-righteous twits all share one, characteristic personality trait: They can’t be insulted, and they can’t be embarrassed! No matter how wrong it is clearly shown they are, they go on, unapologetically, as if nothing had happened. They are unfit to occupy space!