1 Nov 04

Sage comments from a friend in DEA on concealment:

“As to your friend’s comments about concealed pistols in his deployed unit, I will relate the following:

On my third tour with a jungle operations team in South America, the aircraft I was on crashed while attempting to land on a clandestine airstrip in an area controlled by drug traffickers. I, and a host national, were taken into custody by a heavily armed, local ‘militia group.’ We were quickly stripped of all weapons and explosives, or so they thought. A poor search failed to disclose that I was carrying concealed a Glock 17 under my fatigues.

At gunpoint, We were loaded on another aircraft and removed from the crash site. Assuming that I would be strip searched shortly after landing (wherever they were taking us), I began to formulate a plan based around the 18 rounds of 9mm. Fortunately, friendlies had made radio contact with our ‘hosts.’ Upon landing, everything was resolved without incident.

Having a pistol available opened a host of options that would have been unavailable to me had it not been there. My true piece of mind was that, if it was my time to meet my maker, I could make the opportunity to bring many with me. They’re not getting me without a fight!”

Comment: Me neither!



2 Nov 04

Sage observation from a good friend and colleague:

“This morning’s news indicates that ‘insurgents’ surrounded and attacked a corporate facility in Baghdad, taking hostage (no doubt for later video beheading) several corporate employees, and killing two others, an Iraqi and an American security officer. However, one corporate employee, who was armed and ‘fired back,’ escaped capture.

This represents an important reaffirmation of things we already know to be true. Even if this corporate employer prohibited the carrying of firearms, as many do, and even if this employee is fired for doing so, he is, no doubt, glad to have been armed when he needed to be!”

Comment: At the 2004 NTI, one live-fire drill required participants to escape from a building during a terrorist attack. Even under these circumstances, many players still hesitated to open doors marked “No Admittance” or “Employees Only,” when those directions clearly led to safe exits. They were blindly unable to shed the ubiquitous “Is it okay if I do this?” chasteness, even during a life-threatening emergency. Many, after the drill, were plainly embarrassed by their naive foolishness.

Once again, their world is defined by “rules.” OURS ISN’T!



3 Nov 04


Not a single vote had actually been counted yesterday afternoon, when ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN anchors all gleefully declared that the election was over and that Kerry had won by a landslide. CNN, in fact, showed a picture of the State of Florida. It had a check by Kerry’s name, indicating that Kerry had carried the state, even though the percentage of reporting precincts was still at “zero!”

For the past six months, the networks have been little more than an extension of the Kerry election campaign. Oh, the long faces on those same people this morning! Their dimpled darling didn’t make it. They had all long since dropped any pretense of fairness and objectivity, routinely reporting their personal, leftist agenda as fact. Along with crooked pollsters, they put out utter fantasy as fact, calling their own Marxist delusions “news.” They are all a disgrace to their profession, incapable of so much as an honest thought!

Despite his “coalition” of media leftists, grasseaters, Hollywood twits, and assorted other losers, Kerry failed, thank God! We will no longer have to contemplate a traitor in the Whitehouse. This is the guy who called me and my men “baby killers,” a despicable act for which I will never forgive him as long as I live.

As if to confirm that he lacks any species of class, Kerry’s “concession” speech this afternoon was just another political diatribe. He never conceded defeat, never congratulated Bush or even acknowledged his stunning victory. He just called the campaign “over.” As always, the speech was only about him.

With the permanent title of “loser,” Kerry will now quickly fade in stature and influence. The American political stage is well rid of him.



5 Nov 04

More from the Front, from one of our students:

“There is a learning curve over here, just as in all wars. Fortunately, this time commanders are actually listening to what (USMC) Corporals and Sergeants are telling them. The result is that we’re doing better now than several months ago. We are regularly inflicting crippling casualties on the enemy while drastically reducing our own. Things are looking up here!

I can’t say it too often: REALISTIC RIFLE AND PISTOL TRAINING IS A MUST. The ‘Hot Range,’ to which we were introduced by the Farnams, needs to go system wide, and the sooner, the better. The more ‘serious’ the training, the more serious the Marine. We need to get away from the ‘game/match’ attitude that so typifies what often passes for small-arms training now. Politics, lectures, good intentions, and ‘rules’ don’t make Marines victorious. Serious training and correct attitude does!

Lastly, we must instill in each Marine an aggressive warrior attitude. Each needs to have supreme confidence in himself and in his personal ability. Each must be instilled with a superiority of purpose and an iron will. Each needs to think of himself as an ‘operator,’ not just a cog in a gear.
I am rotating back to CONUS soon.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to pass on what I have learned. See you early next year.”

Comment: With warriors like this, there is no possibility of failure! Happily, the foregoing is typical of what we have come to expect from all our Marine students. It is indeed a privilege and an honor to be able to work with them. They are magnificent, and, for their sake (and for the sake of all those who have gone before), we will make “Hot Ranges” standard!



9 Nov 04

A Trooper’s Story:

A state trooper, who was one of our students last weekend, told us of one of his experiences. This incident occurred late last year:

“I pulled over a car on an isolated stretch of state highway on a Thursday at midnight. He was drifting over the centerline, and I thought he was likely falling asleep at the wheel. The only person in the car was the driver. This is not uncommon, and I didn’t consider this stop particularly dangerous, as he pulled over right away. I was going to suggest to the driver that he find a motel and get some rest; nothing more. As I walked even with his left, rear bumper, the driver turned in his seat, pointed a 1911 at me, and started firing. He said nothing, and his movement was so slow and nonchalant that I didn’t detect any peril until his first shot whizzed past my head!

I drew my pistol and stumbled backward. By the time I got to my patrol vehicle, I realized that I had not been hit (yet). God knows how! I got in, put the vehicle in reverse and backed up rapidly. I didn’t notice it until later, but my windshield had several bullet holes through it as did my grill and front bumper. My rear window was shot out.

The driver did not close the distance between us, but he did not drive away either. He was there to fight, and I quickly came to the conclusion that he had no intention of leaving. He intended to finish me off! Using his driver’s door for cover, he continued to fire at me with his 1911, reloading several times.

I returned fire with my pistol, but then grabbed my shotgun. Several pellets from my first two buckshot rounds hit him in the feet and ankles. He fell down behind the door but then got up again and resumed shooting. I swapped out to a slug and then aimed at his center mass where I calculated it was behind the door. The slug penetrated the door and most of the suspect. It ended the fight and ultimately proved fatal. He was DRT. Thank heaven for slugs!

The first backup car arrived ten minutes later, long after the situation was over. Several citizens stopped some distance away, but they did not approach and did not influence the outcome either way.

I was uninjured. We discovered that the suspect was driving on a suspended license from another state. He also had several outstanding misdemeanor warrants, again from another state. Paradoxically, he had little to fear from me. He probably would not have even received a ticket, but he obviously thought he was trapped.

The one thing that came crashing into my head as the situation progressed was that I WAS ON MY OWN! I wear a uniform, and I have a radio. I am part of a large organization, but none of the rest of it was in a position to help me while I was fighting for my life. No one arrived ‘in the nick of time.’ We’re so used to suspects running away and/or surrendering meekly, that we are astonished when someone actually wants to fight! It always seems to take us by surprise.

It shouldn’t! WE SHOULD ALWAYS EXPECT A FIGHT AND BE FULLY PREPARED TO BE VICTORIOUS, ON OUR OWN, WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM ANYONE ELSE. That lesson was not clear to me before this incident. It is now!”

Lesson: Willingness is a state of mind. Readiness is a statement of fact!



11 Nov 04

EOTech, revisited

In a conversation earlier this year with friend, Jeff Chudwin, I had the opportunity to use an EOTech sight, mounted on an AR-15. I’ve expressed my concerns in the past about this kind of high-tech sighting system and its need for batteries, its excess bulk, and fragility. I also am concerned with the fact that rain droplets on the screen make the sight difficult to use, but Jeff indicated that the sighting system was popular among many who go in harm’s way regularly. In any event, I borrowed a copy from Jeff and installed it on my DSA/FAL. My FAL has a single rail on top, and I mounted the EOTech as far forward as I could.

Last weekend, I used the unit in my demonstrations at an Urban Rifle/Shotgun Course in PA. What I like most of all is the ability to see so much AROUND the aiming point. I also like the fact that it uses plain-vanilla AA batteries, not exotic hearing-aid batteries that are difficult to find. It is rugged and can sustain rough use and continue to function.

Brightness of the reticle must be adjusted according to ambient light. Too bright in low light, and details in the downrange area are overpowered. Too subdued on a bright day, and one can hardly see it. Adjustment buttons are convenient, but brightness needs to be self-adjusting. One less thing to mess with in an emergency. The reticle turns itself off after four hours. A good feature, but it needs to automatically turn itself back on when the weapon is moved. Nothing worse than throwing the rifle to one’s shoulder only to realize the reticle is turned off.

This morning, I used the unit to hunt mountain sheep at a hunting preserve in OH. I must say, in a forward mount, the EOTech is easy to use. One doesn’t get “lost” in it as is common with optics that magnify. I killed a ram with a single shot. Range was 100m, level. When the shot broke, I could see the bullet hit and the ram fall, all while I was still in the sight. I didn’t become momentarily disoriented as is common with scopes. When I reset the trigger, I was still in the sight.

In any event, some of my concerns about the EOTech have now been laid to rest. It is rugged and reliable. It is fast and eminently useable for serious shooting. Improvements mentioned above will be welcome when they make their appearance, but I have grown to truly appreciate this technology. I’m leaving it on my FAL!



12 Nov 04


A friend at Glock gave me the opportunity to test fire the new G18/C yesterday. The full-auto G18 (9mm) has been around for some time, but this new version is compensated in order to enable the shooter to hold it down during burst fire. Unlike other /C model Glocks, the G18/C has the entire top of the slide cut away forward of the ejection port. The barrel, in turn, has four venting slots cut in the top, progressively larger toward the muzzle. An additional rectangle of slide is removed to the rear of the ejection port in order to delete weight from the slide.

I shot white-box, generic 9mm hardball through it. More powerful ammunition would have rendered a faster cycle rate. As it was, I was unable to shoot a burst consisting of fewer than four rounds. Most were five. Actually, burst controllability was good, for a pistol. I can see this weapon, in conjunction with a laser, being used by officers shooting from behind shields, where a conventional sight picture is impossible. It must be shot while holding it at eye level. There is such a blast coming from the top of the pistol during burst fire, holding it close to the body or lower than eye level would produce a great deal of distraction!

The old G18 was completely uncontrollable for many shooters and only marginally controllable for the rest. This new version does indeed adequately address the controllability issue. Few people, indeed few police officers, need a full-auto pistol. However, for those who do, the G18/C does work, in spades!



17 Nov 04

Range Fires:

Fires in indoor shooting ranges are more common that most of us think. Tens of thousands of individual cartridges discharging eventually deposit significant quantities of unburned powdered propellant. It accumulates on the floor, particularly in corners and in cracks and grooves in the concrete. If it is not cleaned out regularly, it can flash when exposed to a spark, discarded cigarette, etc. Such flashoffs are usually brief, unless there is something else combustible in the area, like stacks of paper targets, wood framing, etc.

The foregoing has been well known for years, at least among owners of indoor ranges. Some have burnt down as a result. However, today there is a new aggravating factor: granulated, rubber bullet traps. Several relatively new commercial indoor pistol ranges have recently burnt to the ground. The fire either started in the bullet trap itself or started somewhere else and migrated there.

Granulated rubber bullet traps are supposed to be treated with a fire retardant, but, once a rubber fire gets going, it is relentless, and nearly impossible to extinguish. In one case, employees threw bucket after bucket of water on the smoking the bullet trap, all to no avail. Within minutes, the fire was out of control.

Rubber bullet traps have many advantages: They are significantly quieter than steel bullet traps. The can accommodate both rifle and pistol rounds at the same time. They are relatively compact and relatively inexpensive. Unhappily, the fire issue has now reared its ugly head.
While manufacturers come up with solutions, a few precautions will be helpful in the interim:

>All indoor ranges should be “no smoking.”

>Powder residue must be removed from the floor regularly.

>All indoor ranges need adequate ventilation

>Paper targets and other combustibles should not be stored in indoor ranges

>Rubber granules should not be directly exposed to gunfire. There needs to be a rubber sheet covering granules, so that powder particles can’t infiltrate the granule matrix. Rubber barriers must be rotated regularly, so that holes don’t develop.

We all hope the fire issue can be brought under control, as rubber bullet traps are wonderful. While the jury is out, we need to be careful!



19 Nov 04

On weapons handling in the Mideast, from a friend in Country:

“Gun handling, safety, and storage, as practiced by locals, is horrifying. Armed Iraqi nationals, Iraqi National Guard, and Iraqi police are all incompetent an utterly unsafe. We never go anywhere near them. Muzzle discipline does not exist. Fingers are always inside trigger guards and in contact with triggers. Manual safeties on AKs are always ‘off.’ Collapsible stocks are never extended, and fixed stocks are often cut off (‘style points,’ apparently). NDs are more or less continuous. People here are shot by accident all the time. No one cares.

All deliberate firing is full-auto, of course. I’ve never seen anyone actually aim a shot. Thus, many more people here are shot by accident than are ever shot on purpose.

Marksmanship is a lost art. Sights are never used. In most cases, locals really don’t want to hit the other combatant. Therefore, they shoot over the adversary, hoping he will return the favor. In a gunfight (over a parking place) just outside my hotel two weeks ago, I saw and heard over a hundred AK rounds fired between two angry drivers at a distance of ten meters. Neither antagonist was hit, but both cars were totaled!

Carrying of handguns is also scary. Casually stuffed in waistbands, belts, pockets, they fall out constantly. What holsters there are, are crap. G19s, Browning HPs, CZs, and Makarovs. Some are loaded. Some aren’t. No one ever seems to be sure. Ammo is shot up as fast as we give it to them in ‘happy fire.’ Consequently, most local cops are only given five rounds at any one time.”

Comment: Fox News coverage of Arafat’s funeral showed many “mourners” firing their AKs into the air. Malfunctions, born of poor maintenance, were legion. What AKs that didn’t experience stoppages were shot dry, all full-auto. In every case, the puzzled shooter just stands there and looks at his nonfunctioning rifle in disbelief. At some point, he starts dithering hesitantly, paying no attention to what is going on around him. Some finally remove the magazine, insert another, and resume firing. They get a handful of rounds off, and then the whole confused process is repeated.

These people are no match for professional gunmen. We must therefore continue to widen the gap between them and us. We can hardly make them more incompetent, but we can surely strive to assure that none of us fall into the same category!



22 Nov 04

Observations from the 2005 ITOA (Illinois Tactical Officers’ Association) meeting and conference in Oakbrook, IL

The 2005 ITOA Conference is the biggest yet. Vendors’ displays are extensive and valuable, as are the various presentations. Friends Jeff Chudwin, Al Kulovitz, and the rest of the Board members deserve a lot of credit for putting it on.

S&W’s long-awaited LE service pistol will be making its debut next summer (probably at the IALEFI Conference in Reno, NV), I’m told by reliable sources within S&W. This is the gun that will, with any luck, successfully compete with Glock, SIG, and H&K for the American police market. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it is all USA-made, self-decocking (DAO), double-column, and available in 9mm, 40S&W, and 357SIG. Trigger will be in line with SIG’s DAK and H&K’s LEM. Magazine safety will be an option, not standard (thank Heaven!). This is the move we’ve all been waiting for from S&W, and I, for one, hope it will be extremely successful. Stiff competition is, in the long run, good for everyone.

S&W’s table featured their traditional line of pistols, as well as the P99. No Sigma was present. The version of the P99 that is most attractive is the P990L. It is self-decocking, and the trigger is just fine. It features no buttons. However, both the P99 and Sigma lines will likely be swept to the side by S&W’s new pistol.

Betterbilt has on display their Safe Direction line of bullet-absorbing pistol cases and notebook inserts. These provide an instant safe direction in which to point a pistol during loading and unloading. Not designed to prevent accidents, this product is designed to limit the damage. All gun owners and carriers should own one!

Beretta is introducing in spring of next year their polymer-framed, rotary-barrel Cougar pistol, called the PX4. Dimensions are identical with the current version of the Cougar, except that the PX4 is a half-inch longer. Beretta had one on display. Interesting that they are going with the Cougar design, rather than continuing trying to push the 92. The 92 is just too big to be attractive to the majority of the American police market. Unfortunately, the DAO PX4 trigger is still long and heavy, no improvement over what Beretta has always offered with their DAO pistols. Without a shorter, lighter trigger pull, this pistol will not successfully compete with Glock, SIG, and H&K.

Curiously, Beretta has stopped making their wonderful 1201 autoloading shotgun. Too bad. I love mine. They are now marketing the Benelli. Beretta’s “Storm” carbine was also on display. With American law enforcement moving away from pistol-cartridge-firing longarms and toward full-fledged rifles in 223 and 308 caliber, this product come along at the wrong time.

Friend, John Milano at DSA is now making and selling the new LMT bolt for the AR-15. It is available as a drop-in replacement for the existing bolt. He is sending me one, and I’m going to install it on my DSA AR-15. The LMT is designed to eliminate the notorious extraction issues that have historically plagued the existing bolt. It features two extractor springs, rather than one, and locking lugs have been modified so they don’t break. If everything it is cracked up to be, this product will breathe new life into the AR-15 system.

M&A, a Chicago-area company specializing in AR-15 modifications and accessories is now marketing the SOPMOD extendible stock. The SOPMOD features an extended cheek rest (both sides). Concealed within the cheek rest is a compartment for storing spare batteries for the EOTech sight. M&A is also marketing a replacement upper that converts the AR-15 into a side-cocker, much like the FAL. They’ll sell lots of them!

Friend, Gary Klugiewicz is on hand to, as always, personally demonstrate the DRS riot ensemble. Designed to take a beating (Gary did!), this outfit is perfect for folks who have to wade into civil unrest.

Dick Davis is back in the driver’s seat at Second Chance! The old regime has finally been thrown out. Dick is on hand to talk with customers personally. If anyone can bring Second Chance back, Dick can.

More later.



24 Nov 04

From an LEO friend:

“I just attended a local police conference. It was at an upscale hotel, and most attendees carried openly during meals and at vendor’s displays. The vast majority were not in uniform. I did an informal survey:

Nearly everyone was carrying, most openly, as noted above. That is the good news. Of the ones who were carrying openly, all had cell phones and most carried blades, but only twenty percent had a spare magazine!”

Comment: If one is going to commit himself to going armed, he must go through a legitimate checklist every time he dons his ensemble. At least one pistol, at least one spare magazine, OC, handcuffs, cell phone, flashlight, and at least one blade he can deploy quickly. Carrying a pistol around without a spare magazine is foolish, and those who do have obviously not thought the issue through.



24 Nov 04

I’ll be offshore and out of touch for the next few weeks. Full report when I return.