2 Nov 05
Sage advice from a friend at the front:
“Comment on folding knives: Nearly all have no discernible hilt between handle and blade. The design makes for a slim profile, but, when your blade is employed to save a life, for example; persuading someone (whom it is inconvenient to shoot at the moment) to let go of you, inadvertently cutting your own index finger to the bone in the process is unlikely to be helpful!
One must concentrate on cutting, scraping, and avulsing with these knives, rather than stabbing directly into the body cavity. When you must stab, confine your target to the abdomen where the blade is unlikely to encounter anything hard. You can then cut strongly on the way out. Stabbing into the chest, or other bony area, carries with it the risk of inadvertently sliding your own hand onto the blade.
A better strategy is to scrape the forearm of the person who just grabbed you, starting with the wrist and pushing the blade toward the elbow. He’ll probably let go! If not, you can then cut across his neck and/or bicep, avoiding deep, direct thrusts when possible.
A fixed blade, with a genuinely functional hilt, obviously offers more options and can be drawn and employed faster than most folders. For serious carry over here, heavy, strong fixed blades are the best choice, particularly where concealment is not an issue. However, we are wallowing in a sea of incomprehensible and constantly changing ‘restrictions’ here. Where concealment is an issue, one must become creative, and folders may be the only option.”
Comment: A good blade is a wonderful complement to one’s pistol(s) and rifle. It is no secret that my favorite maker is Cold Steel, but there are others, like Gerber and Al Mar, who put out a good product too. These are things that must be considered carefully, before the critical moment.
As Confederate General AS Johnson put it at the dawn of the Battle of Shiloh on 6 Apr 1862, “The battle has opened, gentlemen. It is too late to change our dispositions.”
3 Nov 05
CWO2 Newton currently is still deployed forward in the Ar Ramadi and Fallujah gap area. I asked him whether our Marines preferred candy, food, etc or critical equipment and clothing.. His response was unequivocal. “MARINES STILL NEED GEAR AND CLOTHING THAT IS NOT CURRENTLY PROVIDED OR EVEN IN THE SYSTEM. IT MAY BE SOME DAY, BUT OUR GUYS NEED THIS STUFF NOW:
Nomex Flight Gloves and Balacalva Hoods. Those produced by Hatch are the best value. www.diamondbacktactical.com. Let them know you are ordering them for Marines deployed forward, as they will offer you a discount. Oakley gloves are great, but they are not currently flame retardant, and I thus don’t recommend them..
Diamondback sells nomex flight suits as well. Medium and large are needed most. Tan is the best color.
Fire-retardant undergarments, T-shirts and underwear. Best are X-Static by Potomac Field Gear. www.quanticoarms.com.
Local weather is getting cold. The ‘Inferno’ jacket is ideal and highly prized. Available at www.massif.com.
Surefire G-2 lights, with red or IR lens caps are indispensable www.surefire.com. Again, tell them your order is for our deployed Marines and receive a 25% discount.
Leatherman Tools. Best is the ‘Charge XTI.’ www.leatherman.com
Knives. We like the Strider-designed Bucks, in particular the folding SBMF, and the fixed-blade FB. www.buckknives.com . Cold Steel, Gerber, Al Mar, CRKT, and Emerson are also excellent.
My address is still:
CWO2 JR Newton
MWSS 372 Eng Co, HE Ops
I’ll personally see to it that whatever is sent to us gets into the hands of the guys who need it most, without delay! We thank you for not forgetting about us in this lonely and dangerous corner of the world.”
4 Nov 05
Snappy answers to typically stupid/naive, grasseater questions:
A small town in upstate NY, through its chief of police, is trying to equip all its police officers with AR-15s. A local newspaper article delineates unintelligent questions put to the department by local politicians, et al.
This kind of nauseating, willful ignorance and glib lack of concern for the welfare of police officers and citizens alike is typical of sleazy politicians, concerned only with the seizure of political power for themselves. By appearing unconcerned with risks faced by their own police, they try to be seen as “heroes” in the eyes of local trailer trash who keep them in office:
“Oh, come now! How often are police violently murdered in this town?”
Answer: “Only once!” Paradoxically, those best prepared to confront unlawful violence are the least likely to encounter it. For its victims, lawless violence seeks out the unprepared and naive. The best way to win a war is by reputation!
”The weapon (AR-15) requires no manual action between shots. If officers go into a ‘state of shock’ while firing, they may fire off many rounds without realizing what they’re doing and potentially injure bystanders”
Answer: “Oh, please!” Pistols currently carried by officers are eminently capable of precisely the same thing. If you really believe your officers are going to go into an uncontrolled “state of shock” during the next emergency, you better move out of town while you still can. Who naively advocate ‘safe’ guns probably need to be institutionalized!
“Do we really need AR-15s routinely in patrol vehicles?”
Answer: “Any gun stored at police headquarters has no chance of ever being involved in a fight.” Emergency/safety equipment, like guns and fire extinguishers, needs to be immediately at hand. Storing it anywhere else is an exercise in self-deception.”
”If the need arises for an AR-15, one officer won’t go in alone.”
Answer: “He may have no choice! The fight may come to him.” The “run-away-and-tell-an-adult” solution you’re advocating doesn’t work with police. Once again, the naive assumption that there will always be plenty of time during an emergency is self-deception in its purest form!”
”Bullets that are used with an AR-15 can go through walls,”
Answer: “A common myth, believed only by the uninformed.” Ammunition commonly carried in AR-15s penetrates layered barriers about as much as pistol ammunition. Over-penetration is an issue with all guns. Precision accuracy, not underpowered ammunition, is the solution.
“For emergencies, always have a squad of officers available.”
Answer: “You’ve obviously never been a chief of police.” During the critical portion of most emergencies, police officers are nearly always acting alone. Help usually arrives well after the first officer has made his move. In this business, we can’t always wait until we have everything the way we want it. We have a police department here, not an army!
”We live in a peaceful place,” ”We ‘feel’ safe here.”
Answer: “You can ‘feel’ any way you want. It won’t change anything!” “Feelers” are losers. We all need to “feel” less and think more. A bad neighborhood is coming to a place near you!
”Confronting violence with superior weapons is ‘counterproductive.’”
Answer: “Only Communists express more concern for violent criminals than they do for decent citizens.” Communists are only too happy to let violent criminals advance their cause. After all, the more crime you have, the more ‘government’ you need! Frightened people can be persuaded to support power-hungry autocrats, naively thinking they will provide them with protection. It is the way Marxists/Communists always seize power.
4 Nov 05
Advice for travel, from a friend with the State Dept:
“When you can’t get guns and ammunition through airports, even in checked bags, send them to your destination via FedEx. When returning, do the same in reverse, or leave your stuff there with friends. My advice is to travel with preprinted labels, along with bubble wrap, a roll of tape, and a flattened, FedEx box. The routine will preserve your options.
Guns are impossible to possess, much less carry concealed, (legally) in many places. Of course, you do what you need to do, but, in most of those same places, knives are largely unregulated. A good selection of serious knives should thus be your constant traveling companion!
Likewise, flashlights are unregulated. However, an unexpected blast of light into a belligerent’s face will usually disorient him long enough for effective disengagement. Again, a Surefire, or the new Gladius, should be with you constantly.
When traveling overseas, don’t stay in hotels and eat in restaurants frequented by foreign tourists, particularly Americans. Instead, befriend some locals and persuade them to invite you to stay with them. They’ll keep you out of bad places!”
5 Nov 05
From the Washington Post, sent by a friend on the East Coast:
“When Debra Bolton, 45, was pulled over by police in Washington, DC, she told the officer the truth: she had a glass of wine with dinner. He arrested her for DUI. A breath test found her blood-alcohol was .03, well below the .08 percent legal limit, but the charge stuck. ‘If you get behind the wheel of a car with any measurable amount of alcohol, you will be dealt with in DC, said Dennis Fair, the arresting officer. ‘We have zero tolerance.’
Area defense lawyers know about this ‘rule,’ and usually suggest their clients plead guilty and accept ‘diversion’ programs, but Bolton fought the charge. After four court appearances, it was dropped, but the Department of Motor Vehicles then moved to suspend her license anyway. ‘Our burden of proof is lower than the court’s,’ said a DMV spokesman. ‘Not enough evidence for them may be enough evidence for us.’ The DMV eventually decided not to suspend her license, but instead give her a ‘warning.’”
Comment: There has been much talk of “activist judges,” but activist police chiefs and DMV bureaucrats are worse. Though unelected, they have decided, in essence, to manufacture new law and enforce it as though it were the law of the land, even though no legislative body ever even voted on it. Traffic safety, nor any other kind of safety, has anything to do with it. They see DUI laws as yet another way to maximize their income. All roads in DC have thus become “toll roads.”
This is not law enforcement. This is harassment, harassment of decent citizens who have disposable incomes and are unlikely to fight back. The City looks upon them as “easy money.”
Instead of protecting citizens, they prey upon them.
Local politicians may see no harm in this bit of officially-sanctioned larceny, but they are the ones most responsible for the deteriorating level of respect paid to all police, and the entire body of law to boot. When citizens find out about this kind of sleazy thievery and the seedy attitudes at upper levels of the police department that engender it, they begin to regard all police officers as little more than petty criminals, and who can blame them?
The Metro PD, it seems, has forgotten who is working for whom!
5 Nov 05
Why France, and all of Western Europe, are destined for exciting times, from a friend and student who is a French citizen:
“Our ‘leaders’ set us up for the out-of-control rioting going on in France right now.
It began when I was still a teenager. North African Arabs, mostly from France’s former colonies in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, began flooding in under the auspices of a vaguely-defined ‘work permit’ system. All were Muslim. They gladly took low-level jobs that didn’t interest native Frenchmen, who were mostly Christian. Naturally, these people stayed and had families.
As I was leaving for college in the USA, French politicians were already fretting about what to do with the progeny of these recent immigrants, who, as in the USA, were accorded full, French citizenship by virtue of being born in France.
No attempt was ever made to integrate them in French society. For the most part, they worked hard but were relegated to living in ghetto/suburbs (no ‘inner-city’ in France; it’s the ‘outer-city’). This new segment of French society had a higher birthrate than the average for the rest of the country, and, in no time, grew to represent a full, ten-percent of the population. As time went on, Arabs from the other parts of the Middle East, now including black Africans, also began to arrive, in order to join what they saw as a growing colony. Radical versions of Islam began to take root!
France’s economy is bad. It’s been bad since the end of WWI. Unemployment is at ten percent, and you can guess whom most of the unemployed are! Add to the explosive mix our expansive, Socialist-style welfare system that, like yours, dooms generation after generation to social immobility. Our suburbs were left to rot. Police now refuse to patrol vast expanses of Muslim-controlled real estate.
From the point of view of the government, be it the Marxist left of the confused right, the French state is still about career politicians, and their children, controlling power forever. It is not, nor has it ever been, about personal freedom and free enterprise. ‘Those people’ (try saying that with an arrogant sneer, and you’ll get the idea) weren’t important, so long as their votes could be reliably purchased with welfare payments.
So, this large segment of our population, who were never given any incentive to assimilate, HAS NOW STOPPED WANTING TO ASSIMILATE! It has been radicalized by extremist clerics who find devout followers among the unemployed and the ‘on the dole,’ simmering with anger over slights, both real and imagined. They are demanding complete, political autonomy, in effect, their own nation within France’s borders, a radical, Muslim foothold right in the middle of Western Europe! One unsettling consequence is a ‘brain drain,’ as our best and brightest are becoming frightened and getting out.
France, in the meanwhile, has no leaders. What it has is a political ‘ruling class’ that lives only for the continuation of its own benefits and powers, and passes laws accordingly. Nothing is going to get better.
In the USA, you are not as vulnerable to this type of problem, so long as you don’t turn Socialist, as we did. It is the welfare system that permanently alienates and segregates newcomers. Immigrants are assimilated and integrated into American society, because it provides the incentives and opportunities for success through your capitalistic economy. The welfare state provides only for permanent stagnation and marginalization.”
Comment: And so many in America think Europe is cool and trendy. They need to go over there and see for themselves!
6 Nov 05
Double Standard? This is from a friend in IL.
“We, in the Illinois Department of Corrections, are prohibited inside our penal facility with any kind of weapon. We would be immediately terminated. No questions asked. But, when Louis Farrakhan and his sleazy entourage visits, we are prohibited from searching him or any member of his ‘staff,’ most of whom have criminal records. We can’t even bring up the subject of weapons to them. Farrakhan and his gang is then permitted access to every corner of the corrections facility and freely meet with incarcerated gang leaders. People need to know this is happening!”
Comment: And, this is under a Republican (national) administration!
7 Nov 05
An officer’s record reveals the following:
“Young, single officer engages in too much late-night partying. Result: Subject officer is consistently late to work and sleepy on duty. Confronted by his shift sergeant and strongly admonished to clean up his act. File updated, administratively corrected.
Sloppy booking procedure jeopardizes important felony conviction. Result: DA is furious. Officer admonished. File updated, administratively corrected.
Failure to Marandize burglary suspect at the appropriate time, once again, jeopardizes conviction. Result: Suspect agrees to plea bargain and accepts reduced charge. Officer admonished. File updated, administratively corrected.
Officer on patrol is unobservant. Fails to take note of suspect vehicle. Result: Suspect was not arrested and is still at large. Officer admonished. File updated, administratively corrected.
When confronting armed robbery suspects, officer is slow, indecisive, and, when he finally shoots, inaccurate. When he runs dry, he is unable to reload quickly. Result: Officer dead. Administratively finalized. Officer’s file terminated.”
Comment: Most mistakes and lapses in attitude can be, with good supervision, identified and corrected. We’re not perfect, but life goes on. Sudden death by gunfire cannot be corrected, and the officer’s life does not go on! When our officers are dead, it is too late to update their training. The point is that the any one of us could be put to the test before this very day is over! All aspects of police work are important, but none is more important than skill with guns.
9 Nov 05
I just finished a day of hog hunting in OH. This is an annual event, and I got a big male this time. He’ll be in our freezer (in selected cuts) shortly.
I used my JLD/PTR (domestically-produced copy of the HK-91 in 308), and it worked superbly. Mine is the short version with a folding stock. Compact and easy to transport in a low-profile manner. After breaking it in, I had the extractor spring replaced, and it has been working flawlessly ever since. Excellent “car gun,” a role in which it is functioning right now.
I used Cor-Bon’s DPX ammunition, and it worked as advertised. I love Barnes bullets. They expand well and do not break up. I don’t like bullets that break up. This round is top drawer, both for hunting and for serious/social work. I keep a magazine full of it in the rifle all the time.
After a long stalk, my guide and I were able to get within forty meters of our quarry. He was browsing and moving slowly. From behind a tree, using stock, iron sights, I aimed in. It was late in the afternoon and getting dark. Presentation was straight broadside. My black front sight got lost as I put it on the side on the black pig! I had to move the entire sight picture off the pig and onto nearby light-colored leaves in order to find the front sight once more. I then moved the front sight back onto the pig’s side.
I still could not see it clearly, but I put it, as near as I could, on the point of the shoulder and took up the slack. When the shot broke, the pig was moving forward, and the bullet struck slightly to the rear of where I wanted it, but it was still a solid hit. The link snapped in audibly, and I followed him, ready for the first follow-up shot. The pig went right down with the first shot and started thrashing around. My guide said, “He’s down. He’s not going anywhere.” Halfway through his second sentence, my second shot broke. It hit low, breaking a front leg. I delivered a third, but it was not necessary.
Subsequent examination revealed the first bullet entered the chest wall just to the rear of the shoulder, breaking one rib. Penetration was ten inches. Damage was extensive. The wound was not survivable. Bullet expanded perfectly.
My favorite 308 rifle is still the DSA/FAL, but this JLD, after some tweaking, has demonstrated that it is a reliable and robust military rifle in 308 caliber. Recommended!
Cor-Bon DPX is hard to beat! Excellent ammunition for a wide variety of purposes. Also recommended!
10 Nov 05
On this 230th Anniversary of the beginning of the USMC at Tun Tavern, I need to comment on rifle accuracy:
Several have suggested that, at 40m in range, I should have taken a head shot on that pig. Well, “A man has to know his limitations,” and, at least with iron sights, I’m not good enough to consistently make that kind of shot on an animated target. Who can do it consistently is a better man than I!
Many, both shooters and manufacturers, just can’t wait to turn utility, military, fighting rifles into sniper rifles. Anal accuracy is the only thing, it seems, anyone wants to talk about. I, for one, disagree! A good, utility, military rifle must be loose enough to continue to function reliably, despite severe conditions, dirty ammunition, heavy use, and continuous lack of maintenance. Skintight guns, with tight, SAAMI chambers, are not up to the task. Their users may gloat at small groups now, but, when put to serious use over extended periods, their hapless owners will not live through it. They will die miserably, with a seized rifle in their trembling hands, desperately trying to get it running!
A good, urban, fighting rifle needs a NATO chamber (plenty of freebore), and tolerances on the entire gun need to be deliberately loose, SO THAT MOVING PARTS HAVE ROOM TO MOVE, even when mixed in with grit and dirt! When the AR-15 was first introduced into military service, parts were so tight-fitting that the rifle was billed as “self-cleaning.” From painful, personal experience I can tell you what a crock that was!
In any event, I consider acceptable accuracy for a personal, fighting rifle, a “car-gun,” to be four inches at 100m. That is plenty accurate enough for nearly any legitimate purpose one could imagine, and the rifle will keep going as long as its owner will. Snipers have an entirely different challenge and need different equipment. A sniper rifle and a utility, fighting rifle cannot successfully be combined into the same piece of equipment, although I know it has been tried.
One more note, from an experienced PH with whom I’ve worked many times: When contemplating a shot, on an animal or a person, IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO VISUALIZE WHERE THE BULLET WILL COME OUT THAN WHERE IT WILL GO IN. We like to talk a lot about “shot placement,” but we practice too much on stationary, frontal silhouettes that are nice enough to stand there, motionless, until it is convenient for us to shoot at them. In the field, all targets are animated to one degree or another, windows of opportunity come and go quickly, and target presentation is seldom flat, frontal. We need to be skillful at calculating the part of the anatomy the bullet will penetrate on its journey THROUGH the target. Sometimes, target presentation is such that hitting the normal impact point actually constitutes a poor shot, as the bullet subsequently fails to pass through anything vital.
After impact, not all bullets follow a straight path, but adequate destruction of vital tissues must always be our goal. This is the main reason I like bullets that do not fragment and break apart. Judging where to strike the target is a foursquare decision when one can depend upon the bullet staying in one piece after impact.
World history, as well as recent geophysical events, has taught us that we live on a pitilessly indifferent planet. Do not look to your opponent for mercy. Do not look to fate for “understanding.” Be ready to take care of yourself!
13 Nov 05
This from a friend and student in Belgium:
“As you have heard, there have been riots for over a week now in France, and there has been some spillover here in Belgium. We have known for years that the Muslim community was going to be a serious problem.
For Muslims, religion comes before anything else. They are Muslims first, national citizens second. They insist on being treated differently, a social system within a social system. We find this unacceptable. They have no interest in assimilating. Our politicians, all socialist/Communist, are spineless worms, frightened of this militant, isolated, and growing minority.
What we’re seeing currently in France is a warning for all of Europe. At the heart of Islam is violent evangelism. They intend to either forcibly convert us, or exterminate us. I’m persuaded they would prefer the later. We are finally waking up to that inescapable fact.
While all this is happening, the UN is pushing its “civilian disarmament” agenda. Curious that it is only the decent and innocent that they want disarmed. Organized crime over here is pervasive, aggressive, and heavily armed. There seems to be no interest in disarming any of them. Nor is there any interest in disarming the Moslem minority, who also have no concern for local gun laws and no fear of police. Indeed, police are afraid of them!”
Comment: Western Europe is in real trouble! This problem is decades away from any chance of getting better. Paranoid politicians there, as here, always respond first by forcibly disarming the innocent. Terror and slaughter will haunt Europe once more!
14 Nov 05
Baboon encounter, from a student in SA:
“Last week, I went bicycle riding on a trail in the local conservancy. No firearms are allowed in the park, of course. However, like all stupid, grasseater rules, this one is universally ignored by all who have a lick of common sense!
I carried a small, Taurus 357Mg revolver, loaded with CCI snake shot. Puff Adders are extremely poisonous, but lethargic. They don’t quickly slither away as do most snakes, so it is not uncommon to inadvertently walk up on one. I carry the revolver mostly for that eventuality, but I have, in addition, two speed-loaders, charged with 125gr Cor-Bon HPs, in my pocket. Good thing, as it turns out!
I stopped for brunch near a stream. After removing my helmet and other gear, I noticed a large, male baboon approaching in a menacing manner. Often fed by the uninformed, baboons quickly lose their fear of humans and become aggressive and dangerous, far more than just a nuisance. I drew my revolver and yelled at him. No response. He kept coming directly toward me. I then fired two shots at him at a range of twenty feet. He was temporarily stunned, but shook it off and continued to close the remaining distance between us.
I suddenly remembered that my revolver was loaded with snake-shot. Grabbing a speed-loader, I ejected the remaining snake-shot rounds and quickly reloaded with the HPs. Firing immediately, one of my two shots hit the big male in the neck. I don’t know where the other went. The bullet that did hit him, fully expanded, blew out his cervical spine. He was DRT when his fell, lifeless, mere feet away from me.
I reported the incident to the resident park ranger. He didn’t seem too worried, and baboons are pests here, and one fewer doesn’t concern anyone.
I’m lucky to be unhurt. Glad I learned, through many repetitions, to reload the revolver quickly. Glad I was armed when I needed to be!”
Comment: This woman is alive and healthy today, because she ignored ignorant, prejudicial, anti-guns laws and did what any sane person would. She was ready to courageously confront danger when it needed to be. Good show!
15 Nov 05
From a LEO, friend, and instructor in SA:
“We completed our shooting exercise today. It is part of the curriculum necessary to upgrade from being a Traffic Officer to being a Metropolitan Police Officer.
Eye protection and baseball caps were optional. No work out of holsters. No verbal challenges, tactical movement, or scanning. No reloading nor stoppage drills. On finishing each stage, the shooter was required to stand with the gun in slide lock, remove the magazine, and hold it for inspection. Once declared ‘safe,’ the pistol is holstered with the slide still locked to the rear.
Shooters were sent off the range in this same state, with the result that guys were strolling around casually pulling guns out in order to get slides forward. Some actually loaded their pistols. Most didn’t.
None of this in any way seemed to bother range officers. As I was a student, I decided to be quiet, follow orders, and get this quaint farce over with, but I couldn’t keep quiet about this last transgression. When I made my concerns known, it was like explaining MS Word to a chimpanzee! Personal readiness is not only absent from the agenda. It is absent from the entire curriculum.
Unhappily, the foregoing is typical of police ‘training’ here. It’s no wonder guns are looked upon with morbid fear by so many. Not even police know how to use them properly, nor are they likely to at this rate!”
Comment: Institutional “training” like this, which is in no way restricted to SA, is inexcusable! We never have enough time to train to begin with, and then we see these few, valuable moments foolishly squandered on trumpery as described in the forgoing. Too many attaboys. Not enough heroes.
16 Nov 05
On RRA’s AR-15, from a friend in the DEA:
“They make a great product, and customer service has been superb. However, I recommend you stay away from the ‘two-stage trigger.’ This is something for non-serious, target shooters. We’ve had several break on us, so we no longer use them and don’t recommend them. In fact, any military rifle that describes itself as ‘match’ or ‘target’ should never be used for serious purposes. You should only purchase “utility-grade” rifles with mil-spec triggers.”
Comment: Amen! Amen!
16 Nov 05
On the AUG, from a friend in the Philippines:
“Australia has promised military aid to us. Under license from Steyr, they manufacture the ‘Austeyr,’ the ‘Australian AUG.’ More importantly, Steyr has made it known that they intend to move the manufacture of all military small arms to Malaysia, which isn’t too far from here.
Given these developments, within the next three years, the AUG will become more common in this part of the world than the Galil, and eventually, even the AR-15.”
Comment: How geopolitics influences us all! Fortunately, the AUG is a wonderful rifle. It will serve its owners well!
16 Nov 05
On the Kahr PM9 and Rusty Sherrick’s holsters:
“For the past several months, I’ve been wearing a Rusty Sherrick ankle holster and a Kahr PM9 as a back-up pistol. Rusty uses no retention straps, yet the holster has firmly secured the PM9 despite every effort I have made to dislodge it. I have run with it, jumped, kicked, and tripped, and the gun stays secure. Yet when drawing, the pistol comes out clean and fast. Rusty is an artist! The PM9 is light, small, and holds a couple of rounds more than a J-frame.
I have found this combination of holster and pistol to be close to perfect.”
Comment: When you need to carry a gun, you need to carry at least two! Back-up pistols are important, but their selection and placement requires thought and careful preparation.
17 Nov 05
G21 and the LAPD
Today, the LAPD has ordered all its officers to suspend from active service all G21s. Graduates from the LAPD Academy are issued G22s, but G21s may be purchased individually and used on duty (until today). Many are currently in service.
The LAPD Firearms Training Unit cited ignition failures as the problem. Glock has dispatched a team to LA to resolve this Issue. When they do, I’m sure G21 will be reauthorized for service. Recently, LAPD mandated a trigger-bar replacement for G21s, but that apparently didn’t cure the problem to their satisfaction.
The LAPD Firearms Training Unit may be contacted at 818 832 3715.
19 Nov 05
The XCR from Robinson Arms
This is from Alex Robinson of Robinson Arms in Salt Lake City. This represents a genuine advancement in the evolution of military rifles, and we all need to take notice:
“The XCR is genuinely modular. It is designed and built to complete in the SCAR (Special Forces Combat Assault Rifle) trials. At first glance, it may look like an M4 with a rail system.
However, it is fresh, from the ground up.
When one asks veterans of serious and sustained fighting what they want in a battle rifle, they will say that they like the Stoner System (M16/M4) for its light weight, its ability to be accessorized, and for its ergonomics (pistol grip, selector, magazine release). However, all comment that the M16/M4 requires anal maintenance to keep it running, and even then, is no where near as reliable as the Kalashnikov (AK-47). In addition, several M16/M4 parts are particularly prone to breakage, notably the extractor spring.
We designed the XCR from scratch, borrowing features from both the M16 and AK-47. Here is what we did:
We designed a bolt similar to the Kalashnikov’s, with large, sturdy lugs and a durable, reliable extractor. We reverted to a traditional gas/piston and a robust, ‘knock out’ ejector.
During our interviews with operators, we discovered what is liked best about the M16/M4 is the way the magazine inserts and drops free quickly, the position and design of the selector lever, and the design of the pistol grip. Accordingly, we retained those features. However, the rotation of the selector lever, from ‘safe’ to ‘fire’ is now forty-five degrees (instead of ninety) and then sixty more degrees to full-auto. This was done for speed and convenience and so that the selector lever does not dig into the left-handed shooter’s hand.
We also added a 1913 Standard (Picatinny) rail system with rails at the three, six, nine, and twelve o’clock positions, to facilitate use with the SOPMOD accessories.
While then added several valuable features found on neither the Kalashnikov nor the Stoner Systems:
The XCR has a non-reciprocating charging handle on the left side of the rifle, with built-in bolt forward assist. The forward-assist is actuated by depressing the charging-handle knob while pushing the charging handle forward. The charging handle is in the middle of the upper receiver (left side). This ensures that no matter what is attached to the rails, the rifle can be manually cycled with ease. Actually, the forward-assist feature is needed only to close the bolt completely after a chamber check. In tens of thousands of rounds fired during testing, we’ve never had to use the forward assist to close the bolt during normal cycling.
Another ergonomic feature is an ambidextrous bolt hold-open. Wrapped around the bottom of the trigger guard, it can be operated easily, whether shooting right or left-handed. Along with our charging handle, this allows the operator to do everything necessary to function the rifle while keeping the weapon mounted and his eyes downrange.
The XCR’s upper receiver is not only strong, but it also has a quick-change barrel feature. The barrel of the XCR has substantially more support than that of the M16/M4 barrel and can be removed quickly and easily. Barrel change time is less than two minutes. Removing and reinstalling the barrel results in no change in zero.
The XCR is field stripped quickly. One button allows complete access to the interior.
Our rifle is being produced initially in 5.56mm (223), but features easy and convenient caliber conversion! We have conversion kits to upgrade to 6.8mm Rem and 7.62x39mm Soviet. Kits consist of barrel, bolt, and magazines. Conversion from one caliber to another takes less than five minutes.
In conclusion, the XCR has reliability, durability, accuracy, rails, superior ergonomics, and quick-change barrels. All this in a 7.5 pound package!”
Comment: Alex deserves a lot of credit for devoting so much of his life to bringing this new rifle into fruition. I’ll report back when I get my hands on one!
19 Nov 05
My friends in Country tell me that two, good hits will take down most insurgents when Marines are using the Black Hills 77gr 223 round. With the M855 (62gr “penetrator”), six hits are commonly required, particularly when they use the short-barreled M4
The Pentagon surely has a curious definition of “success!” The M855 works so poorly (and has since its introduction) that even an anemic improvement (two hits vs six) is considered a “miracle.” Now, we have a military rifle cartridge in general issue that is well-nigh half as good as the 308, which it replaced!
19 Nov 05
“Like you, I’ve been carrying OC for years as well as keeping it close to all entry points at the house. Recently, I ordered several pocket OC bottles to replace what I had, which was several years old. When the new ones arrived, I pulled out an old unit, just to practice spraying it.
To my enormous surprise, when I pushed the button, just little more than a drop came out, and it traveled two feet! The propellant was dead. I was forced to confront the fact that I had been carrying nothing but a talisman for the last year or so.
In any event, I’m on an annual replacement schedule now. Every Thanksgiving it will be turkey and fresh OC!”
Lesson: Test your critical gear regularly. I, for one, don’t like surprises!
19 Nov 05
More on Immigration from a friend at ICE:
“When Western Europe was busy colonizing the Third World, white Europeans were seen in every corner of the globe. When the world became bipolar at the end of WWII, movement of peoples changed direction. As you pointed out, newly-arriving immigrants were looked upon by the ruling class in Europe, as in the USA, only as a source of cheap labor and easily purchased votes, nothing more. Along came Islamic fascism, an ideology that supports neither personal responsibility, nor personal initiative, nor individual achievement,
Europe thought, in order to insure that fascism never returned, it needed socialism/Communism. Unfortunately, it exchanged one plague for another! What it really wanted was international respect, that socialism preaches but never practices, and it needed to realize that the engine of progress and prosperity is not content sheep, but a thriving, private economy which offers opportunity to all. A paternalistic government will not prevent poverty and injustice. Dynamic, private enterprise will. When given the opportunity, people who are striving to succeed don’t riot nor do they embrace a ‘let’s kill all the infidels’ ideology.
Edward R Murrow used the term, ‘Old World chronic fatigue,’ to describe Europe’s inability to shake off its cynical lethargy (a souvenir from WWI) and lack of commitment to ideals strong enough to motivate it to fight or even to take meaningful action to defend itself or it’s future. Europe won’t fight! It will allow itself to be enslaved by Islamic fascists without a shot being fired.”
Comment: What will happen with the illegal immigrant population of this country? Go to any Western Union office on any Saturday morning and see how much money is being sent out of this country. It is an enormous river of hard currency, flowing south. There is no way Mexico’s President Fox wants that river interrupted! He’ll insure that a river of illegals continues to flow north. Weak politicians in this country, seeing only cheap labor and easily-purchased votes, do nothing to stop it. One wonders how many Islamic fascists are now included among these newly-arriving illegals!
20 Nov 05
Confrontation handled well, from one of our students:
“In Atlanta on Thursday, I stopped to fill my car with gas. I had just begun to dispense fuel into the tank when, as is my habit, I glanced behind and noticed a man approaching rapidly. I was also talking, via a Blue Tooth, on my cell phone at the same time. I believe that is why I was selected for victimization. I was perceived as distracted and self-consumed.
This mugging suspect was smart. He had waited until I was boxed in by my car, the gas pump, and the fuel hose. He approached with his hands in his coat pockets. He said, ‘Give me some money,’ soft enough so as not to attract attention.
I immediately found my Kel-Tec 380 in my right, front pants pocket. I replied, “Sorry; can’t help you, Bud,” as I established solid eye contact. The guy was experienced and smart. He immediately turned to the side and said, ‘It’s cool. Be cool.’ Without another word, he tuned the rest of the way around and hurriedly exited.
When I lost sight of him, I finished fueling, got in my car, and left.”
Comment: Situational awareness and a solid, protective posture and demeanor, once again, prevented a violent crime. Most fights are over before they start. Some violent criminals are crazy, but most aren’t. They’re just opportunists looking for an easy mark. Perpetual alertness, aggressive deselection and assertive disengagement work nearly every time, but these critical skills must be constantly practiced and rehearsed, just as our gun skills are.
Good show, my friend!
20 Nov 05
Active Shooter in Tacoma, WA Mall, from a friend at the scene:
“Today’s shooting involved a twenty-year-old, Hispanic male, high on crystal meth. It was an attempted suicide-by-cop. However, during the entire incident, no police bullets were ever fired at the suspect. The suspect was armed with a CZ 9mm pistol, loaded with Remington Golden Saber ammunition. He also had a Kalashnikov clone (7.62X39, hardball ammunition) secreted in a guitar case.
He started by firing his pistol randomly down a mall corridor. He was jumped from behind by an unarmed mall patron who attempted to disarm him. In the ensuing struggle, the patron was hit four times in the torso before the suspect’s badly-rusted and poorly maintained CZ experienced a stoppage which precluded additional shooting by the suspect. The heroic patron was the only person seriously injured during the incident. All other injuries were minor, mostly caused by ricochets and people being trampled during the panicked exit of mall shoppers.
With his pistol non-operational an apparently not knowing how to fix it, the suspect abandoned it and reverted to his AK, again firing randomly. Our ‘Active-Shooter’ training really paid off! First officers to arrive did not hesitate. They organized into the diamond formation and entered the mall building straightaway, moving toward the sound of gunfire. Some officers were armed with Ruger Mini-14s. Upon seeing advancing officers, then suspect ran into a mall store and took three hostages. Officers were successful in containing the suspect and clearing the rest of the mall.
Negotiations began. At one point, the suspect fell asleep! He eventually gave up and released all hostages. He is currently in custody, uninjured. No shots were fired by police.”
Comment: As my friend indicated, “Active Shooter” training is critical for all departments, big and small. It surely worked here. The suspect was rapidly contained, and damage was minimized. SWAT teams were eventually involved, but the guys who heroically organized themselves and entered the building first were plain-vanilla patrolmen. They deserve a lot of credit. Good show, guys!
21 Nov 05
TSA Story, from a LEO friend in WA:
“Detective ________ and I flew to San Diego last week to pick up a murder suspect who was caught trying to cross the border into Mexico. Getting there was no problem, but after picking up our prisoner, we went to the airport at San Diego and met with TSA people.
We presented our credentials, including badges, letter from the chief, etc. We were then taken to the ‘by-pass’ room. The TSA guy found all our paperwork in order and then said, ‘So, will both you officers be traveling armed?’ I explained to him that only I was armed, and that Detective _______ was not, as he would be sitting next to the prisoner. ‘So, Detective _______ does not have a gun?’ was the reply. I assured him that was correct.
‘Is there a problem?’ I asked.
The TSA guy replied, ‘If he is not armed, he will have to go back through
the inspection line.’
‘But, we have all the paperwork here. He is AUTHORIZED to be armed!’
‘Yes, but since he is not armed, he has to be inspected for dangerous items.
‘But he is AUTHORIZED to carry dangerous items!”
‘But, because he’s NOT carrying anything dangerous, he has to be inspected.’
I thought about arguing further, but I suddenly remembered that I was dealing with a federal employee. Detective _______ dutifully went through the line as I, and the prisoner, waited for him on the other side.
The prisoner commented, ‘This is the stupidest thing I ever heard of!’ I nodded in agreement.”
Comment: TSA positively gets off on harassing local cops. But, the greater harm is this: Stupid “rules,” enforced by mindless, anti-intellectual, arrogant government agents, degrades respect for the entire body of law and for all government agents. In doing indefensible, senseless things as described above, TSA performs no good service.
21 Nov 05
ACOG into the sun:
“I tested a DPMS AR-15 yesterday. Rifle ran fine, but I was shooting almost directly into the setting sun. Iron sights worked fine. However, when I mounted an ACOG and attempted to continue, I discovered light spalling was sufficient to wash out the target. I could see the sighting pyramid just fine, but nothing else!”
Comment: It’s not just the ACOG. All rifle optics have an issue when shooting at a target with a strong light source close to it. Many have assured me that iron sights are obsolete. Not yet!
21 Nov 05
Info on rifle optics, from a student and operator:
“I love Aimpoints, ACOGs, and scout scopes, but there is a critical weaknesses that is shared by everything with glass, and it must be acknowledged and dealt with during realistic training. Many of us carry rifles (car guns) in vehicles. When the outside temperature drops, these rifles, and their attached optics, get cold. When one must subsequently retrieve the rifle and then enter a heated building, the optics will fog instantly, rendering them temporarily useless. Moving back into the cold will cause the fog to turn to frost.
Training under all foreseeable the environmental conditions will help eliminate painful, operational surprises!”
Comment: Once again, none of these issues are shared by iron sights. Stock weapons with iron sights rule for the quick confrontations that are most common.
23 Nov 05
Update on Tacoma, WA:
The rusty CZ, with the slide locked halfway due to a double-feed, that was found at the scene and assumed to have belonged to the suspect, as it turns out, actually belonged to the victim! The victim, the only one seriously injured in the incident, apparently attempted to shoot the suspect. His pistol only fired once, and the shot missed. The rusty, poorly-maintained CZ then double-fed, and had no further involvement. The victim was subsequently shot four times in the torso by the suspect.
The suspect himself brought a Tech-Nine clone (9mm) and a Kalashnikov clone, but, despite firing many shots, was unable to produce any further serious injuries.
Several additional lessons: The mall where the incident took place has a “no firearms” policy, which supposedly applies even to people with valid CCW permits. Of course, like all stupid, unenforceable rules, this one is universally ignored, and should be!
The victim was indeed courageous as he tried to end the shooting spree. However, carrying rusty, poorly-maintained pistols has its risks! I know nothing about his training, but he was obviously unable to hit the suspect, didn’t have a back-up pistol, and either did not try to, or was unable to, get his pistol running after it experienced a stoppage.
When you have the heart of a lion, you had better have a lion’s teeth and a lion’s acumen also!
24 Nov 05
A Thanksgiving Day Story, from a friend and student in Country:
“For the second time since I’ve been in Country, a first sergeant approached me today in the Thanksgiving-dinner chow line, put his arm around my shoulder, and stated, ‘I notice there is a magazine in your pistol, soldier. It’s not actually loaded, is it?’ I calmly informed him I’m a CID agent, that my pistol was ‘actually’ loaded, and ‘that’s just the way we do things.’
He backed off, put his palms up, and replied with the customary loser’s self-justification, ‘I don’t make the rules,’ to which I retorted, ‘You’re part of the problem, Top. We’re standing in an active combat zone, and I’m the only one in this entire room with a gun that will actually shoot!’ My reply flew over his head, of course, but it was a sad reminder of how shamefully emasculated our armed forces have become, even in an area of active fighting.
I wasn’t issued ammunition until eight days after I arrived in theater. Fortunately, per your advice, I brought my own. There is no excuse for such casual disregard for the personal safety of troops. Unfortunately, I’m not holding my breath that our commanders, or our politicians, will do anything that will push this floundering system in the right direction.”
Comment: We are fighting decades of gun-phobia, which has made its way into every corner of our civilization, even our “armed” forces, and even when they are deployed to a combat zone and actively engaged in a war!
25 Nov 05
Comments on military readiness, from a student currently assigned overseas:
“Ain’t it the truth! In an hour my shift starts. My unit guards this base’s entire ammunition supply, and we’re located in a not-especially-friendly, foreign country.
I have no guns with me now, nor do any of us where we’re not technically ‘on duty.’ Shortly, I will be issued a dirty M9 pistol, with two magazines and twenty rounds of dirty, 9mm hardball. Our orders are to carry the pistol in a flap holster, with all flaps fully secured, so drawing with one hand, or quickly even with both hands, is not possible. The weapon is to be carried with a magazine inserted, an empty chamber, and the safety ‘on’ (decocking lever down). As you might say, we’re little more than cannon fodder here!
Clearing barrels litter this facility like horse crap. Those few weapons that are carried, even by active-duty soldiers, are always unloaded and universally treated with the utmost cavalierly. I have never seen firearms so casually thrown about with such contemptuous disregard to unsafe directions in which they are incessantly pointed.
I so much miss the comradery of your class where real gunmen bear arms proudly, with true safety, honor, respect, and professionalism. It has yet to filter down here!”
Comment: I’m disheartened when I receive notes like this. The True Way has yet to shine forth at this remote outpost, and many like it. The thing I regret most is that, with all our effort, we have (obviously) accomplished so little.
26 Nov 05
Counterpoint, from a young lad in Country:
“Mr Farnam, I witnessed a negligent discharge in a mess hall over here. The culprit was, of course, the mishandling of weapons. It is not uncommon. Thus, here is the other side of the argument:
My unit deployed to Iraq on short notice, with little additional arms training. We have eighteen-year-olds walking around with 9mm pistols, who have only touched them on one previous occasion, and that was a paltry ten rounds of familiarization firing just prior to departure from CONUS, and under the tutelage of instructors who knew precious little more about the weapon than did their students!
Lack of muzzle consciousness is, by far, the biggest problem over here, and the lamentable affliction makes no distinction with regard to rank or age! Accordingly, unit commanders will not allow the carrying of loaded weapons inside camps. The rational is that there is little reason to carry loaded inside a guarded area.”
My reply: Thanks for your note, son, and I understand the hesitancy of you and your colleagues to be “hot” all the time, even if it were permitted.
“Guarded area,” huh? The fact that you’re drawing “combat pay” should be a hint to both you and your hesitant and naive commanders. When in Vietnam thirty-seven years ago, OUR “CAMPS,” SURROUNDED BY WIRE, JUST LIKE YOURS, GOT OVERRUN ALL THE TIME! With any luck, that phenomenon will not become a big part of your life over there, but it only has to happen once for a lot of hapless and unarmed men to be wretchedly massacred, because they cannot shoot.
YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN CAN BE TRAINED TO SAFELY CARRY LOADED PISTOLS ON A REGULAR BASIS. In our Marine Programs, we teach them to do it in two days! We’ve never had an ND, and our students come away as competent gun handlers, as well as fast and deadly-accurate shooters. They think of themselves as professional gunmen, and they carry hot, proudly and confidently.
The problem with the “no-gun” policy, common in CONUS, is that it creeps into our daily routine, even in areas of active fighting, where you now find yourself. Shifting gears becomes more and more indecisive and incomplete. Some are even hesitant about carrying hot OUTSIDE the wire! When will we stop being afraid of ourselves?
You better understand something about warfare, lad: Active war is going to be a continuous part of world landscape for the remainder of your lifetime. On behalf of my generation, I apologize to you and your colleagues for the hash you’ve inherited from us. With that said, you better get used to a pitilessly indifferent world, and YOU BETTER DECIDE RIGHT NOW TO BE A SERIOUS, DANGEROUS, HARMFUL HEAVY-HITTER, and that you’re going to be in a high state of readiness, all the time, no matter where you are, regardless of “rules.” I pray you make that decision while you still can!
28 Nov 05
Comments on readiness:
“I can attest to this. I have been deployed four times since 9/11. The first time was in Egypt, and we were told that we would receive ammunition upon arriving in Country. They lied! When we arrived, due to confused political protocol, no ammo was issued, even though we were informed by J-2 that we had been targeted by local terrorists. I suddenly got that ‘cannon-fodder-feeling!’ Marines down the road were a different story. Every Marine was hot and good-to-go at a moment’s notice. Their commander wasn’t worried about a ‘career-ending-faux-pas.’ He only cared about his guys. It was refreshing indeed to see his attitude! We borrowed ammunition from them, but I promised myself that I would never deploy again without my own ammunition.
I got the chance to test my theory one year later. I was commanding a detachment in Afghanistan and procured rounds for all my guys BEFORE we left CONUS. Packed in our A&B bags, we arrived in Country with weapons AND ammunition. Once off the plane, we were all carrying hot within ten minutes! We didn’t say anything, and no one asked. I’ll never be caught short again!”
From a friend in the Philippines:
“I find this puzzling. Over here, everyone on base is armed, and all personal weapons, rifles and pistols, are loaded all the time- on post, off post, in the chow line, or sitting on the toilet. NDs are unheard of.
You might find it curious that this mode of thinking was imparted to us by American trainers when your Foreign Military Assistance Program had your GIs training our troops during the Cold War. Those GIs were always packing hot pistols, and to be caught without one, or even an unloaded one, was cause for disciplinary action!
This was only two decades ago. What happened to you guys during the last twenty years?”
28 Nov 05
Comments from a master, military riflesmith on the subject of leade, sometimes called “freebore,” and its function in military rifles:
“Freebore specifications vary. Most often, it’s not the length of freebore but the angle of the throat. Most military chambers have an eighth-of-an-inch of freebore and then a slow taper into the rifling. This allows the bullet to pop out of the case quickly but then softly enter the rifling, which keeps chamber pressures from spiking, but maintains consistent bullet alignment for the sake of accuracy. The most extreme case of freebore was actually found in the old Norma Magnums. They had an entire inch of freebore. It allowed the bullet to completely exit the case mouth before engaging the rifling. Chamber pressures were low, but accuracy suffered.
Loose chambers, also found in military rifles, surely enhance functional reliability, particularly when rifles get hot and dirty. However, commercial ammunition has thin brass, compared with military counterparts. Loose chambers, combined with thin brass, can lead to case-head separations.
With regard to your JLD/PTR (H&K-91), keep the bolt head clean. Rifles with fluted chambers share the “crap-in-the-receiver” problem with AR-15s. Fluted chambers eject soot and unburned powder back into the receiver, and it accumulates on the bolt. Even when using clean ammunition, H&Ks (CETMEs and JLDs) will start choking at one thousand rounds. Bolt, chamber, and locking-roller recesses thus need cleaning every five-hundred rounds.”
Comment: Most main-stream, utility-grade, military rifles currently produced domestically work just fine. Manufacturers adjust chamber dimensions and freebore so that the rifle can safely fire just about anything that will fit into the chamber. Accuracy is acceptable, but not anal. Chamber pressures are reasonable.
A problem arises when manufacturers, catering to the anal/target crowd, produce tight-chambered rifles with no freebore. It would not be a problem if they just painted such rifles pink, so we could all tell what we were shooting! Ostensibly “military” rifles, with labels like “Match” or “Target” should thus be avoided!
30 Nov 05
On preparing for the widest possible spectrum of eventualities, from one of our Instructors who works security at an upscale nightclub:
“In July of this year, the ring finger on my right hand was badly mangled as a result of a dog bite. Fractured in several places, my entire hand was in a cast for several months. I am right handed.
I continued to work the floor of our nightclub during this time, and jealous boyfriends, mixed in with assorted drunken idiots with whom we deal regularly, cut me no slack because of my injury! For the first time, I realized why you emphasize being able to handle guns and knives with either hand! I was suddenly glad that we had practiced so many support-hand-only techniques during training. I’m still not sure I’m an expert, but I didn’t have to learn it all on the job!
It is falsely comforting to think that we can ever rely upon the all-inclusive availability of favorite weapons, favored hands, and favored tactics. This episode showed me that it is delusional to naively believe such things will always exist and be conveniently available when critically needed!
We never know what fate has planned for us, but we can pretty much count on it being a ‘come-as-you-are war.’ What we can do to prepare is to be well practiced with both hands, both eyes, all kinds of weapons (not just our ‘favorite’ ones), in all kinds of lighting, footing, temperatures, and states of exhaustion. To spend all our training time practicing only those things at which we’re already adept, is to kid ourselves, dangerously. Ask me how I know this!”
Comment: Critical skills, such as one-handed shooting, reloading, and gun handling, that are, by their nature, awkward and clumsy, are important and need to be learned and drilled regularly. The purpose of training is not to make us look good. Indeed, when you “look good” during training, it means you’re not challenging yourself adequately!
As Attila the Hun put it, “When victory is always easily gained, you are simply striving toward the insignificant.”
30 Nov 05
Sage Comments form friend and colleague, Mas Ayoob:
“Tell your bouncer buddy that next time, he should ask the doc to dye the cast ‘tactical black’ and install some chrome knuckle studs facing outward. Better to be feared than mocked (at least in the bar at closing time)…”
Comment: Mas’ depth of knowledge constantly amazes me. You rule, Mas!