4 Sept 00

This from a friend who does a lot of rifle training (AR-15) within his department:

“The only aluminum magazines that failed during our class were those manufactured by Cooper. Sanchez magazines should also be avoided. All steel magazines we have seen are garbage. We have had the best luck with Colt and Adventure Line (bought out by Parsons) magazines.

All our officer are drilled heavily on positively locking magazine in the magazine well and then PULLING down on them to ensure they are locked in place.

On another subject:

In a recent police standoff in Illinois, the suspect was armed with a twelve-gauge shotgun loaded with sabot/copper slugs. The shotgun was tested afterwards against our level IIIA body bunker. It easily penetrated!”



9 Sept 00

A friend in the NJ State Police has reported that he has handled a S&W P99 WITH NO DECOCKING BUTTON and was told that this would be the new NJSP sidearm. The trigger worked just like a that of a revolver, except that it could still be “staged.” This took place a week ago.

S&W has apparently now made a self-decocking version of the P99.



11 Sept 00

From a friend in the training business on “point” shooting:

“We tried the ‘two shots/three assailants in the corner’ drill with movement. A total of five excellent shooters participated. We all did poorly. My criteria was a center hit on a nine-inch pie plate. We got some hits, but we were not consistent. We shot very fast and while moving. Some of us thought we indexed properly on our front sight, but the lack of hits bore mute testimony to our self deception. In the end, I asked, ‘Who here now believes in point shooting?’ No one did.”


“Point” shooting and arguments for it surface every few years and always garner a temporary following among the naive, until they all discover they can’t hit anything! I have had many professing point shooters as students, and none of them were ever able to produce consistent hits. They would, of course, call our attention to their occasional success, but they always remind me of the slot-machine player who wants to talk endlessly about his occasional payoff, but never wants to talk about all the money he puts into the machine without result. Self deception is an unmistakable mark of a grasseater.



11 Sept 00

From a friend with a large PD on “frangible,” practice ammunition:

“We use lead-free, frangible pistol ammunition exclusively in our indoor and outdoor ranges, but that practice may have to change, as we are having all kinds of problems:

The composition bullet sometimes breaks when the round feeds, usually fracturing level with the crimp. In some instances we find the broken tip of the bullet when the shooter performs the stoppage drill. In some instances it comes out of the barrel when the shooter fires the succeeding round. This has not damaged a gun or injured a shooter so far, but we are concerned about the phenomenon.

We also found that some casings are poorly crimped. Upon feeding, bullet setback is common. Again, we are concerned about blown-up pistols, though this has not occurred yet.

Primer failure is also common. I believe this plagues all no-lead primers.

The failure rate as described above was significant enough to make us cancel the contract. We’re now looking of another vendor, but, based on my experience, I don’t think frangible, no-lead practice ammunition from any source is ever going to be satisfactory.”



13 Sept 00

More on NJSP:

“It is confirmed that the NJSP is getting a self-decocking version of the S&W P99 pistol to replace their aging fleet of H&K P7s.

The elimination of manual decocking was not S&W’s idea but was insisted upon by the NJSP. It is an eerie replay of the ill-fated 1076 which S&W offered to the FBI but was required to make a number of critical changes before it would be accepted, changes including a frame-mounted, single-stage decocking lever. That project was, of course, a disaster, and most of the 1076s produced and delivered were never issued. The FBI now issues new agents Glock 23s.

Unhappily, even this new version of the P99 permits ‘staging’ of the trigger. That is, one can press the trigger to the rear where it will stay in the rear position making it subsequently easier to press the trigger the rest of the way when firing is required. When troopers attempt to do this, the NJSP will, of course, experience a rash of ADs.

The response will be, naturally, to design a ‘Glock New York Trigger’ device in an effort to make the trigger pull heavier, but Troopers will continue to stage the trigger so long a the gun itself permits it .”



5 Sept 00

A discussion with the local Glock guy (who is also a good friend) revealed:

The Europeans are positively amazed that American police officers shoot so much! European police officers typically shoot ten rounds, once per year. In fact, Glock regards American police departments, particularly suburban ones who have large ammunition budgets, as vehicles for torture testing of their pistols. In Europe, a service pistol wouldn’t see five thousand rounds through it in a lifetime. In America, they typically see that many in a single year.

SIG aggressively competes with Glock for American police business. However, Beretta has all but thrown in the towel. H&K markets their USP (which is an excellent pistol), but their notoriously poor parts availability keeps them from becoming a serious contender. S&W is currently “confused.”



18 Sept 00

From a friend who just returned from an unsuccessful bear hunting expedition in Maine:

“Three weeks before the hunting trip I had a gunsmith install an Aimpoint red dot on my bolt-action rifle. Unhappily, I didn’t have a chance to actually fire the rifle before leaving for the hunt.

I saw a bear. Shouldered the rifle, and, to my astonishment, I saw the bear through the scope, but there was no red dot! In a panic, I moved my head around trying to find the dot. Too late! The bear headed south, and I never saw him again.

I finally did find the dot, but there was no longer anything to shoot at. I went home empty handed. I never thought a consistent cheek weld could be so important”

Lesson: There is no substitute for a dress rehearsal! Leave that step out at your peril.



18 Sept 00

Latest from the NJSP:

“Our State Senator who approved the funds for our new pistol is wondering why a 9mm was selected. He had been “told” (read that: “lied to”- like the rest of us) that we would be getting something chambered for 40S&W.

He has now scheduled hearings! The story continues…”



19 Sept 00

Two products:

I’ve had a chance to work with the Kahr P9 (plastic frame) and the Robinson Rifle. Both are first rate!

The Kahr P9 is the best pistol Kahr has made. All-steel Kahrs are small and reliable but heavy. The P9 is small, reliable and light! When carried in an Elderton IWB holster, one hardly knows he has it on. Good show from Kahr!

Robinson Arms of Salt Lake City is making a current iteration of the Stoner Rifle, and it is wonderful! I’ve had a copy of the Jungle version for several weeks now, and I can’t get it to malfunction. It’s slightly heavier than an M-16, but takes M-16 magazines just fine. Highly recommended as a travel/defensive rifle.



20 Sept 00

Saladin and Richard:

Grace and class, combined with ruthlessness, characterized Salah ad-din Yusuf ibn-Ayyub. His people knew him as Al Nasir (“The Victorious”). European Crusaders knew him simply as “Saladin.” Saladin was one of the few Muslim leaders to survive an attack by the Secret Society of Hashish (“The Assassins”). Most targets of Assassins were not so lucky!

Since 638AD, Jerusalem and the balance of the Holy Land had been in the hands of the Muslims. In July of 1099, amid wanton slaughter, knights of the First Crusade recaptured Jerusalem, casually putting to death untold numbers of local Muslims and Jews alike.

Many Crusaders subsequently settled in the Holy Land and eventually made up a number of local states, collectively known as “Outremer.” They were periodically reinforced by additional Crusaders. For the succeeding two hundred years, Christians and Muslims would fight over the Holy Land. It was not until 1300AD that Muslims finally drove out the last of the Crusaders.

When Saladin Retook Jerusalem on 2 Oct 1187AD, there was no massacre and no looting (in stark contrast to the Christian Crusaders one hundred years earlier). He even declined to destroy the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and, in fact, magnanimously made it immediately accessible to Christian pilgrims.

King Richard I (“The Lionhearted”) of England was Saladin’s chief opponent during the Crusades. Contrary to popular myth, the two never met in person, however, during the course of many battles, they did establish a great respect and even a grudging admiration for each other. Richard was bold, but impulsive. Saladin was clever, but hesitant. In the end, they fought each other to a standstill.

During Saladin’s siege of the coast city of Jaffa in August of 1192AD, King Richard rode out on a dilapidated horse to challenge the enemy personally. It was Richard’s habit to lead from the front. Badly battered as a result of repeated unsuccessful charges, Saladin’s and his army declined Richard’s brazen challenge, however Saladin himself, seeing the sorry condition of Richard’s mount sent him a beautiful horse with a message stating, “It is not proper that such a great king as yourself should be seen on so wretched a mount!” Richard graciously exchanged the new horse for his old one and then rode back to his own lines. When Richard subsequently become ill, Saladin sent him fresh fruit as well as snow from Mt Hermon to cool his beverages.

In October of 1192, Richard returned to England, never to see the Middle East again. A year later, at the age of fifty-five, Saladin died, probably from malaria. One hundred years later, the era of the Crusades would finally be over.

Lesson: Great warriors are remembered as much for their decency, grace, and elegance as they are for their courage and skill in battle, perhaps more so.



25 Sept 00

From a LEO friend in South Africa:

“We just had another shooting incident Friday, involving two of our officers:

The two officers had the bad habit of frequenting the same shop every day (at the same time) for lunch. Friday, they were there once again for lunch when an unconfirmed number of men walked in. Both officers were sitting with their backs to the entrance.

Without hesitation, one of the men walked up behind the first officer and shot him in the back of the head. After penetrating the skull, the round (9mm hardball) was deflected by the jaw and stopped just under the officer’s left eye.

When the second officer turned around, the assailant attempted to shoot him also, but the hammer on his pistol fell without the gun discharging. Astonished, the bad guy turned and fled, along with his accomplices. The second officer (armed with our standard-issue CZ-75, loaded with PMP 115g hardball) was unhurt but did not fire any rounds.

The perpetrators made a clean getaway and no arrests have been made.

The first officer is in intensive care and has lost his eye. He will undoubtedly suffer permeant disability, along with permanent disfigurement.

I am once again in bad graces with our management, as I stood up and told them (before the incident) that advertising the fact in the local press that we have recently issued soft body armor to our officers was foolish and would lead to our officers being shot in the head. We didn’t have long to wait!”


>We must be thinking about fighting all the time. When violence comes, it is almost without warning, and we must quickly cut through the inevitable denial and explode into action without delay if we expect to be victorious. A perceived state of “safety” will lull us into complacency if we allow it.

>The only one in a position to save you, and the only one who has any real interest in saving you, is you. You’re on your own. We must never allow ourselves to believe help is going to arrive just in the nick of time. That only happens in movies.

>Don’t delude yourself into believing that you are too insignificant to become a target

>Don’t move according to predictable patterns

>Don’t sit with your back to the door!



29 Sept 00

From a friend on the East Coast:

“The suspect was proned out on the ground during the arrest process. The officer had a SIG P229 .40 pistol in one hand (pistol in double-action mode, not cocked), with his finger on the trigger, a radio in his other hand, and his foot on the suspect’s back. At some point, the suspect moved, and the officer discharged his pistol, according to the officer, unintentionally.

Apparently, it takes a long time for the teaching on (1) involuntary muscular contraction (“IMC”) causing accidental discharge, (2) the proper way to cover a suspect at gunpoint, and (3) better arrest procedures, to reach the officers on the street in some parts of the country.

Clearly, IMC causing unintentional shots is not limited to single-action weapons. There are other cases of it occurring with uncocked SIG pistols (one in Arizona comes to mind), double-action Berettas (Las Vegas Metro PD), double-action revolvers (instances too numerous to mention), Glocks of all trigger pull weights, H&K P7M8 pistols, Remington and S&W (and probably all other) pump shotguns, Ruger Minil-14’s, submachine guns, etc., etc.

The rigors and realities of covering suspects demand that the finger be kept outside the trigger guard unless and until you have actually decided to fire. (Universal Cover Mode: High Ready position with finger outside the trigger guard.)

This is the same as Rule 3 of the Four Cardinal Rules of Firearms Safety:

3. Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are on target and have decided to fire.

Some modify the above rule to read “have actually decided to fire,” but it amounts to the same thing. Phoenix PD and some others state and use the rule as “Keep your finger outside the trigger guard and straight along the frame …,” thus not only telling the shooter what he should not do, but telling him what he should do as well.

In case anyone mistakenly believes that keeping the trigger warm with their finger gives them some kind of tactical advantage in the event the suspect decides to resist, they need to see an “action beats reaction” demonstration to disabuse them of their fantasy. Cover, distance, positioning (both of suspect and officer), lighting, movement, backup, body armor, control tactics, alertness, and mindset can all provide very significant advantages to the officer covering a suspect at gunpoint. But keeping one’s finger on the trigger does virtually nothing to improve officer safety, and is simply a disaster primed to occur.

Anyone wanting a detailed discussion of involuntary muscular contraction should get the IALEFI publication, Standards & Practices Guide for Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI, Gilford, NH. 1995), and start by looking on pages 269-272 under the heading, “involuntary muscular contraction” and related entries cited therein. This entry provides numerous other reference sources for anyone interested. IALEFI’s phone number is 603-524-8787. Every instructor of defensive firearms skills should be a member of IALEFI.

Maybe this message will help even one reader avoid a tragedy in which someone else’s life and his own are both destroyed with a single twitch of the finger. In case some readers don’t know it, otherwise sterling police officers and homeowners can get convicted of manslaughter (or murder) for this stuff, or can lose their homes, businesses and life savings in civil suits. Let’s keep getting the word out! Keep your finger the hell off the trigger until you have actually decided to fire – then put your finger there, and don’t miss!”



29 Sept 00

From a friend in the Federal System:

“On the inside door of our FBI van, we have a decal (produced
and issued by LAPD) admonishing the troops to LUBRICATE OR DIE!”

Words to live by!

I’ve been recently using Militec. It a dry lubrication that stays where you put it. Great stuff!



30 Sept 00

I just completed a Shotgun Instructor’s Program for a group of LEOs in upstate NY. One of my students is from the State DOC (Dept of Corrections). He is responsible for the training of over two thousand, armed prison guards throughout the prison system. They house 70,000 inmates in the state system alone!

In any event, they all use revolvers (S&W M10), and the system has no plans to convert to autoloaders! This is one of the few large agencies that still uses revolvers. Everyone else had a Glock, with the exception of one Beretta 92F.



30 Sept 00

In 1967 I was in OCS at Quantico, VA, along with thousands of other bright-eyed college graduates, learning how to be Marine infantry officers and contemplating the inevitability of being shipped to “WestPac” (Western Pacific) , which meant Vietnam and heavy fighting. I remember hearing stories of glorious victories achieved a generation earlier at places like Tarawa and Iwo Jima.

What we weren’t told is that, at Tarawa, for example, incompetent generals and admirals miscalculated the height of the tide. This inexcusable blunder forced the Higgins boats carrying Marines ashore to deposit their cargo hundreds of yards from the beach, compelling Marines to wade in neck-deep water, all the time being fired at by Japanese riflemen and machine gunners. Fewer than half of those thus embarked ever made it ashore.

When I was in Vietnam, I saw similar blunders, albeit on a lesser scale, being committed every day, by commanders who should have known better. The result was a continuous and pointless loss of life and many form letters which had to be sent to grieving parents and wives. It was difficult indeed to tell a bereaved relative back in the States that their son died for no good reason at all, just another casualty of casual stupidity and indifference. The list included virtually all of my friends.

It is no wonder that we who survived were all so bitter when we returned. Bitter to this day. I have to believe it’s been the same in all great conflicts.

Lesson: There is a curious principle that guides all historical revisionists, that is to say, all those who write about “important” battles and “important” wars: THE LONGER THE CASUALTY LISTS, THE GREATER THE INVESTMENT IN BLOOD, THE GREATER THE NEED TO JUSTIFY ALL THE BLUNDERS THAT BROUGHT THE EVENT ABOUT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Thus, the endless platitudes surrounding the botched landing at Tarawa, the pointless slaughter at the Somme, and the doomed landing at Dieppe, to name just three. The list of inept command decisions leading to needless and appalling causalities is endless, while, for example, nothing is ever said of MacArthur’s brilliant outfoxing of the Japanese at Ulithi (a superb natural harbor), which he captured without a shot being fired and which actually made a significant contribution to the shortening of the Pacific Campaign in WWII. Nothing is said, because the casualty list was short.

None of this is of much consolation to those who must do the dying, which eventually includes, of course, all of us.