1 Sept 08
SIG 556 “Classic”
Friends at SIG tell me their existing 556 rifle, of which I have a copy, will be upgraded over the next few months to what amounts to the original 550/551 (with its wonderful iron sights and equally wonderful folding-stock) that accepts M-16 magazines. This is a great move on SIG’s part, and I hope to be able to handle a copy at the 2009 SHOT show. This new version will be dubbed the “Classic” 556.
As I’ve diplomatically pointed out, iron sights on the current 556 are a joke, which is not problem, as the full-length rail permits me to replace them with LaRue’s sights, that I have on most of the rest of my rifles. The 556’s ambidextrous, manual safety is also easily corrected.
I still like my current copy of the 556, as I’ve indicated. With a few modifications, as noted in above, it is a purposeful, serious rifle, and I intend to hang onto it. But, the “Classic” version will be even better!
1 Sept 08
Serving two masters? This from a friend and instructor in PA:
“I attended Practical Rifle Match last weekend. It was well put-together, with reasonable challenges between twenty and three-hundred meters. Movement over rocky terrain was involved, and various demanding shooting emplacements added to the requirement for exigent problem-solving acumen on the part of all.
Shooters showed up mostly with AR-15s, but Kalashnikovs were also well represented, along with FALs, Garands, M1-As, XCRs, and even M1 Carbines. Lots of Aimpoints, EOTechs, and iron-sights. Some rifles were equipped with ill-chosen, bulky, high-magnification scopes, which were, without fail, precariously mounted. Nearly all came loose, and some even fell off! In this forum, they were all but useless anyway, as their owners discovered, to their chagrin.
I saw two classes of participants. (1) Gamesmen, and (2) Operators.
I am an Operator, but I was squadded with a group of the first category. They were mostly capable marksmen, but high-strung and paranoid! Their weapons were all tight, temperamental, impractical, prima-donnas! I witnessed one stoppage after another, including numerous auto-ejecting magazines. Several, in order to gain some imaginary advantage, were using forty-round magazines, which made shooting from prone all but impossible. These were the same people whose rifles were equipped with high-magnification optics mentioned above.
From the beginning, and to a man, they whined and sniveled incessantly over scoring and rules, to the point of extreme annoyance. They made progressively distasteful company.
I was there to exercise my serious rifle skills and learn new things from other shooters. My “score” was of only casual/pedantic interest. Conversely, gamesmen in my group cared about their individual scores (in excruciating detail), and absolutely nothing else!
We were all there for our own reasons, I suppose, but the experience reinforced in my mind the impregnable divide between Operators and gamesman, between people who have weapons, and those who have toys!”
Comment: I know this is a touchy subject, but my friend nailed it! I know few people who can serve two masters and do justice to both, and I wish they wouldn’t try! I know I can’t.
“Choose your seat, and sit down!”
6 Sept 08
Lessons from our Warrior ancestors:
“For the uncontrolled, there is no wisdom,
nor for the uncontrolled is there the power of concentration, and
for him without concentration,
there can be no peace; and,
for the unpeaceful,
how can there be happiness?”
– Bhagvad Gita
In Japanese, the word “do” means “the Way.” Budo is thus “the Way of the Warrior.” It embraces attitudes, beliefs, character, and the heart of what we call an “Operator,” and it was acutely necessary in feudal Japan, where life was a strenuous challenge and, for the unprepared, ended abruptly! In the intervening twelve-hundred years, the world has changed a good deal less than the naive among us have deluded themselves into believing!
Risk is inherent to all human activity. Oh, how we try to factor out all the unknowns before making decisions! But, in the end, we are compelled to confront the fact that nothing, not even tomorrow, is guaranteed. The essence of life is not to avoid risk, but rather to maximize opportunity. And, where do the richest opportunities lie? Exactly where risks are greatest! Who vainly pursue the “illusion of safety,” squander their lives.
While the mind dithers, the body dawdles. We die in the gaps!
Don’t keep asking, “Why?” Instead, say, “Why not?” Go forward boldly, never looking back!
The fields of history are littered
with the silent bones of those who,
at the dawn of victory,
paused to rest,
– Hwrang Do aphorism
7 Sept 08
Ancient guidance during a modern election year:
Confucius (551 – 479 BC) attempts to define “Goodness.” He says that, to be good, one must be (1) courageous, (2) audacious, (3) simple, and (4) slow in speech.
“Gang” (brave) is “to be unshaken by fear.” “Yi” (firm) is to be “determined and daring.” “Mu” is to be “simple.” “Na” is to be “restrained in speech.” To be possessed of these four qualities is to approach True Goodness.
Admonitions to be “restrained in speech” are found throughout the teachings of Confucius. He repeatedly cautions us not to mistake cleverness for substance. “Artful words, and a pleasing countenance, have little connection with True Goodness,” says he.
Restraint in speech indicates self-restraint, which, in turn, indicates one’s mind and heart, endowed with True Goodness, have not been overwhelmed by selfish ambition. Nimble, clever words and phrases are evidence of “adorning oneself” in an effort to impress, rather than enlighten.
8 Sept 08
Relative preparedness, from and colleague in the Midwest:
“This is a ‘first’ for me:
As is my habit, and yours, I started last week’s Intermediate Defensive Pistol Class with a dry-fire drill. I commanded students to report to the line, face downrange, and unload.
One student interrupted me and said his pistol was loaded. I replied that I expected all pistols to be loaded, and that we would thus all unload at once. He emphatically responded with, ‘You don’t understand! There’s a round in the chamber.’ ‘Yes, that is perfectly normal,’ said I. ‘We’ll now unload them all before we run this exercise.’
By now, he was panicked, as we obviously were not communicating. He nervously swept his cover-garment back, only to expose an empty holster! He, and I, were baffled, as was the rest of the Class.
Suddenly changing subjects, he asked he if he could borrow a gun! I asked if his pistol was in his range bag, or in his car. He then started to tell a convoluted story about earlier in the day when he went to the… , and his voice trailed off.
I asked the rest of the Class to take a break, as I took this student off to the side. I indicated to him that, although he had passed our Basic Program some weeks earlier, today was not a good day for him to have any kind of gun and that he needed to go home and get his wits together.
He departed, and we haven’t seen him since!
It’s a free Country, and no one is required to demonstrate that he is a non-idiot before buying a car, a gun, or becoming a parent! We all have bad days, but there are some people who need to either (1) get serious about life and personal goals or (2) voluntarily pass on at least the last two!”
Comment: “Somewhere, a True Believer is preparing to murder you. It’s nothing personal. He just fervently believes that you, and your entire Civilization, for the ultimate good of all humankind, need to be exterminated!
He is making do with minimal food, water, supplies, facilities, and sympathy. He has learned to depend upon nothing and no one, except himself. To his superiors, he is expendable. He trains day and night. He lives in filth and has lost count of his scars and brushes with death. The only clean things on him are his weapons, and he manufactured his own web gear. He doesn’t obsess over cardiovascular health, body fat, blood-pressure, carbohydrates, nor what workout is best. He is thankful to have anything to eat! His gear weighs what it weighs, and his runs ‘end’ only when his enemies stop chasing him. This True Believer has scant concern with pain and discomfort, neither his nor anyone else’s.
Brutalized from infancy, he has become brutal himself, and he knows with each encounter, he either wins, or dies, and, either way, nobody cares, nor ever will. He expects no mercy, nor will he have any. He doesn’t plan on living to old age, and he doesn’t go home at 1700.
He is home!”
He lives his “…ism.”
9 Sept 08
A friend and colleague sends this about forward progress:
“‘Why?’ is known as the ‘park-gear of the mind.’ When maintaining status-quo is the goal, one always asks ‘Why?’ This is because asking that question does three things:
(1) It focuses on history. One does not ask ‘why’ about events that have not yet occurred, so the question itself presupposes a reference to the past.
(2) It’s exclusively analytical. It focuses on the contribution of many small components. It thus smothers forward momentum and submerges everyone in the ‘paralysis-of-analysis’
(3) It promotes blaming, rationalizing, and cover-up.
Conversely, when one wants to get things done, he asks ‘Why not?’
Just as ‘Why?’ always looks backwards, ‘Why not?’ inexorably infers that we’re talking about the future. It engages imagination, opens expanded contexts and possibilities, and motivates us to maintain forward momentum toward new and exciting possibilities.
‘Why not?’ also causes blaming and ass-covering to dissolve into irrelevance!”
… and, after all is said and done, this reminder from Harry Truman:
“It doesn’t matter how big a ranch ya’ own, nor how many cows ya’ brand. The size of your funeral is still gonna depend mostly on the weather.”
9 Sept 08
Seattle cops indicted in SD biker-bar shooting incident:
Friends in Sturgis, SD tell me that their grand jury last week indicted, for aggravated assault, a City of Seattle, WA police officer in the wake of a shooting incident in a local biker-bar during Sturgis’ annual Bike Week last month. Several other SPD officers in the same group have also been indicted on lesser charges, mostly for carrying concealed guns while drinking in a drinking establishment. Members of the Hell’s Angels contingent who were involved in the same incident have also been indicted, also for aggravated assault, and at least one for illegally carrying a concealed gun.
The grand jury has obviously said: “Enough is enough! When you come to our Town (1) carrying guns and (2) obviously looking for trouble, don’t be astonished when you find it, more than you ever wanted, and we don’t care whom you are nor where you’re from!”
The fight in question erupted in a notorious biker-bar in Sturgis during the equally-notorious “Bike-Week.” Members of various biker groups, all displaying “colors,” descend in droves upon Sturgis once a year for the one-week event. Local biker-bars, all but deserted the rest of the year, have standing-room-only during bike-week!
Wounds received by the Hell’s Angel member who was shot were serious, but not fatal. Gun involved was a G22. Two shots were fired. Both hit. Brand of ammunition was not reported. No one else was hurt by gunfire.
It is unclear who “started it,” but the SPD officer who shot the Hell’s Angels member, at the moment of the shooting, was getting the worst of a physical fight. In fact, many consider the shooting to be legitimate self-defense, and, had it taken place anywhere but a rowdy bar, late at night, and among a bunch of people who had been drinking, the grand jury likely would have seen it that way.
There will be criminal trials, and, of course, and the outcomes are anyone’s guess, but this grand jury has apparently decided to put its foot down, hard! I’m not sure these indictments represent a “trend,” those of us who carry concealed, and regularly travel out-of-state, need to take note!
Most otherwise perfectly-respectable franchises, like Outback, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Ruth Chris, Texas Road House, et al have bars and serve liquor, and, when traveling around the Country, I patronize all of them on a regular basis for the purpose of partaking of a nice dinner. I don’t sit at the bar, and I don’t drink, but I often find myself in a place that serves liquor, while I’m carrying a concealed pistol (usually several), an act which may or may not technically violate some local ordinance or state law, all of which may or may not be locally enforced. I usually don’t know, nor is there any real way of knowing.
Sometimes, I’ll elect to eat in a restaurant without a bar, like Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans, when convenient, and that, of course, solves the problem. But, while both serve wonderful breakfasts, you won’t find a good steak at either, and sometimes, after a long day of flying or driving, I’m in the mood for a good steak!
Laws, and local police agendas, with regard to concealed carry vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, sometimes from season to season, particularly on the subject of carrying in bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages. In addition, many such laws and ordinances are so confusingly written as to be indecipherable! Enforcement is sporadic and arbitrary. Look at all the “charts” you want. They’re mostly irrelevant, and all out of date!
(1) Don’t go to bars, particularly raucous ones that don’t serve food, and most particularly when patrons are displaying “colors!” Don’t tarry in bar parking-lots, nor, for that matter, in any parking lot. When in otherwise-respectable restaurants that serve liquor, don’t sit at the bar.
(2) Stay out of the ‘bad-part-of-town.” Stay out of the entire town during events like Bike-Week! There is little to be gained from attending such inherently seedy, frowzy, dangerous events and gatherings. Unless you really fit in with that crowd, it’s a pretty stupid place to go!
(3) When carrying, you can’t drink, not anywhere, not any amount, not even “a little!” An otherwise clear case of self-defense will rapidly dissolve into a muddled can of worms when it is subsequently revealed that you had been drinking prior to the incident. When you’ve been drinking, don’t expect “understanding” from any jury!
(4) When traveling out of town, be always polite and congenial, but maintain a low profile and keep to yourself. Don’t engage in animated conversations with people you don’t know. Even an offhand and harmless remark about something as seemingly unimportant as a sporting event can precipitate grossly disproportionate, sometimes violent, reactions on the part of otherwise “normal” people!
(5) Don’t stay out late! Eat dinner early and get to bed early. Most violent events take place at night. Few happen during daylight hours.
(6) Dress so as to be “invisible.” Avoid bright colors, stark contrasts, glittering jewelry,
expensive watches, and particularly logo-patches and T-shirts with a “message.” Dress conservatively. Be “gray!”
(7) Assure that your gun(s) stay discretely concealed. Don’t talk about guns, yours or anyone else’s.
(8) Stay alert! When you see “trouble-in-the-making,” get up and depart without delay, no matter where you are, whom you’re with, and even when it seems you’re the only one who noticed. Get out of there before it gets any worse!
(9) When people you don’t know approach and attempt to engage you in a conversation, politely dismiss them! When communicating with restaurant hostesses and servers, one to three-syllable commands and responses are all that are usually necessary. All others should hear something like, “I’m sorry sir. I can’t help you,” or words to that effect.
10 Sept 08
“When you walk, just walk. When you sit, just sit. But, whatever you do, don’t wobble!”
All so-called “self-concepts” are illusions. They don’t really exist. They are just contrived limits you put on yourself. To add insult to injury, you then endow them with license to influence your life. You may expand and improve self-concepts, but a superior solution is to simply revoke their license, watch them subsequently evaporate into space, and then operate without them! “Safety” provided by this or that self-concept is delusory. In fact, “security” itself is merely a term we’ve manufactured for the purpose of describing a non-existent phenomenon!
Our spiritual antecedents called it “mushin,” or “no-mindedness.” It simply means operating without self-imposed limits and self-manufactured speed-bumps. It means dismissing “I am,” “I am not, “I don’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t, mustn’t, could never, etc.” The mushin mind unfearingly confronts the challenge at hand, not worrying about the horizon. When in mushin-mode, the mind flows, always forward, never hesitating nor stumbling, audaciously observing no limits nor barriers.
The opposite is “ushin,” or self-consciousness. The ushin mind spends its time saying, “What wonderful thing will happen when I win?” or, “What terrible thing will happen when I lose?” The ushin person worries about results and forgets about confronting the challenge before it. When in ushin-mode, the mind is apprehensive, timid, fearful. It constantly missteps, pauses, and over-corrects, converting each trivial speed-bump into Mt Everest! The ushin person is thus ever-bewildered, unfocused, afraid, confined. He flounders forward, charging first this windmill, then that. He goes down to defeat with monotonous regularity!
I have noticed some aspiring Operators, whom I know to be competent, shoot like blundering amateurs as soon as a prize is involved. They are beguiled into thinking about the prize, to the exclusion of the path before them. The prize imposes a rigid matrix into which they believe they must fit themselves. They thus become progressively unfocused, confused, befuddled. Their mind is disarticulated, spread out over too many irrelevant places. Victory is out of the question!
Conversely, mature Operators think about neither winning nor losing. They don’t think about anything! With icy determination, they dash forward joyfully, firm in the knowledge that the Almighty must have great confidence in them to honor them with such a magnificent challenge. They become a seamless, flawless, unconfined whirlwind of motion, effortlessly flowing from one subroutine to another, unstoppable, unbeatable. They seldom miss!
“The mind of a perfect man is like a mirror. It grasps nothing. It expects nothing. It reflects, but does not hold. Thus, the perfect man can act without effort.”
11 Sept 08
Crowd-control tips from my friend in TX who is head-bouncer at a big Club:
“We had yet another ‘incident’ at the Club last Saturday night and early Sunday morning. It is truly said: ‘Nothing good happens after midnight!’
Shortly after midnight, a group of fifteen men, all attending a bachelor party, became loud and acrimonious. Four of them climbed up on one of our stages during a performance, started ‘dancing,’ and refused to leave. They were approached by one of my floor-men and politely asked to come down off the stage and sit back down at their table. To a man, they loudly declined, which resulted in my uniformed people, and me, being summoned.
My security personnel took physical control of these four problem-children and began to move them toward the lobby and ultimately out of the building. The balance of the bachelor party simultaneously got up from their table and followed closely behind, shouting threats and pressing forward. Verbal commands from me kept them at bay until we reached the doors, when it became obvious that we were about to unceremoniously jettison the four miscreants. We were then precipitously attacked by the entire party!
None of them were armed, but fists were flying, along with plenty of insults and spittle! My Panther ERD (Electronic Restraint Device) effectively moved people back and gave me the room I needed to communicate with my people, using hand signals. However, ‘bargain’ ERDs, used by my uniformed folks, were second-rate and underpowered. I observed them to have scant effect on aggravated combatants. They’re just not sufficiently scary! My Panther unit is loud, and it stings, with authority. It immediately garners the undivided attention of even the biggest, most agitated aggressor! By contrast, wimpy units are worthless! They fail to get anyone’s attention. We confirmed that, in spades! Had we all been equipped with Panthers, I’m confident the entire matter would have been promptly extinguished, and all participants brought under control, much sooner.
We gradually got the last of the combatants out the door. Sheriff’s officers arrived just as the offending party was departing in their limo. The limo was stopped, and all were arrested. They were charged with criminal mischief and assault. Our local SO has extremely low tolerance for such things. For these rowdys, it turned into an expensive evening!
Tasers would not be helpful in our situation, since we don’t arrest people. In fact, the last thing we want is someone horizontal, paralyzed, and immobile lying on the floor! We need a way to quickly move people toward the door, who are not otherwise inclined to do so. We need to be able to separate combatants, get people’s attention, and instantly create distance between us and them. For that task, high-powered, contact ERDs, like the Panther, are absolutely indispensable!
In the wake of this incident, management has ‘suddenly’ become interested in new equipment and a written, Security Policy Manual. I am now in process of updating the one I submitted months ago, but, at that time, was told wasn’t needed!”
Comment: There is no substitute for having the right tools, and training, for the job! Poor tools, combined with poor training, predictably yield poor results. African hunter and adventurer, Bob Ruark, many years ago, reminded us, “Use enough gun!” He knew of what he spoke!
Indeed, “Nothing ‘good’ happens after midnight.” You can bet on it! For those of us who enjoy an occasional sampling of night-life, remember what happened to Cinderella! Depart for home before the “after-midnight crowd” arrives. Security folks refer to them as “creepy-crawlers,” and for good reason!
15 Sept 08
Don’t think you need to carry a flashlight? This from a student who attended an Urban Rifle/Shotgun Course with us last weekend, when the remnants of Hurricane Ike knocked out power to most in eastern OH. He is an LEO with a suburban Columbus, OH PD:
“Glad we all survived the ‘Great Ohio Windstorm of 2008!’
When I arrived home after the Course, I was tired, dirty and hungry. Our power was out due to the storm, as was the case in most of the metro area. I decided to go out to eat. After showering by lamplight, I dressed, strapped on my G19, spare magazine, and a Surefire E2E.
I found a Damon’s Rib Joint that still had power. The place, as expected, was jammed, but I found a seat at the bar, in a corner. I inhaled my dinner and was relaxing afterward, for the first time that day, and the power in the restaurant suddenly went out! As is the case with most franchises, the restaurant had no windows, so it was instantly pitch-black inside. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face! Two ‘emergency-lights’ kicked on (I’m sure the minimum required by law), but they were useless, providing a level of light so low as to be irrelevant.
Restaurant patrons panicked immediately! Many began screaming and scurrying about aimlessly, like the rats leaving the sinking ship. I stayed in my seat, watched the panic develop, and lit up my Surefire. I then flashed my tin at the bartender and assured her that I would stay until the crowd left. She breathed a sigh of relief, collected what cash was left on the bar, and was grateful for the light and company.
Nothing bad happened. Everyone eventually got out the door. I was the last to leave.
I was the only person there with any kind of flashlight! Even the bartender didn’t have one. In fact, several people even asked me if I was a police officer. I assured them that it is perfectly legal, even for non-police, to carry flashlights!”
Comment: Being suddenly, unexpectedly plunged into darkness is an eventuality that, once experienced, will never be forgotten! Only the foolishly unprepared walk around without a flashlight!
15 Sept 08
EOTech issue w/polarized sunglasses!
A student at an Urban Rifle/Shotgun Course in OH last weekend came to us with an EOTech-equipped M4. He and the rifle performed satisfactorily until we started movement/cover exercises, where he was compelled to move quickly into awkward shooting positions and engage targets at various ranges.
I suddenly heard him say, “My sight has gone blank!” Not knowing what he meant, but thinking the batteries may have gone dead, I looked over his rifle and through the EOTech. The reticle appeared regular, and brightness adjustments worked normally. I handed the rifle back to him, and, once more, he reported that he could not see a thing through the optic!
Now completely mystified, I again looked through the EOTech, and, again, everything appeared to be functioning normally. The red circle and dot were superimposed on the downrange area as I would expect to see.
After several frustrating moments, we finally figured it out!
My student was wearing polarizing sunglasses. The EOTech’s rear screen is plane-polarized, necessary for the holographic aspect to work. When my student viewed his EOTech with his head upright, everything worked normally. But, when he turned his head while acquiring an awkward position, his glasses rotated enough to conflict with the polarization of the EOTech. The result was no light coming through the optic, and the shooter thus looking at a blank screen!
The lesson here is that plane-polarized optics do not work well in combination with polarizing sunglasses.
I’m surprised we haven’t seen this phenomenon before now, but the effect was stark indeed in this case. When my student changed over to clear glasses, the problem disappeared.
Something to be aware of!
16 Sept 08
On the progress of a successor to the AR-15, from a friend in the System:
“As much as a strong case for the immediate adoption of a new Battle Rifle and caliber can be, and is being, passionately made, I believe fiscal reality will descend, like a wet blanket, upon whatever new Administration comes to power in January.
The acquisition of a new rifle is relatively small-potatoes by DOD standards. A single copy of a C17 is worth as much as the whole rifle program! However, components of airframes are manufactured in dozens of separate congressional districts. A new rifle is minuscule, by comparison, and is manufactured in one or two places. These days, the Pentagon gets excited only by ‘Death-Rays’ and ‘Smart-Bombs.’ The mention of new individual small arms will predictably generate little more than a chorus of yawns, both at the Pentagon and in the halls of Congress!
So, unless you’re an SMU Trooper, you’ll likely never see a new rifle, much less a new rifle caliber, any time soon!”
Comment: Our abject dependance upon, and foolish assumption of, high-tech war will be our undoing! The world is irreversibly entering an era of carnage and darkness. The “Age of Wars” is upon us, and we’ll all be lucky to live through it! Our Civilization will be saved by capable, competent riflemen, or not at all!
16 Sept 08
More preparation for the unexpected, from a friend in NYC:
“On Friday, 26 Feb 1993, I was on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center, just sitting down to lunch at the Windows of the World Restaurant. We suddenly heard, and felt, a huge explosion in the parking garage far below.
Power went out immediately, but emergency power kicked in. However, it soon went out too, being damaged during the explosion. Elevators weren’t working, so we all started nervously descending the darkened, never-ending stairway!
I made it all the way down to the first floor, mostly because I was wearing hiking boots. But, some of my fellow restaurant-patrons, wearing flip-flops and other non-serious footwear, couldn’t make it all the way and eventually had to be carried by firemen, as their feet became badly injured during the hurried descent. They, in their wildest nightmares, never imagined they would be taking a hike for their lives that day! As a result, many nearly didn’t live through it.”
Comment: You never know when you will have to hike away from danger, maybe a long distance! Who routinely wear shower shoes and flip-flops, even lightly-made, low-quarter shoes (as can be seen in airports all the time) will have bloody, seriously-damaged feet by the time they hike the first half-mile! They may well die simply because they are insufficiently sure-footed, or are unable to go on.
For one, I don’t wear shoes. I wear hardy boots with steel toes and rigid support for my ankles. They may not be particularly stylish, but they’re waterproof and designed for vigorous hiking. When I am compelled to walk long distances over rough gravel, broken glass, damp foliage, and rubble, I can, and my feet won’t be broken when something falls on them, nor when I have to kick someone in the shin!
17 Sept 08
Chicken Little? This from a friend in IL:
“Where I live, Interstates 80/94 and 65 are closed, due to flooding. They have been so for the last three days! You can’t get anywhere. It’s one, big parking lot. Expecting UPS to make deliveries, or expecting that you can even get out to buy essentials during a crisis like this is wishful thinking in the extreme!”
Comment: Operators need to always be ready. Don’t put off until tomorrow preparations that need to be made today!
Who haven’t thought adequately about self-preparation, garnering gear and essentials, need to look around! Aside from the weather, national fiscal weakness, as exemplified by one financial crisis after another at the federal level, and in the majority of statehouses, means, for the foreseeable future, less and less in the form of emergency aid and “essential services” are going to be forthcoming from governments, at all levels.
As a nation, we’re voraciously eating our own seed corn! As individuals, we need to prepare as best we can.
17 Sept 08
I had an opportunity last weekend to shoot a rifle chambered for 6.5mm Grendel. The 6.5G is a 300+ meter round that is flat-shooting, stable, and accurate, owing to its long, skinny bullet. Unfortunately, the cartridge is too big to legitimately fit into the existing AR-15 Platform, as noted previously.
Right now, 6.5G ammunition is hard to find and expensive, more so than the 6.8SPC, and much more so than 5.56X45 (223) and 7.62X39 (30/Soviet). The 6.5G technically outperforms the 6.8SPC, but not significantly, and the 6.8SPC has the advantage of comfortably fitting into the existing AR-15 System, both the rifle itself and existing magazines (the 6.8SPC requires only a different follower).
I shot last weekend’s Urban Rifle Course with my copy of the RA/XCR in 7.62X39. Again, this is a legitimate 300-meter rifle with real penetration. Combined with a forward-mounted Micro/Aimpoint, it makes an ideal car-gun. With its folding-stock, it travels nicely in a fabric viola-case and quietly goes in and out of hotels with scant notice from anyone! Ammunition is still relatively reasonable and plentiful.
There may be a future for the 6.5G, and the 6.8SPC too, or both may wither on the vine. Personally, I believe the 6.8SPC, even with faded interest from the Pentagon, has now sufficiently caught on to insure at least a small, and growing, following. The 6.5 is not there yet.
In 2009, we’ll see an XCR in 7.62X51 (308), and it will be, I’m confident, right up there with the legendary DSA/FAL. However, in this election year, my advice is to equip yourself early and thoroughly, and then get yourself trained, with us or another competent instructor. Personal preparation is more important now than at any moment in my lifetime. Don’t put it off!
“Willingness is a state of mind. Readiness is a statement of fact!”
22 Sept 08
Excitement in the Philippines, from a friend there:
“We are experiencing a periodic flair-up of militant Moslem violence here. This one is particularly intense, with Islamic radicals doing their level best to massacre Christian enclaves, much as is the case in North Africa and Eastern Europe.
Experienced folks in the conflict area are prepared. As the situation escalated, they brought their stocks out of storage, Garands, M1 Carbines, Tommy Guns, Grease Guns, et al. So far, they’ve successfully repelled terrorists, with good effect. They know how to fight and are not willing to be victims, nor are they inclined to wait for promised help that always seems to show up right after the slaughter!
Of course, naive liberals, safe and sound in our Capitol, have piously, self-righteously decried such developments, saying that armed citizens only ‘prolong the conflict.’
As in your Country, our politicians positively love massacres, but detest courageous citizens taking positive action to defend themselves. They love helpless victims, but hate private enterprise, in any form!”
Comment: Are we surprised? Politicians are the same everywhere! The purpose of “gun-control” is not protect the good and decent from violent criminals. Politicians want to banish private ownership of guns in order to protect themselves from us!
23 Sept 08
Modifications to Springfield Armory’s XD/M Pistol:
I’ve been carrying my copy of the XD/M for several months now and have had the opportunity to shoot it many times during Courses, as have my students. Like my copy of the conventional SA/XD, it continues to run fine.
I notice that, when the disassembly-lever on the XD/M is in the “up” position, the pistol will not fire. This is a new “safety” feature, as the conventional XD will fire under the same circumstances. I’m sure it is a reaction to unsophisticated owners, who, on at least a few occasions, sent their slides flying downrange, along with the bullet, while attempting to shoot with the lever “up!” Again, it is not a product-upgrade that is particularly important to me, but it does indicate that SA actively communicates with its customers, even dull ones!
I asked my gunsmith to make two minor modification to my XD/M:
(1) I took the “hump” out of the trigger-guard.
(2) I reduced the protrusion of the right-side portion of the ambidextrous magazine-release button.
I don’t like “square” trigger-guards. The “hump” has been rounded off on all my Glocks too!
I don’t like ambidextrous manual safety-levers (on 1911s), nor do I like ambidextrous magazine-release buttons. I know SA wants to appeal to left-handed customers, but critical controls on any pistol should not be facing to the outside as the pistol is carried. The problem manifests itself when you find yourself rolling around on the deck, only to discover that the magazine supposedly locked within your pistol has spontaneously released itself!
My solution is simply to reduce the length of the magazine-release button on the right side of the pistol (for right-handers). It is still useable, but no longer sticks out far enough to cause concern.
My gunsmith deftly performed both tasks in a single afternoon, and I was back on-line the same day. There is nothing else on the pistol that needs tweaking, in myopinion.
The XD/M is on my “Recommended List.” It is a seventeen-shooter (40S&W) that is eminently carryable and wonderfully reliable. It features variable grip-geometry too. I’m carrying my copy every day!
The 9mm version is a twenty-shooter!
23 Sept 08
This current advice, from a friend in Houston, TX who sat out Hurricane “Ike:”
“I’m finally back on line! Our part of Houston was hard hit by strong winds and heavy rain. Lots of damage to buildings and infrastructure, including my house. We had no public services for nearly a week. Roads were blocked, and we had no access to food nor fuel, not to mention a thousand other items we daily take for granted. Our power has just been restored today!
I’m now the ‘expert’ I never wanted to be! Here is what I learned about widespread disaster, mostly the hard way:
Weapons. Stick with weapons that are simple, hardy, and run under all conditions. You’ll need more than just one. When they break, you won’t be able to get them fixed any time soon. You’ll need high-capacity, military rifles, not just pistols! Remember, any position can be taken, providing the attacker is willing to pay the price. We have many street gangs here, and they were out, roaming. In an armed confrontation , you may die anyway, but make them work for it! Heavily armed, we confronted several groups of looters, at gunpoint, and quickly ran them off. They weren’t particularly heroic!
Ammunition. Starting hoarding it now! Have an adequate supply on hand. More than one neighbor frantically came to me and asked if I had any of this caliber or that!
Battery-Operated Radios: The only contact we had with the outside world was via radio. We were isolated, but at least we had access to news and weather reports. Portable generators are wonderful, but they require lots of fuel, and power output is minimal.
Trauma Kits: Learn how to treat traumatic injuries and have the appropriate equipment on hand. I had to suture my wife’s foot with four stitches. I had no pain killer, but I still had to do it. We had no access to hospitals, nor ambulances, nor medical care of any kind. We had to treat our own injuries. Have plenty of IBDs, alcohol, medical scissors, wide-spectrum oral antibiotics, decongestants, and bandaids. You’re going to need it all!
Food: Have a good supply of water, MREs, as well as canned goods, like corn, beans, rice. You’ll need non-perishables aplenty. You’re going to have to feed yourself and perhaps others. Who don’t eat regularly, quickly become run-down and despondent.
Fuel and warm clothing: Though is was not an issue for us (this time), you need a way to keep warm. Hypothermia is extremely dangerous and insidious.
Finally, and most important: Don’t wait to be rescued, and don’t expect any species of help, any time soon. Make appropriate preparations now, and, when disaster strikes, act immediately! Don’t sit around expecting someone else to feed you, get you to a safe place, keep you warm, treat your injuries, nor protect you from evil-doers. Who do are naive and self-deceptive, and typically don’t live through it!
There is no ‘Book of Rules’ that applies to situations like this. My neighbors and I are good and decent people, and we know right from wrong. We were not afraid to do what needed to be done to get us all through this. We don’t hesitate, and we don’t ask permission!
We are now in the middle of putting our lives and possessions back in order, as best we can. We’re toughing it out, separating wants from needs, and going forward!”
Comment: None of us can know what fate has in store for us. To be willfully unprepared and naive is the ultimate personal irresponsibility!
Pandering politicians love to assure us, particularly in election years, that they plan on legislating all the uncertainties out of life. Never believe it. You’re on your own!
24 Sept 08
I apologize for the time it has taken to get this all set up, but we now have a new contact in-Country:
CWO-2 Brett Turek
2/7 H&S Co
Brett’s e-mail is: Brett.Turek@afghan.swa.army.mil
2/7 is my old outfit from Vietnam!
Brett tells me they need Leatherman Tools, flashlights, blades.
Again, we want these courageous young lads to know they are not forgotten!
29 Sept 08
Advice on ERDs:
Panther ERDs can be seen at www.pantherstunguns.com
I recommended the half-million volt models. They get results! Anything less powerful is essentially impotent.