4 Sept 09

They’re not impressed:

On 1 Aug 09, Tom Siebel, a CA billionaire (Silicon Valley) touring in East Africa (Tanzania) was injured during an attack by a wild elephant. He is expected to mostly recover, but he suffered multiple broken bones and lacerations.

Siebel indicated that he and a guide were peacefully observing a herd of elephants at a distance of 200m, when one abruptly charged them, covering the distance in seconds. Both Siebel and his guide were grievously injured as a result.

They are lucky to have lived through it!

Comment: Those elephants don’t care whom you are! As I’ve discovered, and reconfirmed several times, Africa is a rough, unforgiving, dangerous place, not to be traveled lightly.

From bacteria, to bugs, to dangerous game, to local thugs, everything in Africa is out to get you, and whatever title or status your may enjoy over here does not impress them in the least.

To them, you’re just lunch, and nothing more!

It’s a tough country. It’s a tough world!



4 Sept 09

“Grant” money?

The corrupt city government of a small eastern AR town, that is withering on the vine, finally unraveled yesterday. A local police officer, in an apparent fit of rage, shot the fire chief, inside a local courtroom, as the fire chief was contesting a traffic ticket! The same bullet that struck the fire chief also hit another police officer. The fire chief is in the hospital. The injured police officer was treated and released. Status of the officer who did the shooting is unknown.

The city has a total population of less than two hundred, yet its police force consists of seven, full-time officers! It is not anywhere near big enough to have even one full-time officer, but (mis)using federal “grant money,” one was created.

Scandals began immediately, mostly involving speed-traps. Citizens complain bitterly that it takes hours to get a patrol vehicle to respond to an emergency, because they’re all out desperately trying to fill ticket quotas, often miles away from town.

One result is that all retail businesses, and most productive citizens, have abandoned the city and moved elsewhere. Weeks ago, the city’s last commercial business closed up for good. Meanwhile, the city’s police vehicles, and a fire truck, have been repossessed for lack of payment.

In the wake of the shooting incident, the “chief” has disbanded his force. The “mayor” is no where to be found. Questions with regard to what has happened to traffic-ticket revenue are unanswered. Any guesses?

To his credit, a local judge has precipitously thrown out all traffic tickets written by the department.

Comment: Knavery and corruption follow “grant” money like snakes follow mice! Money, suddenly placed into the hands of those who didn’t earn it and don’t appreciate it, seldom accomplishes anything worthwhile, and is never spent well! The vast majority is invariably wasted or stolen.

“Giving money” to people who have done nothing to earn it, and don’t deserve it, is always bad practice, because the money is, of course, taken from good people who did earn it, and do deserve it! In fact, government “grant money” amounts to little more than a bribe.

When offered money you didn’t earn, and to which you otherwise have no right, it is best to refuse it, as there are always strings attached, and political favors that are expected. You will become little more than a petty thief, along with bureaucrats who run the program, and seedy politicians who create it.

Old Chinese Proverb:

“Never marry for money. You can borrow it far cheaper!”



7 Sept 09

AR magazine-release button. This from a colleague in OK:

“During a Carbine Class yesterday evening, a student’s right index-finger slipped off the magazine-release button of his AR and landed on the trigger. An AD was the instant result!

Luckily, his muzzle was properly directed at the deck to his front, as he had been trained. The total damage was a divot in the concrete three meters in front of him, and, of course, much astonishment and embarrassment.

Like you, I’ve always believed the magazine-release button on the Stoner design is in the wrong place, mostly because of all the inadvertent dropping of magazines we see that result from shooters using the magazine-release button as a trigger-finger index while acquiring the register position.

Although this particular species of AD is uncommon, we need to warn our students about it.

From now on, I, for one, am going to!”

Comment: I’ve seen this happen more than once!

Every weapons system has issues. None are perfect. I wish Gene Stoner had located that magazine-release button somewhere else, but I wish lots of things, and we’re probably stuck with it as it is, at least for the rest of the lifetimes of most of us!

Urban Rifle students need to be warned about this. If I’ve been remiss in the past, I intend to correct the omission immediately!

The second point to be emphasized is, once again, my admonition against light, “target” triggers on serious rifles! Any good, battle rifle will have a trigger pull-weight between five and eight pounds. Triggers under five pounds are an veritable invitation to an AD and are thus highly not recommended!



7 Sept 09

Courtroom Poker in CO. This from one of our Instructors who is also a well-known criminal-defense attorney:

“Just handed down on appeal here in CO:

The defendant had claimed self defense and appealed the judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict that found him guilty of second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit second-degree assault.

The judgment was just affirmed on appeal.

Two important points:

(1) Defendant contended that the Trial Court’s jury instructions with regard to what constitutes legitimate self-defense were inadequate and incomplete. The jury should have been informed that the defendant had ‘no duty to retreat’ under State Law. But, the Appellate Court ruled that the Trial Court was not required to provide that specific information to the jury, sua sponte (without being asked to do so). Therefore, the Trial Court’s omission does not constitute reversible error.

(2) Defendant also argued that the Trial Court erred in permitting the prosecutor to argue that the defendant’s flight in the aftermath of the incident demonstrated ‘consciousness-of-guilt.’ But, the Appellate Court indicated that such an argument was not improper, and that it is indeed reasonable for the jury to infer that the defendant fled because he had a ‘guilty conscience.’”

Comment: I know there is a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo that comes out of every court action, but, from the foregoing, we all need to reconfirm.

(1) Get a good lawyer! Not everyone with a law degree is someone your want representing your best interests during the fight of your life. This is no place for amateurs and incompetents!

(2) When involved in a lethal confrontation, or a potentially lethal one, be the first to call the police! Don’t run and hide and hope no one will find you. Get a safe distance away when necessary, but get to a phone fast and meet police at the scene, identifying yourself as “the one who called.” Much guilt will be inferred when you spontaneously “flee,” as we see!



11 Sept 09

More sage legal advice, from a well-known trial-lawyer and student:

“One is well-advised to quickly and discretely retreat in the face of dangerous threats, assuming retreat can be accomplished in relative safety. There are many practical advantages to extracting oneself from threatening situations. One is that no court has ever sent anyone to prison for retreating!

From the standpoint of defending, in criminal court, the actions of my client, putting forth the tedious argument that he was legally entitled to majestically defend his position with gunfire, never giving an inch, is far from my favorite approach. I’ve been in this business a long time, and I promise you that wearisome, hair-splitting pedants do not successful trial-lawyers make!

However, even when some sort of ‘retreat’ is required by law, but doing so will likely get you killed or seriously injured, then you’re just going to have to deal with the situation as best you can, worrying about legal ramifications later. No law, anywhere that I know of, requires one to retreat, when doing so puts him, and/or other innocent parties, in peril.

My best advice:

(1) Adopt a personal lifestyle that deliberately avoids dangerous places and situations
(2) Be alert and aware
(3) Exit potentially threatening circumstances early on, when you can
(4) Shoot (with precision), when you have no choice
(5) Stop shooting when threats are clearly abrogated
(6) Stay alert and get to a place of relative safety
(7) Call police at your first practical opportunity
(8) When police arrive, tell them just enough so that they understand whom you are and what role you played
(9) Otherwise, politely insist that your lawyer be personally present before answering questions, and thereafter
(10) Exercise your right to remain silent.”

Comment: In addition, understand that whatever you do, chose not to do, or fail to do, it won’t be perfect! Everyone, from media commentators, to investigators, to judges, to lawyers, to plaintiff’s experts will tediously, wearisomely point out where, and how, you could have done it better.

And, to one degree or another, they’ll be right!

Fortunately, the law doesn’t require you to be a saint nor that you perform each and every task exactly perfectly. The law only requires you, under the circumstances, to be “reasonable”

… whatever that means!



11 Sept 09

Observations from a noted Urban Rifle Instructor, and friend:

“Every rifle and user must be matched, one to one. Each individual’s eyes are unique, as is the exact way in which optical information is translated in his brain. A ‘shared rifle’ will thus never have the same POI for each user, with the result that no single user will ever have confidence in his zero. And, any rifle in which the user has compromised confidence is perfectly useless, except at close range.

Don’t assume that when you zero your red-dot and then adjust co-witnessed iron sights (BUIS) to coincide, or visa-versa, that the second system will be zeroed and independently operable. Each sight system, optic and BUIS, must be adjusted separately. There is enough light refraction by the optic to slightly alter the observed position of the front sight. Thus, when using co-witnessed BUIS through the optic, the position of the front sight will not be exactly the same as with the optic removed! So, first zero your BUIS with the optic off the rifle. Then, mount the optic, fold down the BUIS, and then zero the red-dot separately.

Afterward, don’t be surprised when you look through your optic, with BUIS deployed, and notice that the red dot is not sitting exactly atop the front sight post.

With any serious rifle, upon which your life might well depend, re-confirm zero every chance you get! Shoot often and with serious purpose. Independently confirm both optic and BUIS. You have to be coldly confident that your rifle is going to put bullets exactly where you need them!”

Comment: In Urban Rifle Courses, I ask students at some point to turn off their red-dots and use only BUIS (through the optic). Then, I ask them to take of optic off the rifle (when practicable) and continue to use BUIS. We are often surprised at the shift in POI! It is usually slight, but sometimes significant. These experiences, sometimes rewarding, sometimes frustrating, are a necessary part of training.

A well-seasoned Rifleman/Operator knows how to use all sighting systems to his best advantage.



14 Sept 09

One of our instructors was a close witness to an armed robbery last Thursday evening!

We’re currently in the Midwest, conducting training courses, and we, along with our instructors, were all staying at a local Holiday Inn Express.

Late Thursday evening, my instructor was in the hotel’s lobby, working alone at the computer enclave, when an armed-robbery suspect came in and held up the hotel desk clerk at gunpoint.

His narrative:

“Thursday night, after a day on the pistol range, and before retiring to my hotel room for the evening, I was using the hotel’s courtesy computer in a nook within the lobby. It was just after 11:00pm.

At the late hour at which I entered the lobby, no one else, aside from the desk clerk, appeared to be present. While seated at the computer, I witnessed an armed robber rapidly approaching the reception counter from some point to the rear of the lobby. If he had been there when I entered, I never noticed him. He pointed a black handgun (looked like a small revolver) at the clerk and loudly demanded money. His hooded sweatshirt was pulled over his head, and he was wearing large sunglasses.

During the robbery, neither the clerk nor the robbery suspect were aware of me. When I realized what was happening, I immediately acquired a master grip of my concealed pistol (G23 w/DPX), took cover behind a corner, and drew to low-ready. As the clerk frantically worked to satisfy the gunman’s repeated, squawky, threatening demands, it was my decision to remain a non-participant so long as my presence was not detected.

However, my mind rapidly sorted through all possibilities. Had the suspect discovered me, I concluded, I’d have only fractions of a second to react.

I considered shooting the suspect in the back, as he certainly represented a lethal threat to the clerk, and to me too. But, I also considered the possibility that what I was witnessing was not what I thought it was. Maybe this whole thing is a just brainless joke between two friends, I thought! Maybe the suspect has an accomplice (or two) I’d not seen!

In any event, the entire episode was over in less than a minute. The robber, cash in hand (less than $200.00, as it turns out), quickly exited and disappeared into the darkness. The traumatized clerk immediately went to the back room and presumably locked the door.

I hustled to my room, locked the door, and called the front desk. The clerk answered, confirmed the robbery, and that police were on the way. The clerk called me back after police arrived, and I went down and talked with them. During the conversation, I gave investigators a description of the suspect and described where I had been standing, along with other details, but I never mentioned that I had been armed, deeming that fact irrelevant.

No arrest has yet been made, so far as I know.

My observations:

(1) As you continually emphasize with us, when least expected, you’re elected! We were in a nice hotel, in a nice town, in a nice part of the nice town. No matter! We must have dangerous encounters like this constantly on our mental map. Only then can we keep our wits about us and form a plan without delay. My plan as a private citizen was non-participation. Yet, I was prepared to instantly engage this suspect with gunfire when necessary.

(2) We must remember to look all around. The suspect never looked around. If he had, he would surely have seen me. By the same token, had the suspect been working with a secreted lay-off man, I probably would not have seen him either!”

Comment: All is well that ends well! No one was injured, and my instructor subsequently went his way in peace, none the worse for wear, and with only minimal involvement. That is the good news!

I only found out about the incident the following morning over breakfast, as I had been fast asleep in the same hotel when it occurred. While relating details, my instructor was visibly shaken and only then beginning to contemplate the events of the previous evening.

The rest of the instructors, and I, all contemplated what we would have done had we been there; some of us silently; some of us out loud. However, none of us really knows, nor, with any luck, will we ever!

Gaining information, processing information, sizing-up a situation, distinguishing the significant from the insignificant, and making tactical decisions quickly are all critical personal survival skills, in addition, of course, to weapons acumen.

My instructor did just fine. He made decisions, and he kept his wits about him. He didn’t panic!

When it is my turn, I only hope I do as well!



15 Sept 09

This note from a riflesmith and student with regard to barrel dimensions on serious rifles:

“I’ve been using Ned Christiansen’s wonderful 5.56 NATO reamer on a number of AR barrels, some marked “223,” and some marked “5.56 NATO.”

Freebore on many, even in the later category, was so short that rifling would grab bullets upon chambering, pushing them back into the case and making extraction and ejection of a live round laborious and sticky. Much metal came out of most, indicating they are also way too tight. Such tight chamber dimensions and lack of freebore are a direct cause of unreliable operation.

Nothing anyone would ever want on a serious rifle!

I have reluctantly concluded that what is marked on most barrels has scant correlation with actual chamber dimensions. Barrels by Colt seem the only exception.”

Comment: It is nothing less than criminal for manufacturers to deliberately mislabel barrels in an effort to lure customers, infected with accuracy-itus, into buying their wares.

Again, any serious rifle, upon which your life may depend, needs a legitimate, military-dimension chamber with generous freebore, so that, when the rifle gets hot, it will still run. Accuracy will be just fine!

Temperamental, undependable recreational rifles, shamefully masquerading as serious rifles, represent a snare for the unwary. Highly not recommended!

Fortunately, Ned Christiansen’s reamer will easily convert mislabeled target barrels into a real barrels, as we see!



15 Sept 09

Some make the comment, with regard to my Quips, that I use jargon and acronyms to the point
where beginning students are unable to grasp whatever point I’m trying to make.

The Defensive Handgun Forum (www.DefensiveHandguns.com) is a good place to start. I have no connection with it, but I know the folks who run it, and they are doing a bang-up job trying to educate everyone about our Art.

Lots of good information, and they’re not in bed with anyone.



16 Sept 09

Murder, so easy:

A twice-convicted, serial rapist (mid-30s), out on parole, attacked, sexually assaulted, and then murdered (beat to death and strangled) two young women (both mid-20s) in a suburb of Gary, IN last week. He then set the house, owned by one of the victims, afire, in an effort to cover his tracks.

Like most, he was unsuccessful in avoiding capture!

The suspect, a perpetually-unemployed loser, living with his mother, was quickly arrested and subsequently confessed.

On the evening in question, the two women, sisters, were in the home owned by one of them when three men showed up, uninvited. One was an ex-boyfriend of one of the sisters. The other two were unknown to either woman After a few minutes, all three were asked to leave, which they did.

Later that night, after midnight, one of the friends of the ex-boyfriend, the suspect, returned to the house, broke in, then found and attacked the two women, who were probably asleep when the burglary started. The face of one women was so badly damaged that it took many hours of post-mortem “reconstruction” at the funeral home in order for her body to appear in an open casket, which was the wish of her family.

One woman had recently married. Both were well educated, in good health, had good jobs, and no criminal records, nor history of drug-use. The neighborhood is middle-class and otherwise quiet. Neither sister had ever owned a gun, nor did either have any kind of self-defense training. The house did not have electronic security.

Lessons: In this day and age, you can’t be naive and expect to see old-age! We live in a civilization where rapists, murders, child-molesters, arsonists, et al are routinely caught, duly convicted, spend a few years, more likely months, in prison, and then are set free, over and over! The vast majority re-offend within days of release. Our criminal-justice “system” continues to perform this ritual abomination upon our society, and there is no expectation that it will ever be any different, because one of the few things politicians care about is the continued existence of, and expansion of, of violent crime. After all, how will they otherwise manage to get their greedy hands on juicy federal grants and then spread that money among people that can buy them votes (all with no accountability), when things are peaceful and quiet? Politicians benefit immensely from disorder, chaos, and lawlessness in all forms.

So, we all need to realize, and expect, that our world is populated by vicious criminals, on the loose, who are fully capable of every atrocious felony you can imagine, given opportunity and the right set of circumstances. They will predictably, serially, commit these bestial crimes, for reasons that sometimes make sense to us and sometimes don’t make any sense at all, until they die or become too infirm to continue.

The foregoing is the sad reality. We can squabble endlessly over insignificant statistical variations, or we can face facts!

(1) You can’t pick your relatives, but you can pick your friends. Life is too short to spend it with seedy, sleazy scum. Trashy losers tend to attract each other. Don’t be attracted to them!

(2) For maybe the first time, you need to think about fighting, fighting for your life. You may have to, sooner than you ever imagined!

(3) Women are especially vulnerable to personal attack. Women, in particular, need to harden themselves and the places they live. In the case above, a single man successfully overpowered two women in their own home!

(4) Your home needs electronic security and you need to use it, particularly when you’re asleep.

(5) Your home also needs good door locks and secure windows, and you need to be extremely cautious about whom you let inside.

(6) There is no adequate substitute for personal armament, particularly handguns. Handguns need to be kept and carried. You need to be coldly competent in their effective use in personal protection. Expert training is expensive and time-consuming, but acutely necessary.

(7) Be a Force of One! Don’t become foolishly dependant upon anyone else, nor any institution. You have to be your own partner, your own backup. No one is watching your back!

“‘Civilization’” is a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.”

Werner Herzog



17 Sept 09

News from Kahr:

I talked with friends at Kahr today about their new PM9/193 Pistol.

It is a PM9, that many of us already use daily for concealed carry, with two new additions:

(1) It has a loaded-chamber indicator. The pattern used is the same as is used on the SA/XD and XD/M. It is a teeter-tauter on top of the chamber that is flat when the chamber is empty and tilts up when a round is in the chamber. My advice to students is, of course, to ignore loaded-chamber indicators and instead perform a manual chamber-check. That way, there is no doubt with regard to the status of the gun, and you don’t have to worry about the particular brand of gun you’re currently using!

(2) It also has a two-position, manual safety. It takes the form of a lever, high on the rear of pistol’s frame. It is not a “carry-safety” as with the 1911. It is a “storage-safety.” Up is “off.” Down is “on,” so it works the opposite of the 1911. It thus cannot be disengaged quickly during the draw, so it is suitable only for storage purposes and some administrative handling. When the pistol is carried, this manual safety should be in the “off” position. The pistol is thus no more, nor less, “safe” than are all other Kahr pistols, including the PM45 I’m carrying right now!

At least Kahr’s manual safety does not allow the hammer to fall normally, but with no shot, hopelessly confusing the user. With the manual safety “on,” the trigger simply goes slack, instantly informing the Operator what he needs to do in order to get the pistol running.

I’ll have a copy shortly for testing.

Conventional versions of Kahr Pistols (without the above additions) will continue to be manufactured and sold normally, where they can be.

Kahr has reluctantly added these “enhancements” in order to continue to market pistols in certain states that now insist all new pistols sold commercially have certain “features.” New regulations demand a ten-pound trigger, grip-safety, internal lock, manual-safety, magazine-safety, or some combination. “Rules” are typically written so poorly that it is impossible to know what guns will be “approved” by the AG and what guns will not. All manufacturers, like Kahr, can do is submit copies to the AG and wait for a response.

Curiously, police, including the Governor’s bodyguard staff, and the Governor himself, in those same states are exempt from these “rules.” Imagine that!

Kahr’s pistols are mostly small and designed to address the concealed-carry market. The problem is when they add “features,” such as the foregoing, additional parts tend to be so tiny that there is real concern with regard to the way in which they will affect durability and reliability. Only extensive testing, in the field, will finally settle the question.

So, unless you live in certain states, like CA, MA, and one or two others, the foregoing is of no concern. You may continue to buy and use any of Kahr’s entire line of concealment pistols.

Either way, you will continue to enjoy Kahr’s wonderful customer service!

Kahr is a proud, American Gun Company, employing American craftsmen, and we all want them to be widely successful!



18 Sept 09

A heartening narrative from one of our female students-by-proxy. This incident took place last week in an apartment parking lot:

“At 11:30 pm, I had just returned to my apartment from a visit with friends. I was alone in my car. I noticed a man (no one I recognized) walking in the parking lot, but he was keeping up a constant pace and seemed to be walking toward his own car, paying no attention to me. So, I concluded that he probably didn’t represent a threat.

I grabbed my purse and keys, got out of the truck, and locked the door. The moment I shut the door, I noticed the man had changed directions was now walking directly toward me. I made eye contact.

Authoritatively, and with as much voice-projection as possible, I said, ‘Sir, you need to stop coming towards me!’

He slowed his pace. I said again, ‘Sir, you need to stop walking toward me and go the other way!’

He stopped at a distance of fifteen feet and said,

‘I just want to know if you have a plastic bag. Mine’s broken, and my stuff is falling everywhere.’

I saw nothing in his hands, and repeated,

‘Sir, you need to turn around and walk the other way!’

‘Okay,’ he replied, ‘I will, but do you have a bag I can have?

‘I can’t help you!’ was my rejoinder, as I was determined not to be drawn into a conversation.

‘… but my stuff is falling everywhere,’ he pleaded.

Again, I said, ‘I’m sorry sir. Move on. I can’t help you!’

‘… I live a couple of miles away,’ he went on

‘I can’t help you. Now, turn around and get away from me!’ I repeated several times.

He finally walked away, mumbling something about how he ‘… didn’t mean nothin’.’

I immediately broke contact and retreated to my apartment. I then called security and told them what had happened.

I’m thankful that I remembered I needed to talk as loudly as possible, so that witnesses would notice commotion.

Of course, in retrospect I wondered if the man had a legitimate motive. Maybe he was disabled! Then, I reminded myself that none of that is important. I needed to aggressively disengage and get away from this guy. I did the only thing that made sense!

My initial response was a direct reflection of my training. I knew what to say and what posture to use, and is worked! Fortunately, I knew what to do.

In the end, no one was hurt, nor even inconvenienced.

Most importantly, I realized that I am capable of remaining calm and thinking on my feet. I also realized the power of personal confidence and body language. It was a priceless lesson, one that will not be forgotten!”

Comment: Another success story that will never make any headline! This woman knew what to do, and was successful in disengaging without having to escalate to physical force.

Parking lots and driveways are the most dangerous places in our civilization. Treat them as such!

You have to have a plan! Otherwise, you’ll have to make one up on the fly. That will lead to hesitation, impotence, and an unhappy result!



21 Sept 09

Urban Rifle Notes, from a Course in PA last weekend:

(1) A student shooting an M1 Carbine suddenly experienced a stubborn failure-to-feed.
Examination revealed the problem:

Magazines were charged from a box of S&B hardball. Mixed in with 30M1 ammunition was a single 38Spl round! It looks similar enough that it took us several minuted to figure out what was happening. This is the second time I’ve seen this with S&B ammunition. The first time, 222 Remington rounds were mixed in with 223 Remington!

Not my favorite brand!

(2) To my surprise and puzzlement, my 7.62X39 XCR suddenly started to hiccup. All my XCRs are wonderfully reliable, and I was unsure what was happening. I thought I may have broken an internal part.

Nothing nearly so exciting, as it turns out! The problem was that the single bolt that holds the barrel in place had loosened. When we tightened it back up, the rifle resumed normal functioning.
When I subsequently talked with Alex Robinson, he confirmed that the barrel-bolt should be checked regularly. It needs to be “hand tight, then seventy degrees more (1/4 turn).”

(3) In addition, Alex recommended, “… gas valve should be set so brass is thrown fifteen feet. When you’re throwing brass forty feet, you’ll regularly consume recoil buffers.”

Sure enough, examination revealed that the rubber recoil buffer on my XCR was badly chewed-up. Easily replaced, and the rifle will run fine without it, but my rifle’s gas valve had been closed all the way, and the weapon it sees a lot of use.

I learned a few things about it last weekend! The XCR is a superior system, and I recommend it, but, as with any military rifle, users need to be familiar with all important issues.



22 Sept 09

Friends in South Africa have informed me that the US embassy there closed, ostensibly for security reasons, today!

No word on when it will reopen.

SA has a significant Middle Eastern/Moslem population.

Not good news for Americans currently visiting there or planning to travel there!



22 Sept 09

Why I like, and regularly carry, big blades. This from an LEO friend in SA:

“I was on my way home after work yesterday afternoon.

The route I have to take includes a couple of notorious intersections. One in particular is so well know for smash-and-grabs that police vehicles are usually parked there all day.

Sure enough, I was caught by the red light and had to stop. As is my habit, I had already scanned when I realized I would be compelled to stop for the light.

It was then that I noticed a seedy character standing on the center-island, checking out cars. For some reason, he immediately selected me and came directly at my car, even though he could plainly see that I was onto him. My driver’s-side window was open (due to the heat!), and he already had his hand, fingers extended, forward, in an effort to get it inside my vehicle.

Knowing, from bitter experience, where this was all going, I slipped my Cold Steel Grande Vaquero out of my pocket, simultaneously deploying it. As this character got to my window, he aggressively reached inside my car and missed grabbing a handful of Vaquero by millimeters!

When he finally saw my blade, he abruptly sucked in several cubic meters of air, and I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head! With a panicked shriek, he instantly withdrew his hand and fell backward. The last I saw, he was running back down the center island!

The light changed, and I went my way in peace.”

Comment: There is no doubt. Big blades are scary! To be sure, enormous damage can be done with small blades too, but big blades really get people’s attention.

Like my friend, I carry a CS/VG in my pocket every day. For aggressive panhandlers, there is nothing better, as we see!



23 Sept 09

XCR comments, to me, from the Manufacturer:

“The barrel-bolt, extractor, and our adjustable gas system top the list of customer concerns. We try hard to educate each of our customers, so they know how to keep their rifles running.

The barrel bolt must be tightened to two-hundred inch-pounds in order to stretch it adequately, so it won’t come loose. When so tightened, it will not come loose under most circumstances, but it still needs to be checked just the same, particularly when the rifle sees heavy use, as does your copy. When you don’t have a torque-wrench handy, the rule of thumb is: tighten the bolt hand-tight, and then try to turn it 1/4 turn more. You won’t get a full 1/4 turn; you’ll only go 60-70 degrees.

We use Red Loctite #277 on ejector bolts. Once we began doing this, we have not lost a single ejector. With all the shooting you do, you’ve never seen an ejector come loose.

I cannot tell you how many calls I get from customers who are confused about the gas-adjustment dial. Here’s the deal: Set the gas-dial on the setting which throws ejected brass fifteen feet from the rifle when shooting from a standing position. When brass is landing only five feet away, you are flirting with a short-cycle. Conversely, when you’re throwing the brass over fifteen feet, you’ll beat up your recoil buffer (as you did), and the trigger will slap your finger.

You might have to change the setting when you use different ammunition. For Example, Wolf 5.56 tends to be wimpy and often requires the highest setting. On the other hand, American eagle is hot and needs a lower setting.

When you keep your rifle at the highest setting, which some do, your ejection buffer will get beat up, as yours did. With a correct gas setting, buffers will last through 15,000 rounds, minimum. Our friends at DSA have much the same problem in teaching their customers how to get the most from a rifle (FAL) with an adjustable gas system.

I could make a ‘fool-proof’ rifle by welding-in the ejector, permanently affixing the barrel bolt, and eliminating gas adjustment, but much of the XCR’s elegance, grace, and flexibility would be lost. With a little enlightenment of owners, our rifle will run just fine!

So, prior to attending a shooting event, or going on duty, XCR owners should:

(1) Inspect magazines. Watch for feed lips that are spread or cracked. Look over each round as magazines are charged. Watch for bullet set-back, missing primers, cracks.

(2) Check the barrel-bolt. It should be tight, and the barrel itself should have no play.

(3) Check the ejector. It too should be tight, with no play.

(4) Check the gas-valve setting. It needs to be appropriate for the ammunition you’re currently using.

(5) Push on the hammer-axis pin. It should not push out.

(6) Check the rubber recoil-buffer for excessive wear, break-down.

The XCR is a robust, military weapon and will continue to run and run, despite continuous lack of maintenance and lubrication. However, you should still clean, and inspect (per the above) the rifle when you have the chance.”

Comment: Alex Robinson, like Dave Selvaggio (DSA) and many others, is a modern, American hero, boldly and fearlessly innovating and producing. We all want him, and all American arms manufacturers, to be widely successful. We need to be able, as a nation, to produce our own guns!



24 Sept 09

This sad note from a State Trooper, and one of our Instructors:

“I attended one of our training sessions today, conducted at our Academy, by our Joint Terrorism Task Force. Instructors pointed out the way terrorists predictably target crowds of unarmed people when planning attacks. They showed us video after video, of terrorist after terrorist, shooting up tightly-packed crowds of unarmed people, and detonating suicide bombs.

During the show, I looked around the room at just short of one-hundred, unarmed Troopers. Yes, we’re all unarmed (myself excluded, because I don’t give a damn about their stupid ‘guidance’), because leaving gun-belts in vehicles is ‘encouraged’ at the Academy. They’re all so afraid of guns, you know!

Then, I glanced at the doorway, ‘guarded’ by a tottering geriatric, also unarmed.

I thought to myself: When terrorists strike here, I, for one, am armed, and I have a plan. But, I’m the only one!

We are truly on our own, even in a room full of uniforms!”

Comment: All too typical!

While piously paying lip-service to public safety, many of us are routinely unprepared to protect even ourselves.

History does not deal kindly with the willfully naive!



27 Sept 09

More rifle notes, from a student at our Urban Rifle Course last weekend:

“As you know, you were compelled to pull my AR-15, in 5.45X39, off the line the first day of the Course, due to the fact that it was doubling and tripling routinely. I purchased it as a high-volume trainer, mostly due to the fact that 5.45X39 ammunition is relatively inexpensive, at least currently.

The rifle’s hammer spring is extremely heavy, necessary to set off hard, Russian primers. Even then, a half-dozen rounds failed to fire. The rifle quickly began to randomly double and triple, which is doubtless due to the heavy hammer spring.

I will be shedding this rifle in the near future!

Curiously, another student, using an AK-74, a Polish Tantal, also cambered for 5.45X39, experienced zero malfunctions over two days of heavy use.”

Comment: Once again, the AR-15 platform, in any caliber other than 223, is likely to be a can of worms.

It is my opinion that the Soviet/30 (7.62X39) is the best military rifle cartridge in existence today, certainly superior to the 223 and the Soviet/22 (5.45X39), in every way! In the AK and XCR format, it is hard to beat.

However, cheap ammunition makes hypocrites of us all, eh?



30 Sept 09

Shod feet, the most deadly weapon!

From a friend close to this story:

“A teenage boy was beaten to death, in public, by a gang of thugs in Chicago last week. Much of the attack was recorded on video. The murder took less than a minute. To the bitter disappointment of the city’s gaggle of hand-wringing, pseudo-sanctimonious politicians, no guns were involved!

Once again, we see how absolutely lethal are kicks to the head of a downed victim, particularly in
the context of multiple assailants.

Although the initial impact that sent the victim to the ground was inflicted via a board or club of some kind, fatal damage was subsequently inflicted by the shod feet of assailants.

This format of attack is common, and is far more dangerous than is realized by most. Fatal head-injury can be easily inflicted within seconds. Head trauma is extremely dangerous, and, due to the enclosed nature of the cranium, swelling of the brain will likely exacerbate injury.”

Comment: From our perspective, it is imperative that, during such an attack, we avoid being rendered unconscious. Once on the ground, we must protect our head from multiple kicks and other blows, employing lethal defensive force when necessary, and regain upright footing as rapidly as possible.

When your head is in direct contact with a solid object (like concrete pavement), blows directed at it are infinitely more injurious than when you are upright, and your head is free to move with the blow.

Protect your head. It’s the only one you have!