Friday, December 07, 2007

Ranger Ray on civilian reponse

I discussed the role of civilian response in the Texas Tower sniper case here.

One of the men who went up the Tower that day was officer Ramiro Martinez. In his memoirs he has some interesting things to say about the actions of the civilians in Austin.

I was and am still upset that more recognition has not been given to the citizens who pulled out their hunting rifles and returned the sniper's fire. The City of Austin and the State of Texas should be forever thankful and grateful to them because of the many lives they saved that day. The sniper did a lot of damage when he could fire freely, but when the armed citizens began to return fire the sniper had to take cover. He had to shoot out of the rainspouts and that limited his targets. I am grateful to the citizens because they made my job easier.
Cross posted at my other blog.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Michael Vick: And the big losers are...


The groups leading the charge against Vick (PETA and the Humane Society) are also vehemently anti-hunting. So as they use Vick's trial as a platform, it also gives them credibility in their work to ban and restrict hunting.

Vick apologists play the same game. Listen to sports talk radio as they yak about the case and you will eventually hear someone float the idea that dogfighting is part of Vick's culture just as hunting is for some white players. Rarely does anyone argue the other side.

Here's an example of what is coming:

Morning Rush
By Michael Silver, Yahoo! Sports
August 13, 2007

The franchise quarterback had just suffered the most crushing defeat of his career and he needed to get away from it all. So the peeved passer headed to the backwoods of Mississippi, where he cleared his head by killing a defenseless animal.

Sorry, PETA, but the gun-toting quarterback in question was not Michael Vick. In fact, it was Peyton Manning , whose aim with a hunting rifle apparently is as true as it is with the ol' pigskin.

In January 2003, a couple days after the Indianapolis Colts ' 41-0 playoff annihilation by the New York Jets , Manning went to a 12,000-acre spread in central Mississippi owned by a family friend and got his mind right. As he told me later that year, "You're out there hunting for deer and ducks, just you and your gun. It's peaceful and totally quiet, no cell phones or anything like that. It's a good detox, the type of thing that gets your batteries re-charged."

In other words: Bad news, Bambi.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Good lessons even for us civilians

I found two very interesting articles on police survival and deadly force.

This one is filled with insight and lessons learned:

Not everything is applicable to civilians and some of the lessons require modifications. For example:

FBI’s annual “Officer Killed” summary, the statistics show that officers tend to die in close, not just at 7 yards but at 7 feet, and they tend to neutralize their attackers and survive unscathed as the distances increase.

Distance buys time. Waiting buys time. Time buys survival.

There are few “immutable laws” of police officer survival that go to 100% but this one reaches about 99%. Distance and time will generally favor the police officer that is the first to respond to a life-threatening crisis that involves armed criminals

Very true, but sometimes hard to apply in self-defense situations. Often, trouble (i.e. the criminal) finds us; we do not have the option to wait for reinforcements or maintain a safe distance. Nonetheless, it is always smart to train with the idea that distance is (usually) our friend.*

This advice, however, is true for everyone:

W- Have a plan, Twining and Davis had a plan and they out gunned twice their number of highly trained lawman. The responding CHP officers didn’t…and they died.

A - Always Maintain the Advantage over the opponent. Gore and Frago initially had the tactically dominant position and officer survival experts who interviewed the surviving Bobby Davis believe that he and Twining would have surrendered if the two officers had not abandoned their tactically superior position

This refers to the Newhall Incident when two ex-cons murdered four CHP officers. This defense trainer has a slide show that illustrates the events of that night.

I especially like it because he proves that you do not need fancy CGI software to make a useful training tool.

This article has a chilling glimpse into the mindset of one of the Newhall killers.

“I talked to him for quite a bit,” he recalls. According to Madden, Twining described for him the moments leading up to the shooting of Gore and Frago. The two cons had briefly contemplated surrendering as they were pulled over.

“He told me that he was looking in the side-view mirror and they were debating whether they were going to give up. And he looks in the mirror and he could see [Frago] with the shotgun as he walked up to the car and there was still tape around the slide, which means there was nothing happening,” Madden says. The tape around the slide meant the patrolman had not cycled a round into the chamber – he wasn’t locked and loaded.

For a criminal like Twining, that was like the scent of blood in the air.

“He told me the patrolman actually looked embarrassed, like he didn’t want to be there. So [Twining] just said ‘Fuck it’ and bailed out and started shooting

I've heard (and read) too many people talk about the wonderful intimidation power of their chosen weapons. "All i have to do is rack the slide on my shotgun and they will run away." "Once they see the size of the hole at the end of my .45 they'll give up."

It is hogwash and dangerous to boot. Unless you are prepared to use the gun, it is just a hunk of metal. Twining's confession shows that criminals can be frighteningly savvy in sizing up the threat. (Hint: they are seldom scared of a chunk of steel and wood.)

It also is important to remember that it only took 2 or 3 seconds for Twining and Davis to seize the tactical initiatve.

So mindset matters and so does focus.

* This is a problem i have with many "practical pistol" courses. I've seen many that require the shooter to move toward distant targets. Dumb idea. It makes for a good game but represents poor tactics.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

School shootings and civilian response

I have some thoughts on my other blog.
Michael Bane says it all

Why I Never Fell in Love with the .40 S&W
He is not knocking the .40 S&W as a cartridge, just explaining why he prefers to carry what he does. This point can't be repeated enough:
Finally, "stopping power" is wildly secondary to bullet placement. Let me say that a handgun round, bullet placement is everything. What I want in a carry gun is the absolute knowledge that I can deliver the shot with that gun and that load. The little .40s required more from me than the 9mms and the .45 ACPs.
Bane is in good company. I remember seeing an interview with Jeff Cooper in which he explained that the .45 ACP was not the be all and end all of defensive cartridges. {GASP!} He thought the .45 Colt and .455 Webley were also fine rounds. He shot the .45 ACP because that is what the 1911 shot. Like Bane it was platform first, cartridge second.

Me, i'm that way with the .357 mag. I don't like it's loud bark. But i recognize it's unmatched versatility. But the clincher is the S&W Model 19. It is the platform that i shoot best that can also be carried easily.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Be prepared

Here's a man who takes the injunction seriously.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Email to Shooting Times

For the first time that i can remember, i disagree with Sheriff Jim Wilson. He is a courteous gentleman so i understand why he apologized for his earlier comments about IPSC. (Although, calling it an "armed track meet" with " cute, pastel-colored pajama outfits" is pretty funny.) But he went too far when he wrote: "The majority voted, the majority rules, and life goes on."

If Col. Cooper and the guys at Big Bear believed that, we would all be shooting .38 Specials out of the FBI stance. Progress does not come from going along with the majority; it comes from cantankerous individuals who are willing to challenge conventional wisdom and figure out what really works.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Zumbo Mess

The Smallest Minority has a nice response to Zumbo's idiotic statements.

Some see his comments as representative of hunters and see a faultline between hunters and other gun owners. I do not. I think Zumbo is representative only of cranky, arrogant, pampered gunwriters and has little in common with hunters as a whole.

The tip-off is in the column that started all this.

I must be living in a vacuum. The guides on our hunt tell me that the use of AR and AK rifles have a rapidly growing following among hunters, especially prairie dog hunters. I had no clue. Only once in my life have I ever seen anyone using one of these firearms.
Yes, he is living in a vacuum and that is why he saw so few ARs in the field. As a gunwriter he does much of his hunting on private guided hunts on land where the dirty masses never intrude.

Zumbo tried to wrap himself in the colors of "traditional hunting" and stand as a defender of the right and the true spirit of the hunt. In truth, he is closer to being one of the "tourists with rifles" who populate the gun and hunting rags.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Shot show

I'm late noting this but Gun Blast has a bunch of great pictures from the SHOT show.
Good idea in theory

Mossberg has an interesting new package out for their model 500

JIC: Just in Case

My reservations are two-fold. First, i don't like the pistol-grip only configuration. It's not a good configuration for effective shooting especially if the user practices very little with the gun.

Second, i'd like to know more about the associated knives and hardware. There is a lot of crap out there masquerading as heavy-duty multi-tools or "tactical" knives.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Don't' be French

The German victory in France in 1940 is one of the most decisive campaigns in military history. In six weeks, the Blitzkrieg re-ordered the balance of power in Europe.

The striking thing about the German victory is that the defeated Western allies enjoyed both a qualitative and quantitative superiority in men, tanks, guns, and planes. The Germans won because they had superior doctrine and training.

The French expected to fight methodical battles in which their material advantages would blunt the German offensive and roll back the invader. The Germans were able- through superior strategy and initiative- to disrupt the French plans and win operational victories that paralyzed the French High Command.

I have to admit that I hear French accents in a lot of self-defense advice on the web and in the gun rags. There is an obsessive focus on the material-what bullet/caliber works 'best', shotgun versus AR15-and little attention to the decisive factors-mindset, planning, practice.

I mean, a tactical shotgun is great, but how do you use it when you have to answer the door late at night? What's the best way to carry a 1911 so that you can deploy it in the event of a carjacking? (Is it even possible to get it into play with seat belts on?)

An effective personal defense strategy should not begin with the abstract evaluation of various weapons, calibers, or loads. Rather, it should start with an honest risk assessment: what are the likely dangers, what weapon is best suited to meet them, what are the best actions to counter those dangers if they arise?

There is one other applicable lesson from this historical period. Some of the propagandists for rearmament actually ended up strengthening the forces of appeasement. They overstated the might of Hitler and claimed that only massive rearmament could let the French and British catch-up. This helped create a sense of resignation and hopelessness that Hitler exploited in 1937-39.

I wonder how many newbies are dissuaded from buying a personal defense firearm because of the advice they receive from pixilated Rambos. Here is a man or woman with limited experience with firearms who is pondering whether to take that first, crucial step. When they ask a simple question, they get flooded with the macho posturing that made the internet famous.

"You need a tactical shotgun, and an AK-47. A high-capacity .40 S&W and a back-up subcompact that uses the same magazines. Yeah, always have four spare magazines with you at all times. Plus two for the AK. Get a tactical vest. Oh, and a bowie knife, an Akita, and a high-end home alarm system…"

I wonder how many potential new shooters just throw up their hands and do nothing?

That's sad because the 80/20 rule applies in the defense realm as it does in most aspects of life. Even worse, to return to my first point, this obsession with ordnance-lots and lots of hardware-ignores the crucial lessons of 1940.