The Russian Judges

I used to believe that journalists were like baseball umpires.  They called them like they saw them, playing it straight down the middle.  They gave both sides of a story even if they slanted it one way or another.  I have now come to the conclusion that they are more like the Russian judge in figure skating: they know the rules, but they only apply them to the other guys.  Their side (liberals) don’t do anything wrong.

Now, there are a few exceptions.  Most of the folks at Fox are pretty good (Shepard Smith excluded).  Sara Carter and several other independent journalists are likewise pretty good.  But by and large the media covering DC are so entrenched on the Democrat gravy train that they cannot report the truth because they don’t believe it.

You may think that’s unfair.  You may be thinking, well, surely when its news and not politics they play down the middle!  Really?  Consider these examples:

  • It has been several months since the Las Vegas shooting and we still know nothing about what really happened.  The FBI and the Las Vegas MPD have simply clammed up, not saying a word about who, what, or why.  If this had been an assignation with a stripper involving a Republican, they’d have reporters on it 24/7.  But, other than the deaths that the left can use to push an anti-gun agenda, no one reporting the news cares that the FBI has buried this like the bastard son of a 12th century king.
  • Wall to wall coverage of the Parkland shooting, with tearful students and their supposed “grass roots” organization, yet no coverage of the students that didn’t take that position.
  • No outrage or coverage of the multiple Broward Sheriff Department failures.
  • No outrage or coverage of the failure to institutionalize Cruz.
  • No outrage and only minimal coverage of the FBI’s multiple sequential failure to prevent a known potential serial killer from going off.
  • Media were all over the Maryland high school shooting until it was learned that a good guy with a gun, an armed school resource officer, stopped the killing.  With a gun.  He used a gun.  Therefore the media cannot report it, or make a big deal over it.
  • Countless deaths in Chicago from gang-on-gang violence with firearms, but no mention that it has the most draconian gun laws in the country but that these laws fail to stop the killing.

In effect, the media covers and highlights only what it wants to cover, and only what furthers the agenda of the Democratic party.  They fail to cover the hundreds of thousands of crimes by illegal aliens (preferring to euphemize them as “undocumented immigrants” — as if their only crime was not have documents).  But let ICE pull one off the street and send them packing, and you’ll hear about it for weeks: ICE Destroys Family Unit!  No, ICE did not destroy that family unit, the knucklehead who came here and broke the law did; but they’ll never tell that side of the story.

It is well past the time when we, as gun owners, should start asking questions of our local reporters and national media: when will you cover the real stories.

For me, that time needs to come sooner rather than later.

Sig Sauer P320 Range Report

I am pleased to report that the United States Army made a good decision to go with the Sig Sauer P320 for its Modular Handgun System.  This is my range report on my P320RX with the Romeo1 sight.

Up until last Friday I had not had the opportunity to take the Sig Sauer P320 to the range and check it out.  It felt like a very nice handgun.  It felt really good in my hand.  It had that solid feel that a well-made gun has.  But, from the outset, I was afraid there would be issues.  For example, the cap that covers the Romeo sight on the pistol simply would not stay put.  That was irritating; I finally just took it off.

The next problem I noticed, in dry-fire (snap cap) practice, was that it was hard to get a natural point of aim that allowed me to use the red dot to fire.  I almost immediately had a form of buyer’s remorse that I had spent close to $1000 on a pistol I might not actually like or be able to use.

But, of course, the worst problem I had was that the P320RX with the Romeo sight was sort of a bastard firearm.  None of the big guys made a holster to fit it.  Aliengear did not.  Nate-Squared Tactical did not.  Even some of the lesser names did not offer a holster that accommodated a red dot sight.  And even some of those that claim to make Kydex holsters to fit guns with lights and lasers (a natural fit I would assume) did not make one for the P320RX.  There is a dent in my office wall from where my head kept crashing into it!

But one of my chief assets is tenacity, and I am nothing if not dogged in search of a solution.  I finally found, on Amazon, a holster by Concealment Express.  I found it by accident.  I looked at a question that dealt specifically with my weapon, and the answer was “no, it doesn’t fit.”  But right after it Concealment Express had posted an answer that said “try this one,” with the link to the correct holster.

Like a chicken on a June Bug I jumped on that link and ordered the ridiculously low-priced holster for $34.95 (free two day Prime shipping).  It came on Friday and my comments about how the holster performed are found here.

So, the P320.

First, if you were doing target shooting that nonsense I wrote about a natural point of aim might be relevant for the first ten or so shots.  After that you adapt to the Romeo sight pretty easily.  But, what I found in practice at the 5 yard, 7 yard practice lines, was that I rarely ever got the weapon up to eye level before I fired, using essentially a kind of point-shooting that I have always used.  I found that my combat accuracy with the Sig was at about 80%, and will likely improve with practice.  I found this Sig to be the most natural firearm I have ever used.  The recoil was manageable, follow-up shots were easy, and at 5 to 7 yards, combat accuracy for me was excellent.

In the first 100 or so rounds I had probably half a dozen stovepipes with the P320, but this is an ammo thing.  I bought some cheap ammo from Academy.  It was the culprit, not the P320.  Once I went to Winchester and Remington 9 mm ammo, everything was terrific.

As I mentioned in another post, I am very much happier with the Sig (which does not have an ambi safety) than I am with the S&W M&P Model 2.0.  The S&W I wind up losing up to second because I forget to drop the safety.  So I spent the remainder of the range time that day working on that because in a stress situation, you do what you have done in practice, and I want to make damn sure if there’s a safety that I am taking it off.

This first video here is from my two target drill, with two shots to both targets.  I consistently shot this two target drill in about 3.5 seconds.

 

This next one is from a side view in a similar drill.

As you can see the P320 performed very well.  And in shooting from 15 yards for accuracy, the red dot was zeroed perfectly, right from the factory.

IMG_6269

All in all, the P320 gets a thumbs up from me in terms of operation.

Cleaning was interesting too.  I’ve cleaned lots of Glocks and other pistols, but this is the first one I got to take the guts out of to clean.  I rather liked that.  I know for certain now that all of my pistol’s inner workings are clean and free of fouling.  There are several very long-winded videos on You Tube on how to disassemble and clean this pistol, but I simply followed the very informative instructions in the manual, and it worked very well.

I give the P320 a full 15 round magazine of approval!

Shot Timers Aid Training

If you’re like me, you probably have thought, what does anyone need a shot timer for?  I realized that they were used in shooting matches, etc., but I don’t think I ever appreciated what a useful adjunct they are to training.  Like the Go Pro camera, mentioned here,  the Shot Timer is an excellent addition to your range day, if for no other reason than to see what your response times, draw times, and second target response times are in a crisis situation.  This is a shot timer:IMG_6276

A shot timer, for those of you who do not know, works by measuring the overpressure wave from a gun’s discharge.  They can be used in two ways.  In IDPA and other competitive shooting events, after a shooter announces ready, the buzzer on the unit is triggered and the response time and split times between targets is measured as part of the score-keeping that goes on.IMG_6281

When used for training, you can set a random delay up to 4 seconds where the shot timer, after being pushed, will wait a random interval before giving you the beep.  You then fire whatever drill you want, and the result is whatever the result is.

This Friday I set up my range at the gun club with two targets at 7 yards.range1  I wanted to see whether “boarding house rules” was an effective strategy for me to use.  For those of you who do not know, boarding house rules say everyone gets a first helping before anyone gets seconds.  So, one shot to both, and then follow up shots.  After playing around a little, I determined that these rules are probably not going to work for me.  At 62 I am much slower on execution than I was at 19, and as a result, I am not going to shoot each target once, then shoot each target a second time.  Not and live to tell the tale.

So after experimenting, I applied the drill I recorded in an earlier post, and repost here:

Drill First Second Third Fourth
1 1.93 .28 1.2 .26
2 1.62 .24 .79 .23
3 1.41 .76 .59 .45
4 1.47 .20 .93 .44

Average First Shot:  1.60

Here is what some of that data look like:IMG_6280

It took me an average of 1.6 seconds to draw my weapon and get off the second shot, and an additional .3 seconds to get off the second shot.  The third shot came in around .85 seconds, and the fourth about .37 seconds.

I would stand closer to one target than the other, and, applying what I learned in the Army that the guy closest to you can kill you quickest, I shot the closest, and then the next closest with two rounds each.  I then set the range up with targets at 5 and 7 yards, offset somewhat.

I did the same thing, with roughly repeatable results.  The information derived from the shot timer has been very helpful.

And, while we’re on it, a word about targets.  This is one of the targets I use.IMG_6269 You can see the other in this video:

 

As you will notice, the targets are not flapping in the wind.  They stay put.  I bought these in bulk from Omaha Targets.  They are all-weather, durable targets, and they are a dream to staple to the range beams for practice.  It is rare when a product exceeds my expectations.  Usually, I am disappointed.  I can’t tell you how many targets have torn while being stapled to the target posts.  Not these!  These stay put, don’t tear, and are easy to both put up and take down.  The selection on line is truly amazing, with lots of different photo targets similar to those shown above.  Pretty much any kind of target you can think of, they have.  They truly get the job done.  I will be buying more of these from this company!

 

 

Concealment Express Holsters

I learned a valuable lesson this weekend.  Comfortable is not the thing to look for in a holster.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with a comfortable holster as such, but a comfortable holster that is hard to draw from is…well…a death sentence.  Let me explain.

I bought a holster from a company I used previously for my Smith & Wesson M&P Model 2.0 Compact, and it fit well.  It also covered that rather scratchy part of the danged grip that feels like you’re sitting next to a porcupine.  It was, in a word, comfortable.  But it had not come in the first time I went to the range, so I used an Aliengear holster that worked for the Glock 19.  It wasn’t perfect, but it worked and I could draw from it.  I just had that “porcupine” problem that the new holster solved.

So, being the smart guy I am, I got my comfortable holster and have been wearing it for the last two months.  All’s good, right?

Up until Friday, I would have agreed.  But Friday I went to the range, and try as I might, I could not wear my pants with the belt cinched in a way that didn’t show my butt, and still draw from that holster.  In essence, there is a twist associated with the draw stroke that, in an emergency (or a perceived emergency, is going to cost you an average of 1.7 extra seconds.  How do I know this?  I used a shot timer.

My P320 RX however, was much harder to fit into a holster, and I had waited going to the range until I had a holster that fit it. img_1366 That came from Concealment Express (via Amazon) on Friday morning, and I put it to use Friday afternoon.  It is Kydex on both sides, and as a result, feels a little bit like someone shoved rock between your waistline and your belt.IMG_6273  It was not particularly comfortable at 3 o’clock on my hip, but completely workable, if not greatly comfortable, at the 5 o’clock position.

Using the first holster and the M&P it took me an average of 3.5 seconds to get off my first shot.  In other words, I was worm-food in a gun fight.  With the Sig and the Concealment Express holster, my first shot came in between 1.4 and 1.8 seconds every time.

Here are the strings:

S&W

Drill First Second Third Fourth
1 4.19 .23 1.16 .24
2 3.11 .25 .84 .22
3 2.96 .76 .88 .23
4 2.76 .29 .81 .22

Average First Shot:  3.25

Sig

Drill First Second Third Fourth
1 1.93 .28 1.2 .26
2 1.62 .24 .79 .23
3 1.41 .76 .59 .45
4 1.47 .20 .93 .44

Average First Shot:  1.60

Difference:  1.65 seconds

 

That’s a heap of difference in a situation where lead flies and lives are what’s at risk.

Having worn the holster now for several days, I am much more comfortable with it at the 4:30 to 5:00 position than where I normally wear my concealed carry pistol, and that will take some getting used to.  But the holster itself has excellent retention (you can insert the pistol, hold it upside down, shake it, and the pistol doesn’t fall out).  The belt clip is very secure, and more importantly, the pistol does not rattle on your body, being held up close to your body by the Kydex (though, perhaps not as close as if the back were leather).  Though it doesn’t have any leather in it, it is I think maybe the best Kydex-alone holster I’ve used. I have tried the Sig and Safariland holsters (don’t care for their retention devices). Most of those would be best in OWB.  The great thing about this one is it can be IWB or OWB as you choose, and more importantly, it can be right hand or left hand, as you choose.  For $34.95 you are unlikely to find a better, more serviceable holster.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072MHWDPS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Semper Paratus

My guess is that if  you heard someone hum the first few lines of The Navy Anthem “Anchors Aweigh” you’d recognize it immediately.  The same for the Marine’s Hymn and the Air Force song about the Wild Blue Yonder.  Likely you’d get the Army song too.  But there is likely one you would not get, and that is particularly sad, because its words speak volumes about what they do.  You can listen to it here.

The song is entitled Semper Paratus, Latin, which means “always prepared.”  In my view it is the perfect motto for the concealed carrier.  At every moment of every day, we should be semper paratus.

I don’t know what your experience as a concealed carrier has been (I hope you’ll share it in comments), but I have noticed I am seeing a lot more things than I used to.  I find myself looking at men’s waistbands for telltale bulges, and at how close to a person’s midsection their hands tend to stay.  I’ve found myself looking at anyone who adjusts their shirt or clothing, because as a new carrier, I found myself doing that constantly (a habit I had to force myself to break).  I no longer park close to vans, and even if it is the only slot left in the parking lot, I won’t park between two vans or trucks.  It simply limits visibility way too much.  At night, I park under the street light in the parking lot, even if means I am parking further from the door.  Even if the door is closer, if there is limited light, or I cannot clearly see people around the door, I won’t park close.  I also look around 360 degrees.  When you are engaged in mechanical tasks (like opening or locking your car door) your mind is engaged in something, and you’re vulnerable.

I carry a flashlight at dusk or thereafter, everywhere.  So that when I return to my car from the store or mall, I can check around the car.  At night, I walk with my wife to the car door and I put her in.  I do not let her get in by herself.  No, it’s not chivalry so much as making sure she can’t be harmed by someone looking to steal the car, or her purse, etc.  Light not only causes vampires to withdraw, it usually sends criminals scurrying back like the cockroaches they are.

In order to do these things, and make them work for you, these things have to become a habit.  If they do not become a habit, if you do not pick up that flashlight and put it in your pocket before you leave the house, then you are left with good luck determining your fate.  Luck is a finicky mistress, and she’s just as likely to shiv you as kiss you.

Because I do forget sometimes, I have flashlights in the car.  I rarely use them now, but they are there specifically for the times I do forget.  And I try to remember to change the batteries every six months.  I actually put it on my calendar for work.  Reminders are very good things!

I have also been bad about forgetting my cell phone, an absolute no-no for concealed carriers.  You want to be the one who calls 911 (because you become the victim); you do not want a bystander to describe a crazy man with a gun.  And, even when they recognize you’re the victim, people say and do really stupid things.  I do not believe in trusting my fate to others. So I now store my phone with my car keys so that I can’t get one without getting the others.

Habits are important things. Not only can they help insure your safety, when all else fails, they can insure you survive.

Recently I read an article where someone recommended doing a “press check” before holstering the weapon and going about your business.  I wondered “what the hell is a press check?”  Turns out that it is the act of pushing your pistol out of battery to see if you have a round chambered (apparently necessary in Glocks because they do not have a chamber-loaded indicator).  Most people advise against this tactic because taking your gun out of battery is never a good idea, and it may not go back fully into battery without some force.  I have never done a press check.  The reason I have never done it is because I know, at all times, whether a round is chambered.  Additionally, I treat every gun as if it were always chambered with a live round, even if I have just finished cleaning it and it has no magazine, and even if it can’t fire without a magazine, because that’s how I trained.  So the idea that I would need to “check and see” that the gun is loaded is just crazy.  The gun on my hip is loaded, even if it isn’t loaded, because all guns are loaded.  If you carry a weapon and do not know whether there is a round in the chamber, you should not be carrying a weapon.  You should be in a nice quiet environment with helpful nurses and that lovely juice that makes you sing happy songs.

Pasteur is rumored to have said that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  I think a better way to say that is the bad luck is what happens when lack of preparation meets calamity.  In almost every instance where someone gets hurt, “bad luck” can be traced back to a failure to prepare or plan.  Exhibit A: Nicholas Cruz, anyone?

Situational awareness is important, but good habits and good preparation on a daily basis are also very important.

Do you have a habit of cleaning and oiling your weapons every week to two weeks even if you haven’t fired them?  Do  you inspect your holster every week for signs of wear, weak connections, or weak clips?  Do you periodically switch magazines so that you’re carrying a magazine with a strong spring rather than one that’s been weakened by remaining loaded since Queen Elizabeth was coronated? Do you fire your personal protection loads at least once a year and replace them?  These are things you should put on your calendar.

Early on in combat medic training in the Army we were told to always inventory our medical bags every day to make sure that (a) everything we needed was there; and (b)  that some other schmuck hadn’t taken something out, when we were not looking, that we might need later.

About 12 weeks into my first deployment we got a call for a company first sergeant who was having trouble breathing.  We went to the unit, walked in, and found that he was no longer having trouble breathing: he had quit.  We started CPR, and my partner realized, much to his annoyance, that he had forgotten to get his ambu bag (the device we use to breathe for people).  He had to do mouth-to-mouth on the guy until I could get mine assembled and over to him.  To this day the guy can’t eat creamed corn!  It was only like 30 seconds, but he said it was the worst 30 seconds of his life.  It taught me a valuable lesson.  After that, I never borrowed his ambu bag again, and I returned the one I had borrowed the day before but did so after he went to brush his teeth.  I do not believe he ever was any the wiser.  But I was.  I learned a valuable lesson.

If you want to be successful as a concealed carrier, identify the habits that you need to be successful.  Incorporate those habits into your daily life.  And train as often as you can.  Life is short.  Don’t make it shorter by being a putz.

Let George Do It

Old Time Radio

Back in the 1940s there was a very popular radio show where people with difficult problems or issues would call on the series hero, “George Valentine” as a private investigator and he would “do it” meaning he would solve their problem.  The show starred Bob Bailey and can still sometimes be heard on Sirius XMs Radio Classics channel.

Murder Rate Correlation

I spent a large part of yesterday trying to correlate murder rates in large cities to some some definitive predictor of what was most likely the cause in fact of higher murder rates.

The first thing I looked at was gun control.

Two of the cities were very high, with Baltimore, Maryland, having a murder rate of 57.8 per 100,000 population, a stratospheric number.  Chicago also had a very high murder rate, and it has gotten worse since the statistics from 2015 were the last set used.  Both of these cities have draconian gun control laws, and it has done absolutely nothing to stop the spread of crime and the huge number of murders they experience.

“Ah ha!” I said, “I’ve found the key.”

And this of course explains why you don’t use data sets of two.  Because St. Louis, Missouri, where there is constitutional carry (but not in 2015) has a murder rate of  59.8, and concealed carry has been the law there for roughly seven years.  So, gun control, or at least, gun control alone, does not predict murder rates.

What about race? Does race predict high murder rates?  The answer is no, there is an exceptionally weak correlation.  The one factor that really stood out was political control.  In all the cities the mayor was a Democrat.  Except, again, that did not track with murder rates.  St. Louis has a democrat mayor, but so does Albuquerque, NM, with a murder rate of 2.2

As I sat there thinking about it, I recognized that at least part of the problem might be what I call the “illusion of safety” that comes from living in a city with a police organization and active presence.

Urban v. Non-Urban

Murder rates in Texas, as a general rule are lower, even for big cities, than are the murder rates in more eastern states and cities.  It occurred to me that one reason for this could well be the perception among Texans that they are responsible for their own personal defense, and the fact that this ethic is hard-wired into Texans.

In short, murder rates in urban areas always outstrip murder rates in suburban areas, in part for reasons of mobility (suburban travel requires a car; travel inside a city can be by foot).  Additionally, population density provides both more targets of opportunity and more targets of happenstance (kids hit by stray bullets).  Residents of cities tend to have more human contact and more divergent human contact than those in outlying areas.  It creates the “perfect storm” where conditions allow mayhem to grow out of misunderstandings.

Safety in Numbers?

There is a perception deep-wired into all of us that there is safety in numbers, that when we are with, say, ten people, our odds are better than when we’re alone.  Yet the kinds of indiscriminate fire that accompany gang violence actually makes it less safe if the one that is being shot at is close to you or your group.  As important, when there is a greater population, even where there is a greater number of police, they have a much higher volume of calls.  Add to that the issue that half of those calls amount to asking people to simply be reasonable with one another, and again, there is an explanation for why it takes the police an hour, sometimes, to respond to a call.

That doesn’t mean there are not problems with enforcement priorities too.  For example, in my town of Miramar Beach, Florida, over Spring Break the Walton County Sheriff’s office devotes a large number of officers to stopping under-age drinking.  There is no doubt this makes driving safer.  However, when you have three cop cars converging on a small 4 bedroom house to arrest under-age drinkers that are drinking, in private, behind a gate, by a pool, that suggests that your priorities may be a bit out of order.  I fully understand that you break the law whether anyone sees you or not, but the bottom line is, kids in that house had come home to drink in private and would not have been on the road.

Nevertheless, the idea that you’re safer in a crowded city than on your own in the country is a fiction.  It’s a fiction because in the country, you are 911.  You have to be prepared to defend yourself, because the sheriff is likely at least half an hour away.  In the city, with neighbors all around, you may feel safer, but you are not going to be safer.

My thesis is that those in the confines of a city trust their police to protect them, and don’t learn that this trust is misplaced (in the sense that there are not enough police, not from the standpoint that the police won’t do all they can), until the wolf is at the door.  Then, with nothing to stand in the way of the criminal, they either get robbed, raped or murdered.  It is sad, and it is preventable.

Live in the Moment

Let George Do It may be a great slogan for a radio show, but it is a very poor way to live your life or provide for your own personal security.  We have an intrusion alarm, two dogs, and multiple firearms at our house.  In our home, no one is going to sneak up on us.  And we are more than willing to let the police handle any intrusion.  Our plan is to converge on the bedroom with the fast-action gun safe, lock the door, warn the intruder, and wait for the police.  But if one comes through the bedroom door, that intruder will be met with all the force legal under the circumstances. Similarly, when we are out, we take note of our surroundings, and if something doesn’t look right, we retreat to somewhere that’s safe.  We never pull up right behind someone else at a stop light, and we never ever drive with windows down. The one thing that carjacking victims, robbery victims, and other violent crime victims all say is “it happened so fast!”  In truth, it happened in real time, but it seemed fast because their minds were engaged mentally on something else until they were jarred into a fight for survival.

Don’t be that guy (or gal).

Sig Sauer P320

It was back in December when I bought my last firearm.  At the time I got a S&W M&P 2.0 in 9mm, the compact variety, and really liked it.  I enjoyed shooting it at the range, but in training I learned that the safety was a clear impediment in terms of rapid action in an emergency.  During training at least twice I found that the safety hung me up, and kept me from getting off a shot on time.  At one point my time was 3 seconds to draw.  Yikes!  That’s head to the morgue time.

So, although I have a Glock 19 (and a 17, and a 34, and a 22, 26, 27, and 21) as well as a Sig P229, ultimately I determined I wanted to go in a different direction.  I am, at some point, going to sell my .40 calibers and standardize on the .45 and 9 mm platforms.

Sig Sauer recently won the Modular Handgun System contract (some suggest they stole it away from Glock) with the design of the P320.  While the M17 handgun is certainly different in some respects than the P320, it nonetheless has enough of the same material that you could argue you were carrying the same pistol that Special Forces carried.  While I do not brag about what I carry or suppose that my choice is any better or worse than any others, the chief reason I chose the P320 was that if the Army has them, they are going to be around for a long time, and so will the parts.

Now, at the same time it is worth noting that shortly after it was released in the civilian market, someone decided to drop test it.

Okay, who does this?  Who says, “Geez, I just spent $800 on this gun, let me drop it and see what happens?”

If dropped in the right way, the P320 would fire if there was a round in the chamber.  I am exceptionally careful about firearms and firearms safety, but even I drop things from time to time.  The last thing I wanted was a gun that was going to go bang without me pulling the trigger.

However, reputable gun stores had already had their stocks retrofitted by the end of the year last year, and in March, when I went to get my P320, the model I received was already retrofitted.

Because the P320 comes in a variety of configurations, including the updated X-Five version (a race gun coveted by many IDPA contenders), I had to decide whether, and to what extent I wanted a stock unmodified gun, or one of the more custom jobs.  After talking with my wife about it, I decided on the P320RX which comes in the compact version with a Romeo1 sight built in.  My wife, in her uncharacteristically snarky manner, suggested that to hit the “broad side of a barn” I had better get the reflex sight.  I would note, she can shoot the antennas of a gnat’s ass as 100 yards, so I decided to listen to her.img_1362

As it happened, I bought the gun the very day that the worthless, no good, rotten, lying Republican in Name Only Rick Scott signed the “Screw the 18 Year Old Voter Act” into law, banning sales to those between 18 and 21.  Federal law already prevented 18 year olds from owning pistols, but this now prevents them from buying them in Florida.

But not from possessing them.

Which means, of course, that anyone who wants one will simply drive across the state line to Alabama or Georgia and buy their AR-15 there.  Yes, we should probably not bother telling the pearl-clutching, weak-kneed “We’ve got to DO SOMETHING” crowd that federal gun laws allow sales to these prohibited buyers in contiguous states.

Anyway, apparently the FDLE had to shut down and reprogram their computers and it took two hours for background checks to go through.  That was very frustrating.  But eventually I was able to take my new P320 home, install the battery, and play with the weapon in dry-fire mode.

One thing I really liked was the degree of variability in the light intensity on the Romeo sight, and the auto-shutoff that turns the sight off when not in use.  That will surely save some CR1632 batteries down the road.

The first major problem I discovered, much like when I purchased the Smith, was that there were not a lot of holsters designed for the 320RX.  I finally found one on Amazon from Concealment Express that should be arriving shortly.  I am looking forward to reporting on how it works.

Range report will appear here soon!

The Bodyguard

Context is Important

Critics of the Second Amendment like to take it in isolation.  For example, they like to pretend that it only covers muskets.  They like to suggest that it is only for a militia.  And they love to suggest, time and again, that our forefathers could not ever have imagined automatic weapons.  All of these arguments are patently silly as anyone who knows any history at all knows well.  But perhaps the most important thing about this revisionist history view of the Second Amendment is that it ignores its placement in the Constitution, and also, its true purpose.

Primacy is the concept that we mention what is important to us first.  So if we ask someone where they might like to go to dinner, and we hear “Outback Steakhouse, or maybe Chipotle,” we can be pretty sure their first choice is the first one they mentioned.  There is no reason to believe that this bedrock psychological principle did not apply in 1779.  So we can assume that the very first thing that our ancestors sought to enshrine with Constitutional protection was the right to freely associate and speak freely on any subject.  Justice Brandeis said:

Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties, and that, in its government, the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end, and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness, and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that, without free speech and assembly, discussion would be futile; that, with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty, and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.

 

Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 376 (1927).  In other words, the founding fathers sought to establish that ideas are the coin of the realm, and that public discussion is a good thing, even if it upsets the few (or the many).  Ideas spur change, and without change, growth cannot occur.

A Bodyguard for Truth

During the middle of World War II Winston Churchill said “in wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”  Churchill enjoyed great favor for winning that war, but over time his country turned on him, replacing him with folks far more liberal.  Sadly, that trend has continued to the point that Britain today is beginning to look a lot more like pre-war Nazi Germany that post-war Britain.  Consider these current issues reported by the news:

  • The Director of the Crown Prosecution Service said “People all over the world are questioning how those in positions of power can counter the kinds of extreme views that are increasingly being aired,” she wrote, “and how societies might do more to prevent such opinions from gestating in the first place.”
  • The British Secretary of Defense, Gavin Williamson, created a “National Security Communications Unit” and its goal is to track down and stop internet trolls. But, who decides what is trolling, what is offensive, and what is not?
  • A British celebrity, Ursula Presgrave was found guilty in London of “malicious communication.” Her crimes? To have written on Facebook some rather awful things about the disabled and having memes on her phone that mocked the disabled.
  • And then there’s this: American’s detained because of a planned (not GIVEN, but PLANNED speech that MIGHT upset Muslims)

In other words, the thought police have been given free rein in Britain to go after offensive speech.  But, in this effort to stop material obviously in bad taste, as above, it has also been given free rein to attack that element of society that tells the truth about things like the nations of Islam, and their brutal treatment of women and gays.  Have opinions that go against the ridiculous notion that Islam is a “religion of peace?”  Well, you are not going to get away with that!  Criticizing this protected religion in Britain could, if you were caught, result in a prison sentence.  Why?  Because Britons don’t want to offend Muslims.

Whatcha Gonna Do…

How can Britain get away with this?  Easy.  The Brits have surrendered their firearms.  The populace is easily contained.  If you don’t like things, for God’s sake don’t complain about it out loud there.  You’ll go to jail.  It is exactly the kind of mindless abuse of government authority that resulted in the American Revolution.  And, its worth noting, once again, its based on religious persecution … of Christians.

In the U.S. Constitution, the truth expressed in the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, also has a bodyguard.  That bodyguard is the Second Amendment.  It is there to protect every American’s right to be armed, to be a citizen, not a subject, to have a lawful voice in government and even to speak hateful ideas.  No one likes the Westboro Baptist Church, and even extreme fundamentalists do not endorse their views.  But the Supreme Court protected their right to protest at funerals of service members, not because the court agreed with them, but because to preserve the right of free speech for all, it must be preserved even for those who would abuse the truth and offend the whole of us.

The American Ideal

Hate speech, online speech codes, rules of propriety for college students, and the like are anathema to the American ideals.  Justice Brandeis said this:

They [the founding fathers] recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies, and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law — the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so that free speech and assembly should be guaranteed.

Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. To justify suppression of free speech, there must be reasonable ground to fear that serious evil will result if free speech is practiced.

That this is enshrined in American law is what prevents the overzealous from trouncing the rights of the many in order to avoid offending the sensibilities of the few.  Simply put, the rights enshrined in the First Amendment would be meaningless without the Second:

Me:      Islam is evil!

State:   You can’t say that!

Me:      First Amendment

State:   We won’t let you say that!

Me:      Come and stop me!

The last sentence only has force because the state knows it cannot stop me, because I am armed, and because the Constitution protects my right to petition for redress of grievances as well as oppose unlawful force used against me.

This is what the anti-NRA crowd never understands: it isn’t all about the Second Amendment.  It is about all of our constitutional freedoms.  We are only one gun-confiscation order away from a totalitarian state.  And as long as we have the means and will to resist this kind of government encroachment, we remain a free people.

The moment we lose that right, we’re just slaves.

 

 

 

Attitude

Attitude is one of those things that gets people in trouble.  But our attitude is perhaps the most important component of self-protection.  Those of us who have been trained have gained an invaluable advantage over others: we know what to do when our life is on the line.  Our attitude in our daily life is part of our armor.

Vigilance

Very often we see people, even people in dangerous occupations, simply going through life as if it were all unicorns and rainbows. They assume that since the past hour has been quiet, the next one will be too.  Or they assume that because they’re in a crowd, enjoying a concert, that they are not a target.  In other words, most people go through life in condition white, or what I would call, oblivious.  I’ve been guilty of this, just like most people.  But I know the difference now.  I know the truth of the real world.  No one is coming to save me.  I have to save myself.  My safety, my self-protection is my responsibility.

That means that even a walk to the mailbox is an opportunity to employ observation skills.  Are there new cars in the neighborhood?  New people about?  I take notice of these things now.  At the gas station I look to see whose cars are running.  Is anyone nervous?  Is anyone blading?  Do I see pre-assault indicators?  Does this make me paranoid?  I don’t think so.

Avoid Confrontation

I have become the master of the apology.  “Sorry if I didn’t see you while I was backing up.”  “Sorry, didn’t mean to cut you off.”  I practice apologies with straight faces because I don’t want to get drawn into a fight based on ego, and about half the time people are satisfied with an apology.

In short, I do just about everything I can to avoid confrontation and trouble.  When people describe me, I want them to talk about what a nice guy I am.  I am unfailingly polite, even when irritated.  To do otherwise might well provoke a confrontation. I don’t really care if someone thinks I apologized because I am weak and afraid of them, so long as they don’t try to capitalize on that perception of weakness or fear.

Perception & Reality

I do all of this because I am a trial lawyer and I understand the law of evidence.  I understand what the power of reputation and attitude can do for you, and against you, in a self-defense situation.  I understand that reality is many different things to many different people, and the difference between being called the aggressor or the victim is often simply a matter of perception to people who may only be seeing a part of an encounter.  People tend to remember only that which reinforces their beliefs.

I saw a very interesting experiment performed in a college course on perception.  As the professor was lecturing a man came in through the door, pointed a gun at the professor, and pulled the trigger.  There was a loud bang, and the professor fell to the floor.  He was not shot; the gun had caps in it.  The shooter ran out the other side of the room.

At that point a person playing the interrogator came in and started asking questions.  That interrogator had the students in the room, as well as me watching the video, believing that the shooter was a young white male with red hair and a beard wearing a red plaid shirt.  Everyone in the room agreed on this description.

When the tape was replayed to the group, the 35 year old male had dark brown hair, no beard, and was wearing a solid blue shirt.  In effect, the interrogator had planted recollections in the minds of a group of over 30 people simply by the questions asked.  I have never forgotten that experience, and it’s the reason I use open-ended questions when talking to witnesses.  I do not want to plant false memories.

Take the situation where someone takes offense at a word or actions.  You hold up your hands and take a step back as you’re apologizing.  Does the witness to this event describe you as “putting up your dukes, as if you were getting ready to fight?” Likely that happens if you have a reputation or display an attitude of being a tough guy.  Your image and your reputation put a series of stereotypes into the brains of people who know you.  That perception becomes their reality if, at some future time, they are called to testify about what you did, and what led up to it.

Don’t Advertise

That’s precisely why, in spite of being an NRA Life Member, in spite of believing strongly in the Second Amendment, and in spite of believing strongly in my right to carry, I don’t wear Tee-shirts that suggest that image.  There are two good reasons for this.

First, I don’t want people to know I am armed.  It gives away an advantage.  It effectively acts as a “shoot me first” directive to criminals.

Second, and most important, that tee-shirt becomes Exhibit 1 at the trial where you’re charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of the carjacker you shot and killed.  That happens because the tee-shirt says you’re a “gun nut” and certain liberal prosecutors have the belief that you should simply have given up your car, that your property was not worth the carjacker’s life.  And they enforce their own personal values and beliefs in the courtroom.  Your actual culpability matters not to them: they are making a political statement.

Once many years ago I saw a depiction of justice in a southern courtoom where the judge told the suspected felon “you come here looking for justice, well that’s what you get: just us.”  I have remember that, because in some parts of this country if you defend your life successfully, justice might not look anything like what you’ve been told.

So, just like I engage in careful Condition Yellow vigilance at all times, and just like I apologize profusely when necessary, I also avoid trips to:

 

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Delaware
  • Rhode Island
  • Illinois
  • Washington DC
  • California
  • Oregon, and
  • Washignton State

 

I avoid these places because, as you might guess, they tend to believe that anyone who defends themselves must be a criminal at heart.  Perhaps not all jurisdictions in these states, but certainly the most populous take this approach.

As for me, I will stay in the south, where if you shoot someone who is breaking into your house, that’s really all the cops need to know.

In Fear For Your Life

One of the things that constantly amazes me is how examples of bad defensive gun use somehow get bronzed and polished into examples of excellence.  One of those is found here on Brietbart.  While I get the general idea that this is an example of someone standing up for themselves, the entire sequence demonstrates how completely stupid it is to have a firearm and not be willing or able to use it properly.

Several weeks ago I wrote here about I took a course from Central Alabama Firearms Training LLC (www.caftllc.com) and how it was a tremendous help to me.  I detected errors in my approach that could get me killed, and got some excellent coaching.  I took that training (even though I have my CCW and didn’t need it for that purpose) because I believe you need training every two years to stay on top of perishable skills.  I noted that because they use Go-Pro cameras, I incorporated them into my own training, and how that has helped me improve.

Watching the surveillance video from the beginning, it’s clear that the woman behind the register is in condition white.  Otherwise, when a shotgun-weilding robber entered the store she would have grabbed the gun, aimed and fired.  Instead she is calmly eating something and then HOLY SHIT HE HAS A SHOTGUN!

Okay, genius, maybe this is why you need to be in condition yellow at all times, particularly in a place that is like a robber-magnet.  Holding up a liquor store is, after all, nearly a cliche.  She quickly goes for her gun but then is stopped by the gun-toting, hoodie-wearing thug.  Let me also note that this is why its called “conceal and CARRY.”  If it isn’t on your person, you can’t get to it to use it!

Twice more she goes for it, twice more she backs off, and the ignorant thug manages not to find and take the pistols.  Let me say that again, he knows or suspects there are guns, and he doesn’t take them.  My bet: he has had lots of time in the hospital to regret this course of action, and as soon as he gets out of prison he is going to kill the next store owner he robs.

Yeah, it’s not until around the 40 second mark that both mom and daughter grab their weapons and do the first smart thing they’ll do today: they hide.  I am good with hiding.  I am good with not chasing the bad guy who has a scatter-gun.  That’s smart.  What is NOT smart is thinking that a gun has magical powers and will protect you.

But the certifiable genius who decided to rob the store comes back around the counter one last time and takes at least one round center mass, then she fires another couple with doubtful effect.  I am not sure what the round count is here, but I think by the time she finishes with Mr. Hoodie, her gun is empty.  File that under “thank God.”

Let me editorialize for the benefit of smarter criminals.  This would be the time to run like hell, not stay around and see if you can outgun a superior force of women who, despite being ineffective marksmen to this point, have at least managed to alter your anatomy and affect your physiology.

Let me editorialize for the benefit of smarter store-owners.  It is a full 1 minute 12 seconds before the genius daughter calls 911.  Survival would have dictated an earlier call.  One might even have considered  – I don’t know – a burglar alarm?

Now, back to the action.  After chasing the robber outside the cage, she gets shot at, and has to go back behind the cage.  Instead of just leaving, Mr. Hoodie pursues. And, at 1:22 in the video we see him take two more in the guts from the wheelgun Big Mama has.  But he isn’t done yet.  Shot, wounded, probably seriously pissed at this point, he decides to wrestle Big Mama for the gun.  If you’re counting rounds, like I was, Mama is either out or has 1 round left.  So he’s grappling for the empty gun!  Is this guy a Mensa candidate or what?

At this point the daughter enters the fray, seeing that Big Mama is perilously close to getting a .38 sandwich.  She manages to violate the third and fourth rule of gun safety.  After watching the kabuki dance between Mr. Hoodie and Big Mama, while her mother is directly behind the bad guy, she fires into his back.  The daughter is not exactly going to pass the Mensa entrance exam either!

Now seriously pissed, he wrestled the gun away from Big Mama and hears the Dead Man’s Click when he fires on an empty chamber at the daughter.  Then he manages to stumble around and nearly destroy the place as he recognizes, finally, that he is about to bleed out and die.  He left a nice blood trail and the cops found him fairly quickly it looks like, working on his Darwin Award application.

Okay, now, I have pointed out a number of screw ups here, but let’s look at the biggest mistake of all: not being willing to do what it takes to survive a gunfight.  My guess: neither mama nor daughter had firearms training, nor ever done any preparatory work to establish their will to win that kind of confrontation.  They trusted that a gun alone made them safe.  This is one point where I agree with the gunsense idiots. A gun does not make you safe.  Using a gun quickly and with deadly effect makes you safe. Simply put, in defensive firearms instruction, you learn to stop the threat.  If the bad guy falls and drops his weapon, fine.  But if he doesn’t, you keep shooting until he is not a threat any longer.  If someone is pursuing, armed or not, he isn’t after first aid, as this thug demonstrated.  Big Mama’s second mistake was letting him get his hands on the gun.  She should never have let him get that close.

Defensive shooting doesn’t mean you execute the attacker.  It means you have to stop him.  At 0:54 Big Mama should have kept shooting until the fight was out of him.  And if she chooses to pursue him, as she did, she needs to shoot to make sure he doesn’t have any more fight left in him.  At this point, with him having access to a shotgun, it’s “kill or be killed.”

In essence, this video demonstrates a situation peculiar to many women, and God bless them for it.  They do not want to be the instrument of someone’s death.  Certainly that’s not all women.  Women can be psychopaths too.  But criminals sense that peculiar female weakness and that is exactly why Mr. Hoodie pursued Big Mama here.  He knew she didn’t have the stomach to kill him, and he knew he had the stomach, and the will, to fight her for the gun and kill her.  But here’s the rub: the idiot couldn’t count.

If there is anything that absolutely must be drilled into women when teaching a firearms course it is that predators smell prey and thrive on displayed weakness.  They either cue on pheromones, or on facial expression, or on language, and they see someone who has a gun, not because she wants to defend her life, but because she wants to scare off someone.  And predators are risk takers.  They seize the moment.  They are unmerciful.  Once in possession of the gun, he would have killed her.  There is no question in my mind.

I have talked at length with my wife about what it takes to actually shoot a human being, about how huge that decision is, and how difficult it is to make, but how necessary it is to do it if the situation requires it.  Would I hesitate to pull the trigger if I confronted a man with a  shotgun?  Hell no.  But, yeah, I worry about my wife, God bless her.