Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why it does not matter




I got in a conversation last night with a couple of guys. The guy I didn't know had just bought a mid-size Glock .40. The guy I knew said Glock's were waaaay over rated and he wouldn't own one. At the time he said this I was handling the new Glock. I looked at him and said "really?" feigning stupification. He gave a smug "ppppf yeah."

So I asked if I could shoot him with it.

He declined.

I mean if its a waaay over rated gun it shouldn't hurt him then right.

A year or so ago a younger buddy of mine decided to purchase his first handgun. He decidedly said he needed an H&K USP compact. When I asked him why he said "that's what Jack Bauer carries."

blink blink

Now the funny thing is alot of us roll our eyes, but we have to give anti-gun hollywood some credit to selling guns. One of my first guns lusts ever was the Beretta 92. Because in the 1980s this was the gun of Martin Riggs and John McClain (Lethal Weapon and Die Hard). Elmer Keith may have been responsible for inventing the .44 Magnum but it took Clint Eastwood to put the Model 29 on back order in the 1970s.

But back to my young friend.

He ended up with a Beretta PX4 Storm in 9mm. He was very fond of the gun until one day he mentioned owning a gun to a co-worker who was not a gun owner. They asked what did have and he said "a 9mm Beretta.", an unimpressed "oh" was the response.

Suddenly he was concerned he bought a bad gun. I laughed said he bought a fine one and Lead Chucker and I even got him to an IDPA qualifier.

Jeff Cooper who was a supremely wise man cut a lot of influence in my teenage years and I was gonna be a 1911 man, and I am. But only to a point as previous posts indicate. Cooper despised what he called the Crunchenticker pistols (ala DA/SA), and later on said the Glock was "ok" but no serious pistolero would really carry one.

So here I go.

It doesn't matter.

H&K, Glock, Smith,SiG, Beretta, Kimber, Para, Colt none of it matters.I've grown weary the supposed arguement, especially by those whom qualifications are probably questionable to have the opinion of what is the "best" gun.

LeadChucker went to a good one or two day training course a year or so ago and learned alot. But the instructor told how SiGs were shitty guns and that Glock was the only way to go. Chucker's a smart guy and is able to disimilate on useful and nonuseful information. But frankly that kind of instruction raises my hackles.

The first time I needed a gun to save my life from a stabbing (and now reflecting back I wonder seriously about a rape) was while out hiking when I was about 18. He had a cheap survival knife, I had a cap and ball (and primed) .36 revolver.

He didn't scoff at the fact the gun's design was 130 years old, and I was thankful that black powder handguns were legal for minors to have in Missouri. And I still am thankful to that little gun in the back of my safe.

Never ever apologize for the gun you have. I think you should buy great quality no doubt.... if you can.

So what DOES matter.

Well for starters, it should go bang every time. If it doesn't find out why.95% of the time when semi-autos jam someone says "bad gun". Bullshit. Bad magazine spring, after that, it's probably grit. Or in need of a new recoil spring. Yeah even non 1911 shooters eventually have to replace them if you shoot enough.

What else?

It should be accurate. Accurate as in, if you put it in a Ransom Rest and fired it at 25 yards all the holes in the paper would fit inside the facial area of a target. After that its up to you.

And last but not least, buy what appeals to you. If that means squirreling away a little cash for a little longer so be it. You won't wake up the next morning a more well endowed or less endowed in your maleness (if your male) because of your purchase. If you're a gal it will make you a little more sexier regardless of what you bought.

The best gun is what you have.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Keeping your CCW options open II


As somewhat previously stated the additional advantage of the ASP is that is can go where firearms can not. A couple years ago I escorted a client over seas into Dubai, then Pakistan, followed by India. Our initial plan was to stay in Karachi for a week and I had begun talking with their Embassy in Chicago in regards to obtaining a permit to carry a firearm. Then I discovered that India wouldn't allow me to come in country with anything larger than a .380 (guess who didn't have a .380 then but does now), and the paper work for India should have been started six months earlier I was informed.

The situation then changed again we would only be in Pakistan for 24 hours before going into India. In a week I went from planning on carrying two handgun to no handguns and was left with few options.

So I went with a 21 inch (extended) ASP Airweight and a 7 inch fixed blade fight knife,a CRKT Hissatsu in desert tan.

Why desert tan and not black? Two reasons. The first: if you are going to find yourself wearing a lot of khakis, white shirts, tan shirts, blue shirts, a tan handled knife blends in better over black.

The second: bought of e-bay I saved $40.00 dollars because everyone wanted black and no one wanted a light brown knife.

We flew out of JFK in New York, bags x-rayed no issues (fly out of NY sometime with a gun :P good times), x-ray and screening through Abu Dubai customs, no problem...I'll cut to the chase I flew internationally for three weeks and multiple times inside India and never once had an issue.

To be honest when I carried the knife and the baton was I legal?

Nope.Not once that I could decipher.

But I have learned one thing about security check points and x-ray machines if you want to get something through. Overwhelm the poor bastard whose job it is to watch the monitor. The only trouble I had with the x-ray machine attendant was the morning we flew out of Karachi and the city was on high alert as Islamabad airport had been bombed about an hour before.
What caught the attention of the man behind the machine? My walkie talkies and the wires wrapped around them. Once the pucker factor went down and we pulled out the radios for hand inspection they were repacked and off we went.

What I'm getting at, is there may come a point in time when you have to weigh the options of being in a dangerous place and providing some measure of protection for yourself or others and NOT have the law in your favor. And even the smallest pistol isn't an option.

You want to really learn how to carry with discretion and go unnoticed (and this is not advice so don't send nasty letters from Rikers Island) find yourself in a position where you have to chose to be legal or right.

Should the situation you're in deteriorate to the point of fighting things like ASPs and knives hold several distinct advantages over guns. No serial numbers that are attached to registration papers someplace. No bullet with rifle marks left behind, nor gun shot residue. Neither requires being reloaded.

They are also highly advantageous with one in each hand against multiple assailants. The concept isn't new at all. The mountain men learned to carry a knife or tomahawk combined with a skull cracker like their Indian counterparts. Go watch Michael Mann's Last of the Mohican's and then look up Subway attacks on youtube.

You will find times aren't any more violent the people have only changed.

Again I'm not advocating anything here. But we live in a mean and nasty world where evil hunts and stalks and doesn't play buy the rules because there are none anyway.

ASPs come in four lengths and two weights. Standard and the Airweight which is 40% lighter and a nice option to have especially if you are going to carry a pistol and reloads.

Lengths go as follows
6"closed 16" Expanded
8"closed 21" Expanded
9.5"closed 26" Expanded
10.5"closed(I think) 31" Expanded

Personally the 16 & 21 inch models carry a bit more readily on the body. The 31 inch is more styled for riot cops.

If you're an outside the box thinker, that 31 inch model can have a grip cap put on and the shaft painted brown and suddenly you've got this short looking walking cane.

Traveling into unfriendly places that say no guns and have a couple of security "conscious" buddies going along or you just like packing spares of everything? Pack two or three of the 16 or 21 (ooor 26 inch) models together wrap them with rubber bands and pack them with the camera equipment and gosh darn it if they just don't look like a tripod.

Or so I've heard.

No nasty letters or asking for bail money or money for F. Lee Bailey you are responsible for you (hippies included).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Keeping you CCW options open



Carry a weapon ..ala..a CCW long enough and you'll build up some bad habits, or worse start out with them. The two most common bad habits I see with new Conceal Carriers is

1. Not carrying with a round in the chamber and ready to go. I hear the same thing every time "I figure I'll have time to rack the slide."
2.Not carrying a full spare reload. "welllll" they'll say "according to the statistics blah blah blah."

Ironically the first bad habit tends to go away as the CCW holder begins to carry more frequently and becomes more comfortable. But as for number 2 I can only say remember what Mark Twain said about statistics "Lies! Damn Lies!"

But I digress.

One of the biggest and most often overlooked issues taught in CCW classes is that of the of Force Continuum and how the use and carry of non-firearm related defense tools could one day save you in the court room. (you get to suffer from reading me prepare for an up coming court case where a client was involved in a self-defense shooting).

The day may come where you are going to be forced into a hostile encounter but it may not warrant the use of lethal force.

I say this because I have been there.

Not every violent encounter on the street justifies lethal force, yet if you are only prepared for using lethal force (i.e. a firearm) you can suddenly face some very serious problems both immediate and reoccurring for months or years (think criminal and civil court).

There is also the fact that there maybe a time that carrying a handgun is simply not practical or its dicey.

Lets say for example that you are flying out of state for business with co-workers and your boss. The state you are traveling to has reciprocity but your company doesn't allow you to carry at work or work related circumstances. You can't stand in line at the check in counter with your co-workers and they not catch on that you just checked in a handgun in your luggage and you sure can not check a gun without declaring it and filling out a form.

Here is where an ASP Extenable baton can be your saving grace. You have to have it in your checked luggage but you are not required to declare it, thus pack it and forget it.

ASPs have a profound psychological impact. They give you peace of mind knowing that you are armed in some fashion, but I can also attest to the fact when I have encountered situations where "negotiations" were failing my seemingly bare hand went from closed to magically holding a steel pipe. They also make a very deterring "THWACK" when they open. Suddenly that communication break down you were experiencing fifteen seconds ago ends with complete and total understanding.

A few years back I was doing some very discreet protection for a relatively well known female country artist for a couple of days. The two of us were walking through the hotel lobby late at night and a party had bled over. A very drunk guy in his late twenties noticed her for her looks (not realizing who she was) and began cat calling her...and then he followed us down the hall.

I stopped myself between the two of them about ten yards from him and said very firmly "Sir, you need to return to the party." I was immediately met with a barrage of foul language and a few suggestions of what he would like to do with my Principal in her room. I instructed him again to return to the party. This time he said "you don't look like a boyfriend who can satisfy her."...and then he decided to walk a few more steps ,ignoring me and talking to her.

When I had realized he was following us from the lobby I retrieved the baton from my waistband, both of them unaware I had done this. So at the moment he began closing the distance between myself and him I flicked the baton open in a very quiet hotel hallway. He immediately pulled up short and simply said "oh."

I told him to go back to the party immediately, and he sauntered off. No police notified, no reports filed, no incidents in the paper or on line. Her request for discretion remained.

There were also no reports of a man with a gun in the hallway. Even though I was well armed in the handgun department I would have been way out of line to pull a handgun.

But make this applicable to you.

Take the same scenario of an unarmed miscreant with a strong desire to do wrong to you physically. It could be you out with a wife or girlfriend. That previously mentioned business trip. Or in the mall parking lot when its 100 degrees out and you accidentally cut someone off in traffic and he followed you.

Understand you being unable to defend yourself adequately with your hands or non-lethal tools against a brawl doesn't mean that you are simply allowed to shoot an attacker.

The ASP fills that gap between bare fist and gun. That secondary area for self-dense tools, with it's capability falling between being lethal and non-lethal simultaneously. And that is a good thing.

Lets go this route.

You have been forced to shoot and kill an attacker armed with a knife or sawed off baseball bat on the street. Its now six weeks after you fatally shot him. Your defense attorney has to convince twelve people that without a doubt not only were you in the right to kill this person who was attacking you, you should be cleared of any wrong doing. And you are paying for this defense with your money by the way.

At some point and time there is going to be a police report discussed in court and police officers put on the stand.

What would you rather the jury hear from the report when your defense attorney reads it? Trying to show you had no other choice in the use of lethal force. That you were in fact in the fight of your life. Because the Judge wasn't there, the jury wasn't there and your lawyer has to paint a gruesome picture of you fighting to live.

The report states that "...at the scene ten empty 9mm casing, a partially loaded magazine were found on the ground and Officers retrieved from the defendant a fully reloaded pistol."

Or....

"....at the scene police recovered a half sprayed can of pepper spray, a discarded extendible baton, ten empty 9mm casings, a half empty magazine and a fully reloaded pistol."


Or (again)....

The report could state "...a full discarded can of pepper spray was found at the scene followed by ten empty 9mm casings, a partially loaded magazine and a fully reloaded pistol retrieved from the Defendant along with a collapsible baton on his/her person."

You thinking hmmmm makes me sound like an over prepared mall ninja.

No. It makes you sound like a person who did everything possible to try and stop your attacker WITHOUT using lethal force first. Because you tried and tried to make him stop something HE started until ultimately he left you with no choic to shoot and kill this bad man to live, to go home and see your family again. To kill him because he was bent on murder.



Here's where the product endorsement comes in. I've had some cheapies and at first they seem great, but then one day when your practicing opening it and you lift it straight up it closes up into the handle. Since Murphy is alive and well, if a cheap baton will fail in the living room, what do you think is gonna happen on the street.

Buy the ASP.

Because honestly, you and I both know you'll spend $800 bucks on that new SiG P229 and stick it in a nice $70 Mitch Rosin holster, but you're gonna skim $40 bucks on your other equipment.


But if you don't believe the mental disarming aspect the ASP can bring to a fight let me relate this to you from a colleugue of mine who use to be a Massachusets State Policeman.

Greg was in court waiting to testify on a Bad Guy that had gone violent. When he arrived on scene the Bad Guy prepared to attack Greg (who is 6'4" and built like a football player). That is until he produced an extended 26" chromed baton. The man simply wilted. Somewhat to Greg's surprise but not completely.

It was however during the trial that the reasoning he surrendered became so clear. The Perp on the stand stated that "The Officer pulled a sword on me."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Five for Sure II




But the five shot .38 Special isn't without its flaws.

Save Jerry Miculek and a few others, the the revolver is slow to reload in comparison to that of slapping in a fresh magazine of a pistol.

The very chopped barrel of the gun slows bullet velocity down to where even loaded with the latest and greatest of +P loads there is no guarantee that a hollow point will expand. The short sight radius can make it difficult to hit with when a shooter doesn't put in the range time and trigger time.

It is in my humble opinion one of the most mis-sold firearms out there. Often enough the snub nosed .38 is sold to people who want to have only "one" gun for their house or for the wife to "stick in her purse". While I disagree with the thought that its an "experts" gun I do think it is a poor choice for a non gun enthusiast.

In a world of plastic 19+1 9mms and 14+1 .45 acp pistols the five shot revolver is the derringer of the day. Albeit with good triggers and fine ammo. But every gun has its detraction's. For instance a Glock will always be plastic. Its still a very good gun, but its plastic.

But if we accept the limitations, and train and shoot and yes even study the little chief's special we know at the end of the day we'll have a gun that we'll carry when we'd other wise beforced to not carry or suffer a larger gun.

On my own wish list of gun's "someone" would make is an Airweight with a 3inch barrel. The gun manufacturers in all their infinite wisdom miss the boat here. Barrels are easy to conceal so its actually ok to leave them a little longer, they don't have to be super short.

A very nice part of a double action back up piece is that in a worst case scenario you can hand it to a second person who may be gunless. There is no safety to slip, no slides to rack.

The Wife and I just returned from a week in the mountains in Colorado. In the hopes of getting in a little shooting and for the sake of security I packed "only" three guns. My Colt Combat Commander, a lever action Marlin 1894 (.357) and the little airweight. I liked knowing that when we went for a couple of day hikes I handed the little holstered Smith to her and said "stuff this in your day pack just in case." it was ready to go if need be.

My own Smith & Wesson 442 I bought used and it has seen its fair share of travel and has been worn in ankle rigs, small of the backs holsters, and thunderwear,but mostly when I carry its in my waistband without a holster.

It's an old school model 442 that isn't rated for +P use and its barrel isn't even 2inches long. It doesn't have crimson trace grips (which I wouldn't mind) and in fact the front sight is painted white with (honest) WhiteOut that I re-touch every four or five months. I've worn it to barbeque's, weddings, funerals, church, bible studies and Playboy parties and while I hope I never have to left with only one gun I can say this a snubnose five shot J frame would be in the top three of guns I'll never give up.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Five for sure

Some years ago I was working a client and we were jogging down South Beach in Miami one fine morning and we were chatting back and forth about my line of work when he stopped and said "why aren't you carrying a gun?" I replied that I was in fact carrying a snub nose .38 (see above), a full set up reloads and a Benchmade folding knife. Given the fact that all I had on was tennis shoes and black swimming trunks with my t-shirt tied around my waist I could see he had doubts. So we trotted around the back of a store and I showed him that I was wearing thunder wear ala a crotch holster. He laughed and appreciated my thoroughness as well as my preparedness.

When I was at the ripe old age of 22 I attended a three day shooting seminar with one day being covered by Bert Duvernay who was then director Smith & Wesson shooting Academy. As we all gathered on the range and belted on guns and magazine pouches I noticed the instructor had something different than the rest of us. A very small gun, precisely a snub nose Smith in a kydex belt holster. As embarrassed as I am to say this I snickered because after all I was belting on my Colt Combat Elite 1911 (I'm still shaking my head as I write this embarrassed at my ignorance) and lets be honest I "knew" a thing or two about guns. After all I had been shooting pistols since I was 12, a member of the NRA for the same amount of time and had an annual subscription to Guns and Ammo. And someone actually had certified me as a PPS (Personal Protection Specialist), so that meant I knew everything. Right?

But this Bert guy was a crafty fellow. After we ran some holster and el presidente drills (three targets two shots each) and were filling pretty good about ourselves (a whole seven yards). Burt said to the effect "Big guns are great. We all have 'em and they work great when we are wearing a jacket but what do we do if a client is at the beach or its t-shirt weather in general. Your 1911s, SiG 228s and H&K USPs are gonna get left somewhere else. Or you can carry a smaller gun, more concealed.

Then as if on cue someone said "yeah but they aren't as accurate." (this was not me). Bert with out skipping a beat turned, drew and quickly and I mean q-u-i-c-k-l-y fired a Smith 442 from ranges of seven to fifteen yards five shots on three targets.

Two-Two-One.

He snapped in a quick reload and went in reverse order of One-Two-Two from fifteen to seven yards.

Re-holstered his Snub Nose and said "They aren't as accurate...or (graciously) we aren't as accurate. Because by "we" Bert didn't mean himself. He had in every case made double taps on each target that easily went into an index card, or even a poker card.

Now granted I'm sure Bert has worn out some guns in his life from all that drilling, but that was the proof in the pudding of how and why he could do that.

But there was another instance in my life where a snubnose left a lasting impression. I was all of about 19 and was attending a June wedding reception in St. Louis' trendy Central West End with a former girl friend. Sparing you the boring details there was also at the reception an Army Special Forces Sergeant in attendance and he and I were chatting it up when we decided to catch a smoke outside. It was around sundown and we began walking down the street talking. When we were approached by an individual asking for a light. He then produced a small Beretta Jetfire in .25acp and asked for our wallets. Now why he thought it was a good idea to do this I don't know because the good Sergeant was built like a brick shit house to start with (I was built like a skinny 19 year old). But attempt to mug us he did.

Now the Sarge was talking slow and easy to this miscreant and opened up his sport coat to reach for his wallet and instead quicker than I have seen since drew a snubnose .38 (bodyguard model to be exact) and slammed the barrel against this guy's forehead. Asking for the gun which he handed over....and then he asked for the man's wallet. Mugging the mugger. He then pushed the man backwards with the gun leaving...I kid you not....a circular indentation on the man's head.

To my own credit I stood there like a slack jawed fool.

The Sergeant then uttered some words of wisdom I have never forgotten. Shoving the small Smith back into his waistband he said "Some people think the snubnose .38 is too small, but I completely disagree."