Category Archives: Weapons Usage and Employment

The DA/SA Pistol, Reconsidered

At LuckyGunner’s blog the LuckyGunner Lounge, Chris Baker has been running a series of really good articles on traditional DA/SA pistols and how he’s recently made the change to DA/SA after going striker fired for a while.

Chris Baker firing-beretta

While we call them “articles,” they’re really informational and instructional videos; but Chris and LuckyGunner present the full transcripts of the videos, which is a beautiful thing.  A video can show you, but if what you want is the words, you can read a lot faster than it takes to watch the vid. The way they set it up, you can pick your preferred learning method. ‘S’all good!

So far, Chris has presented three parts, which may be the whole thing for all we know; the first covers general double-action history.

The double action autos got to be pretty popular in the 20th century and various designs were used by Beretta, Smith and Wesson, Sig, CZ, and a lot of other gun companies.

And you probably know the rest of the story. In the 1980s, the American US military ditched the 1911 and adopted the double action Beretta M9. And then when police departments around the country started switching from revolver to semi-autos in the 80s and 90s, at least at first, most departments adopted double action semi-autos.

And then a few years later, Glock came along and shook things up.

His basic reason for defecting from the striker-fired camp, he tells us in the second part, on why he switched, is safety:

if you mess up and get on the trigger too early — which happens a lot to people under stress — or if you think you need to shoot someone and then realize you don’t, the length of travel of the double action trigger gives you an extra split second to correct your course of action before you put a bullet somewhere it doesn’t belong.

Double action pistols are also safer when it comes to holstering the gun. This is probably the most dangerous thing we do with our handguns, and it’s when a lot of accidents happen. With a double action pistol, you can put your thumb on the hammer after you de-cock, and that way, it’s impossible for the gun to discharge if you accidentally leave your finger on the trigger or you get a strap or a piece of shirt caught in the trigger guard. And if you don’t remember to de-cock the gun or thumb the hammer, then you’re really just a pound or two of pressure away from where you’d be with a striker fired gun anyway.

One reason cop shops went in for DA/SA in a big way in the 1980s is that it let you have a gun ready to fire without any fiddling, but with a long enough first-shot trigger pull that only intentional shots would be fired. Cops being cops, some of them from time to time found a way to outflank the idiot-proofing, but they’d done that with DA revolvers, too, and a DA revolver is about as safe a gun as you’re going to get without molding it out of Play-Doh.

A second reason, one that mattered to the military but not to police who generally use new ammunition, was that a DA pistol gave you a second poke at a dud primer. You will see this often mentioned in early-1980s documents, especially ones written by people with military connections. That’s probably because at the time we were still firing 1944 and 1945 headstamped ammunition from WWII production! After the adoption of the M9, the Army quickly ran through its supply of ammo that had only been feeding SOF secondary demands (like MP5s and foreign weapons training).

In the third part, on learning to use the DA/SA trigger, Chris says:

It’s only been about six months since I started the transition from primarily using striker fired pistols to using double actions for all of my personal self-defense guns, so I am by no means an expert. But I feel like I’ve started to get the hang of it, and I’ve had some good teachers, so I’m going to share a few tips that have helped me out with shooting double actions over the last few months.

The first challenge is the double action trigger itself. In order to master this, you have to actually shoot the gun double action. Some people are so intimidated by the longer and heavier trigger pull that they never actually shoot the gun this way. It’s possible for you to go to the range and just rack in the first round and now your hammer is cocked, and you could fire the whole magazine single action and never actually have to fire double action.

But if you own a double action pistol for self-defense then you have to have the discipline to decock the pistol and shoot both triggers so you can learn to run the gun the way you would if you had to draw it and shoot to defend your life. I decock the pistol after every string of fire and every drill and I never thumb cock the hammer. Whenever the gun comes off target, I decock. This is a good habit to get into anyway just for the sake of safety, but it also forces you to have to shoot that double action trigger.

There are several different variants of decock and safety on DA pistols. The Beretta 92S/92F/92SF/M9, which has a safety loosely based on Walther practice, is a bit awkward, thumbwise, for one-handed decocking. (The 92G has a decocker, which is what Wilson Combat does on their custom Berettas, and it’s nice but still in that out-of-the-way place. There are also DAO-only Berettas 92D and 96D, and all Beretta lockwork from at least the FS on up is interchangeable). We dunno what the polymer Berettas that Chris seems to prefer work like; just never tried one. SIGs have a separate safety and decocking lever, which is very handy, you just have to practice enough to make decocking second nature. CZs have to be different, and have one of two safety arrangements: a non-decocking, 1911-style safety that requires a careful manual hammer drop on a live round to decock, or a very nice decocker in the safety position.

A CZ cocked and locked. This was also possible on the very first Beretta, M92. The M92S with slide-mounted decocking safety soon replaced it.

A compact CZ cocked and locked. This was also possible on the very first DA Beretta service pistol, the Model 92. The M92S with slide-mounted decocking safety soon replaced it.

What works with you depends on the size of your hand, and how diligently you want to train on a complex system. People who are casual about shooting and indifferent towards practice might be better off with a striker-fired gun on which the trigger weight and throw never change. But striker fired guns have their own issues.

Having grown up with both SA (1911, et al.) and DA/SA (P.38) autopistols around, and going through the “wondernine” 1911->DA/SA conversion when that was a thing, we didn’t consider that many young shooters didn’t have hands-on with this system, but Chris sure did, and that’s what makes his articles especially valuable to today’s shooters. Maybe they’ll think better of those of us who still shoot these coelacanths of the range.

Hey, Dude, Where’s My Guns?

burglarThat was the question a Sanford, FL detective was asking when he went back to his Ford Explorer after a softball game and found his back window smashed open — and two guns, his cuff key, body armor and badge gone.

D’oh. The smash-and-grab theft was one of two at the park that day, but the other guy didn’t have guns locked in his car (and if he wasn’t a cop, would have gotten in trouble if he had… since the guy who armed a criminal is a cop, he faces no consequences more serious office mockery). Nope, what the thieves got from the other victim was a diaper bag. (So much for our master plan of hiding our guns inside a diaper bag).

After shattering the window, someone grabbed the detective’s department-issued Sig Sauer pistol, his personally-owned Remington 870 shotgun, body armor, a handcuff key, a stun-gun cartridge, radio microphone and his law-enforcement badge. The items have a combined estimated value of more than $3,400, the report states.

The Orlando Sentinel rounds up other local cop theft victims:

Guns are a popular item among thieves who target law-enforcement officials.

Earlier this month, thieves robbed a retired FBI agent of his credentials and gun while he napped inside his car outside a business in Altamonte Springs. And in a 6-month span last year, there were at least three separate incidents of guns disappearing from law enforcement vehicles in Central Florida.

Two the incidents involved Orange County sheriff’s deputies and the other a Winter Park police officer. It’s unclear if any of the weapons stolen in those cases were found.

Don’t worry about it. They’ll turn up in gang murders. Hopefully it’s only the gang members who get murdered, which is just Evolution in Action® (“Evolution in Action®” is a registered trademark of Niven and Pournelle).

While it’s fun making fun of law enforcement, nothing feels like being ripped off, except perhaps being raped. And the biggest reason we have such a high level of theft, apart from living in a low trust society produced by unassimilated immigration, and racial and ethnic identity politics, is that punishment for the thieves is neither swift, nor sure, nor sufficient. We still think malum in se felony sentences should be simplified to 10-20-Life, with no parole, no probation, no plea bargains. A second arrest while on pretrial release should nullify pretrial release rights for life. Get the pathogens out of the bloodstream, and the patient gets healthy.

Then, there’s this little two-liner from the Sentinel:

How often law enforcement vehicles are burglarized isn’t known, as agencies rarely alert the public.

Sanford police released information about the incident on Saturday as a public safety notice, saying a statement that residents “should be aware of the possibility of police impersonation.”

Good on Sanford for doing the right thing in this case, and really, it’s better to get this kind of news out in public with your own spin on it, and look like you give a damn, rather than look like you’re covering up.

Some More Lessons of Ukraine

We were going to have one document, but that seems like it would be shorting you.  So there’s a little more today.

The Battle of Debaltseve

This 2015 battle was a Russian attempt to do something that their ancestors, the Red Army of the Great Patriotic War, did thousands of times: reduce a salient into a pocket, and then reduce the pocket. The failure of the Russian offensive at that time let to an unstable cease-fire. This is a Ukrainian docmuentary about the battle (obviously, one-sided). It’s mostly in Ukrainian with English subtitles. (Some foreigners — Americans, including Phil Karber, co-author of yesterday’s report, and a Frenchman — speak in English).

At one point, the Russian commander on the ground insisted that the Ukrainians were encircled, and the Chief of the Russian General Staff reported that to the Russian President, who then told the public. Problem was, no one had told the Ukrainians. The Russians agreed to a ceasfire, but it was a ruse. At the appointed hour, the Russians celebrated the cease-fire with a massive offensive — artillery barrage and ground assaults. The Ukrainians planned a withdrawal.

In something that has never happened before, the withdrawal plan leaked because a parliamentarian posted it on Facebook. The plan did not get to the Russian forces in time to hinder the first withdrawal columns, but later columns were hit by the redoubtable Russian artillery. The small unit commanders had to hastily reroute their withdrawal.

The results of the battle, then, are mixed, despite the Ukraine putting the best possible shine on it. In the end, the Ukrainians withdrew and prevented the Russian attempt to encircle them and defeat them in detail. But the Russians wound up in possession of the salient’s burnt-out ground, and the surviving civilian inhabitants, if any. This was a common outcome on the Eastern Front in 1942-44, as better-led Nazi units frequently wriggled out of Soviet encirclement attempts, but the tactical superiority of the German Wehrmacht availed them little against the sheer Red numbers in the end.

 Lessons Learned from the Russian Ukrainian War

This file is a draft of Phil Karber’s lessons learns presented at a Historical LL Workshop last July.

rus-ukr-lessons-draft.pdf

If WeaponsMan.com gets hit by a truck, or jammed by little green men in an EW van with Cyrillic labels on its knobs and dials, at press time it was also hosted here:

https://prodev2go.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/rus-ukr-lessons-draft.pdf

Karber identifies several “surprises”:

  1. First, the war itself was completely unexpected.
  2. Second, Western neglect of Russian “New Generation Warfare” has come home to roost, and this Russian doctrinal concept is not a mirror of any Western idea or doctrine, but something that must be understood on its own terms.
  3. Lack of western, even, interest in the military aspects of the war.

Karber observed parts of the war from the Ukrainian side and makes no pretense of being an impartial observer. Factor that in to his analyses and conclusions. Principal conclusions include:

  • This war, like the Russo-Japanese war in 1905, the Spanish Civil War in 1936, and the Yom Kippur war in 1973, is a glimpse of what potentially is to come.
  • However, the US has held American observers back from observing as was done in the 20th Century wars.
  • It’s only a proxy war on one side, because the West is not supporting Ukraine much. Despite that, Karber observes four things he thinks might be trends (while warning about the risk of perceiving any change as a trend):
    1. UAVs everywhere, always;
    2. A revolution in artillery and other indirect-fire lethality;
    3. ATGMs vs. Armor;
    4. Weakness of the Infantry Fighting Vehicle and other light armored vehicles.

Naturally, each development has met a counter. For example, when the Russians want to violate a cease-fire, they take down ceasefire monitoring drones of the OSCE using electronic warfare.

Of these, perhaps the most interesting are the artillery developments. Like World War I, 85% of casualties are caused by artillery (on both sides; the Ukrainians are not rolling over for their former slavemasters). Karber discusses the Western and US unilateral disarmament on DPICM warheads. Russian artillery trends include:

  • Multiple-rocket-launcher area fires. Russian force balance has changed from one MRL system to four artillery tubes to a 3:4 ratio: in effect, a trebling of rocket artillery over the last 30 years. Russian MRLS tactics deemphasize the precision strike favored by the US and NATO.
  • Both sides use the 2S1 Gvozdika SP artillery piece unconventionally in direct-fire mode — The Russians

in the dual role of both indirect Howitzer and as an assault gun. In this latter direct fire role it is used as an over-watch system targeting at a range of 1 to 6 km Ukrainian strong points and suppressing anti-tank defenses. In interviews with the author, numerous Ukrainian anti-tank missiles and anti-tank gun operators have noted their reticence in opening fire against Russian armor because of the expectation that they themselves will immediately be targeted by the Gvozdika.

…and the Ukrainians, as an analogue of the World War II tank destroyer — a non-tank light vehicle that fights tanks by stealth and speed (because it can’t go toe to toe).

Other weapons, including BM-21 Grad rocket launchers, are also employed deliberately, at least from time to time, in direct-fire mode.

  • Decentralization of Artillery. At least on the Russian side, Artillery batteries are being task-organized into tank and motorized-rifle battalions.
  • Increased Range of Artillery. This can be decisive in counterbattery fire. It’s no fun being outranged (as US forces in I Corps in Vietnam were by Russian-made M1946 130mm guns in the DMZ).
  • Importance of Counter-Battery Radar. The Russians use their latest technology. President Obama promised our equivalent, the AN/TPQ-36, to Ukraine, but reneged. Instead the US provided a 5000-meter-max-range anti-mortar system, one with an Achilles’s Heel:

Ukraine’s counter-mortar experience should teach the U.S. and NATO a valuable lesson. Because it is an active emitter, the Russians are able to accurately identify its location; and because it is a towed system and a computer requires a half-hour shut-down, it cannot be moved rapidly and thusly is highly vulnerable to the very counter-fire it is intended to suppress.

The U.S. supplied 20 counter-mortar radar. At least 20% of which have been lost: 2 lost to counter- fire; and 2 lost in the overrun of the Debaltseve encirclement, one of which is now being used by separatists against the Ukrainian 24th Mechanized Brigade

Kaber faults, in part, “seriously flawed” American policy set at the highest levels, which is what happens when you put policy in the hands of van drivers and campaign speechwriters, and people selected primarily for their sex or race.

His conclusions are bleak: if we’re reading him right, the increased lethality of modern weapons gives the advantage, for now, to defensive fortifications and positional warfare.

Or, prepare for World War I phase II.

Karber and Potomac Foundation colleagues have prepared seven more reports, of which two are available to the public:

  1. Gen. (ret.) Wesley Clark & Dr. P.A. Karber, “Non-Lethal Military Aid to Ukraine,” (8 April 2014);
  2. Dr. P.A. Karber, Beyond Minsk II: Prospects for a New Russian Offensive (presentation), (12 May 2014).

Links are as provided by the Potomac Foundation. We have the .pdfs should the Little Green Men take the PF off the net.

Ukrainian Conflict and Electronic Warfare

Joe Gould at Defense News noted in 2015 that one area where the modern Russian army has soundly beaten Ukraine is in the electronic realm.

“Our soldiers are doing the training with the Ukrainians and we’ve learned a lot from the Ukrainians,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges. “A third of the [Ukrainian] soldiers have served in the … combat zone, and no Americans have been under Russian artillery or rocket fire, or significant Russian electronic warfare, jamming or collecting — and these Ukrainians have. It’s interesting to hear what they have learned.”

Hodges acknowledged that US troops are learning from Ukrainians about Russia’s jamming capability, its ranges, types and the ways it has been employed. He has previously described the quality and sophistication of Russian electronic warfare as “eye-watering.”

Russia maintains an ability to destroy command-and-control networks by jamming radio communications, radars and GPS signals, according to Laurie Buckhout, former chief of the US Army’s electronic warfare division, now CEO of the Corvus Group. In contrast with the US, Russia has large units dedicated to electronic warfare, known as EW, which it dedicates to ground electronic attack, jamming communications, radar and command-and-control nets.

The Russian EW campaign is not conducted in a vacuum, but coordinated with other arms and services.

In a fight, Russia’s forces can hinder a target’s ability to respond to, say, an artillery attack, allowing them to fire on an enemy with impunity. Ukrainian forces would be unable to coordinate a defense against incoming rockets and missiles, or release counter battery fire.

“If your radars don’t see incoming fire, you can’t coordinate counterfire,” Buckhout said.

This capability was once developed by the USA as well, but was among the many big-war capabilities abandoned for the “peace dividend,” the ongoing redirection of national resources to the comfort and benefit of the idle. This change has been reinforced by fifteen years of combat in a low-threat environment against an enemy without sophistication.

For example, even the Army’s highest EW priority today, “Multifunctional Electronic Warfare (MFEW), is intended to provide an offensive electronic attack capability.” But that is not a capability aimed at a peer competitor — instead, it will be able to degrade low-level un-hardened communications, “to jam cell phone, satellite and GPS signals.” That is, if the legendary military procurement system can bring it in somewhere near on time and on budget. And
“on time” is — we are not making this up — 2027.

This war is a valuable instructional period, as was the Spanish Civil War, yet it may go neglected by the institutional US Army the same way that war was. There may be no benefit for us by the lessons that US “trainers” are learning from their Ukrainian “students.” Indeed, it seems like most of the useful learning is coming our way. It can’t be used, immediately, with a national command authority that is focused on the military as a tool for social engineering, and that treats defense issues as an opportunity to surrender, apologize, or surrender and apologize.

One of the Ukrainians’ skills, surviving from their Soviet days, is an ability to operate even when under EW attack, even when denied the electronic spectrum. That’s very interesting to the USA, which is completely spectrum-dependent, yet has taken few measures to be prepared to seize and defend the spectrum. It certainly shines another light on the Soviet-era insistence on pre-coordinated, precise plans.

Other Ukrainian improvisations involve use of artillery in direct-fire AT overwatch (which the Russians are also doing, so it’s unclear who did it first), and sophisticated use of counterbattery radars for reconnaissance.

Conclusions

Russian operations as early as the Georgia War in 2008, and including the invasion of Ukraine and to a lesser extent operations in support of Russian client Assad in Syria, have showcased the emergence of a new and more capable Russian Army. Today’s Russian Army owes more to Russia’s historic mastery of chess than to its one-time production of ill-trained peasant mass levies.

There are still deep vulnerabilities to be exploited, but the US DOD and US Army do not seem to have the leadership to do so, or to prepare to do so in the immediate future.

Some American Thoughts on Russia’s “New Generation War.”

russian_rangerettes

You’ve come a long way, baby! Russian movie portrayal of the Red Army.

Both of these documents were sent to us by a retired senior special operations officer who is employed in an influential position in operations planning. The authors of the first (and more recent) document recently did a stand up in front of, if we have this right, Joint Ops at the Pentagon. So you’re learning here what American colonels, generals, and senior policy civilians are learning about our Russian rivals.

“Rival” is, we think, the right word; so far, Russia sees itself as in competition with the democratic West, and not entirely at war. In fact, Russian leadership, which was Soviet junior leadership during the Cold War, seems intent on a new Cold War with the same broad spectrum of rivalries: political, economic, propaganda, and military via proxy wars. We have not seen a return to terror sponsorship on the level of  the pre-1992 KGB and GRU, but we can’t tell whether that’s because: today’s Russia actually eschews this as a tactic, either on moral or practical grounds; today’s Russia is better at doing it undetected than the USSR was; or, increased surveillance of terrorists and their sponsors heightens risks for state sponsors. (If we had to pick one we’d go with #1, Russia is not sponsoring terrorists, because Russian policy does not permit that at this time. But we don’t have evidence for that).

The first article is a nine-page extract from Army Magazine, the usually low-value trade mag of the Association of the US Army, an organization that young lieutenants are dragooned into joining. But it’s by two serious guys, Professor Phil Karber, a reformed Marine who’s been a heavyweight in US Army ground forces strategy for over 40 years, and LTC Josh Thibeault, a typically overeducated (heh) Operations Analyst.

(U)Russia’sNew-GenerationWarfare(ARMYMagazine,Jun16)

(Note that we made three small corrections in the file, a typo in the filename, removed a blank tenth page, and ran it through our own OCR. If you are planning on sending this around anonymously, get the Army version from the Early Bird or “they” can trace you to WeaponsMan). Here’s an edited excerpt:

Russia represents a real threat, to real allies, on real terrain. Though Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions might be unknowable, we do know what his game plan is.
It’s called “new-generation warfare,” and it targets Western weaknesses, not strengths. New-generation warfare differs from Western views of hybrid conflict in that it combines both low-end, hidden state involvement with high-end, direct, even braggadocio superpower involvement.

Russian new-generation warfare is manifested in five component elements:

– Political subversion.
– Proxy sanctuary.
– Intervention.
– Coercive deterrence.
– Negotiated manipulation.

Contrary to Western politicians, the Russian leadership understands these military options and plays them like a Stradivarius.

Karber and Thibeault do examine each of those in depth, and review such newly evident Russian competencies (many of which, in fact, the old Soviet Army was not at all weak on) and their consequences for US Army RDT&E, strategy and doctrine. These areas including electronic warfare, unmanned aerial systems (new, as is the way the Russian Army uses them), tank and IFV developments, air and missile defense.

Russian artillery is particularly well-developed. Always a historic strength, new technology has made this artilllery more effective, accurate and lethal, and Karber and Thibeault project a bit of what might happen to American units if they were hit as two Ukrainian mech battalions were hit two years ago, in July 2014. (The authors don’t mention this, but the units were moving as agreed with the Russians under a cease-fire agreement).

Russia launched fire strikes with long-range artillery and multiple rocket launchers employing top-attack munitions and thermobaric warheads against two Ukrainian mechanized battalions in the open. This intensely concentrated fire strike lasted only a few minutes yet inflicted high casualties and destroyed most armored vehicles, rendering both battalions combat-ineffective.

The T-64 improved Bulat tanks of the Ukrainian 1st Armored Brigade burn, 13 July 14

The T-64 improved Bulat tanks of the Ukrainian 1st Armored Brigade burn, 13 July 14.

In combat situations like this, when up to 30 percent of a unit is killed or incapacitated, command and control breaks down and the unit is unable to treat its own wounded, much less reconstitute itself and continue its mission. The Army needs to develop reconstitution teams at the brigade level that will re-establish command and control, provide triage and other medical support, and quickly coordinate reconstitution. Likewise, units at all levels must frequently train in mass-casualty scenarios.

It’s an interesting idea, but the reconstitution team can’t work as long as the artillery continues.

Needless to say, fifteen years of desultory low-intensity warfare against rifle- and RPG-armed primitives in plastic flip-flops has not prepared the United States Army to fight against a competitor like this. (And what is a Russian capability today is a Chinese capability tomorrow, and a global second-tier state’s capability in months or a year. We are not the only ones studying these battles).

Meanwhile, we have a leadership adept at social engineering, but incompetent at war planning or even weapons procurement. What the Russians did to those two Ukrainian battalions, the US can’t do, because the US has unilaterally disarmed from thermobaric and cluster munitions. The article’s conclusion on that:

Russian artillery maintains an approximate 3:1 size advantage over the Army’s artillery, and they have a capability advantage as well with their use of dual-purpose improved conventional munitions and submunitions. For the Army to be competitive, the DoD must repeal then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ 2008 directive to comply with the provisions of the Ottawa Treaty, which resulted in the removal of all submunitions from the Army’s inventory.

Note that, while Gates is often thought of one of Obama’s lousy defense officials, when he made this lousy decision he was still one of Bush’s lousy defense officials. This is a defense problem, not a partisan problem.

One more thought: military planners love infantry fighting vehicles. You know who doesn’t? Infantrymen. After seeing what protection a BMP provides, Ukrainians ride on top. In Chechnya, Russians rode on top. In Vietnam, American mech infantry rode on top. None of these things can resist artillery fires. Which right now the US unilaterally has disarmed itself of, believing that navigation satellites (subject to other Russian and other weaponry) and air supremacy were permanent conditions of US deployments.

And one final thought, on aviation. The Russians swept the Ukrainian fast movers and helicopters from the sky. Flying this high could be deadly (20 August, 2014):

So could flying even lower:

Ukrainian helicopters were reduced to flying 3 to 5 meters above ground or treetop level to avoid the larger surface-to-air missiles from the self-propelled systems, but ambush teams of two to five manportable air defense systems, cued by the integrated air defense network, shot them down. Without adequate suppression of enemy air defense assets or hardened bases and defenses, Ukraine was powerless to stop this.

Some other interesting tactics have been emerging, too, but this is a start. As we said, there are two articles; the other tomorrow or Thursday (we have to hunt it up).

Student Filmmakers Mistaken for Active Shooters

Last week, a bunch of kids with airsoft toys that look very like real guns were making a student film at their school in Tustin, California. How much like real guns do they look? Real enough that the kids probably don’t even grasp just how close they came to being capped by cops. Behold:

Tustin Cops Fake Gun Photo

After everybody’s pulse rate got back down into the normal range, the cops had a talk with the would-be Tarantinos, so that this film didn’t end like one of Quentin’s bloodbaths, except with buckets of real blood.

By the way, in the image above, two of the guns are the kids’ airsofts. One is one of the cops’ patrol rifle that he responded with. (You can probably figure it out). The cops’ whole statement:

We are currently clearing a call of several subjects with rifles at one of our schools. Ultimately we determined the subjects were local high school students making a film and the rifles were only replicas. Neither the school or the city of Tustin had any knowledge of this incident until we received the radio call. This situation could have turned tragic. Parents, please use caution when allowing your children access to replica firearms. These situations have turned deadly across our nation. The photo shows two of the rifles we encountered on this call. The third rifle in the photo is one of our real rifles that we responded with. We included it to show you how realistic these weapons can appear, especially in darkness.

Really, a kid can get hurt playing with the wrong toys. But if you deny kids any engagement with real guns under adult guidance, they’re going to develop their own knowledge under peer guidance. That seems to be the antithesis of a good idea.

A hearty hooah to the Tustin cops for not shooting anybody. Can you imagine how they’d crucify the poor cop that nailed one of these kids? But look again at the guns — it would be hard to fault a cop for jumping to what turned out to be a wrong conclusion.

Sometimes the best thing is to sit weapons tight and develop the situation.

Don’t Bring a Metal Pipe to a Gunfight

steel pipeWhy not? Well, because the guys with the guns are going to win.

Just another night on the beat in Pensacola, FL. And the cops catch a glimpse of what just may be Judgment Juice in action.

It unfolded Sunday night in Pensacola. A police news release says the man was driving a truck with several traffic cones stuck underneath. He initially refused to stop and continued driving recklessly until finally stopping.

Naturally, they wanted to stop him and have a talk about his beverage selections that evening. But he didn’t seem very interested in talking.

The Pensacola News Journal reports the man got out of the truck and started swinging the pipe, hitting one officer. Another officer fired his weapon at the man. The injured officer and the suspect were taken to a hospital.

via Man hits officer with metal pipe, is shot by Fla. police.

After the hospital, of course, the would-be pipe hitter got up close and personal with another form of round metal material, the bars of the cell door he was locked behind.

He fought the law, and the law… well, everybody knows how that song goes.

The suspect is going to live, with a worse than usual hangover (and a longer than usual stint in pokey).

The officer is going to live, with a better than usual war story.

A School System Full of Weapons

(Not this school system's pile. This is a file pile).

(Not this school system’s pile. This is a file pile).

“A School System Full of Weapons”? Actually, that describes what we had growing up, where one of the teachers might bring in his Springfield and some old gear to illustrate something about the First World War, or a couple of us might have squirrel guns in our cars for after school. All the guys carried a pocket knife and a lighter.

Today, they’d probably throw us so far back in the school brig that we’d have to be fed by Wrist Rocket. And actually fire the teachers (but keep the pervy ones, because Vibrant Diversity® FTW). Then, they didn’t have a school brig. See what Progress® gets ya?

So that leaves us a little unsure how to react to this tale in the Daily Mail. It’s hard to get inside the minds of the uncredited reporter there; we suppose it’s a steady job, but he wants to be a paperback writer. Anyway, we’re not sure whether the best angle on this is:

  1. the sheer gun-fearing wussiedom of the schools;
  2. the degree to which Britons are aghast that Yanks have eeeeewwww guns. (We can assure our UK readers that they are not slimy, merely smooth and cool to the touch);
  3. the fact that all this keys off a notoriously mobbed-up union, the Teamsters, getting twaumatized by weapons in the schools (we’ll believe the Teamsters have turned over a new leaf when they give up the mortal remains of purged capo Jimmy Hoffa);
  4. the fact that the famously-violent union supposedly twaumatized by all these guns supported Andrew Cuomo and his SSAFE Act, which was supposed to usher in the era of the New Soviet Man or something;
  5. The laziness of reporters, which we bring full circle by writing a report based entirely on a Daily Mail report which is based entirely on a New York Post report which is based entirely on sniveling provided by the union goon. At least we’re self-aware; not sure if the paperback writers in Fleet Street are, also. If so, Troll Level: Journeyman at least.

Anyway, here’s the Mail, with some interspersed snark:

Terrifying haul of 2,000 revolvers, handguns, meat cleavers and daggers confiscated from children as young as 11 in NY schools in just 10 months… and the NYPD are trying to keep the problem a secret.

Um, revolvers are handguns. Would you write “Horses, animals, vegetables and minerals…”? Well, you actually mightn’t, but they very well might. It is the Daily Mail, after all.

1,751 guns, knives and other weapons were confiscated from children in the city’s schools between July 1, 2015, and May 8 of this year.

Didn’t he just say 2,000? He did (look in the previous quote). Don’t know how to break it to the Math Is Hard Barbie reporter here, but 1751 ≠ 2000.

That is a rise of more than quarter from the same time last year

Forgive us if we find your estimate a bit dubious, without the underlying number. But it might be right, as the Ferguson Effect has many major-metro cops “going fetal,” to borrow Rahm Emanuel’s evocative condemnation of his own PD; a lot of places have crime up a quarter, and it’s a toss-up whether Rahm or De Blasio despises his cops more.

Shocking figures were released as school safety agents were thanked

Greg Floyd, the Teamsters local leader. Note union/Cuomo campaign signs.

Greg Floyd, the Teamsters local leader quoted in the article. Note union/Cuomo campaign signs.

The passive voice here hides the fact that the “school safety agent” is a neither-fish-nor-fowl level of city employee who isn’t a teacher, isn’t a cop, but is very well paid for a guy or gal whose occupational requirement is ability to fog  mirror. (Like TSA, but the upper crust thereof).

Revolvers, 9mm handguns, meat cleavers and daggers.

These are just some of the weapons schoolchildren are bringing into classrooms in New York City on a daily basis.

Boys and girls, some as young as 11, have taken them out to use during fights while others have used them to target other youngsters.

According to the New York Post, the dangerous items have been confiscated by faculty at schools, some of which don’t have metal detectors.

OK, now they’re admitting that the whole thing is really the Post’s report. Halfway down the page. (Not that the Post, either, is likely to employ someone who can identify a gun three times out of five at five paces).

An investigation has revealed how a huge number of dangerous weapons are being taken into New York schools on a daily basis. This revolver was found on a student at M169 on the Upper East Side.

NY School Revolver

“An investigation has revealed.” Hell of a way to say, “Union representatives, who are looking for a lever in contract negotiations, handed us a prefab story…” The junk revolver appears to be a die-cast zinc el cheapo, and the Made in Italy origin statement was enough for us to track it down. It’s a close cousin of this cheap Italian .22 blank starter pistol, the Mondial Model 1060, if it isn’t exactly the same thing. The one at the link sold at auction … for a penny. If the Mondial name was ever applied to a real firearm, news of such has yet to arrive in Googlestan.

I bet they don’t submit these to trace, for fear they’d raise Time to Crime numbers and undermine the push for New Laws To Punish Those Who Didn’t Commit Any of These Crimes.

This .38 caliber pistol was found loaded with a single bullet at PS 40 high school in Queens. Safety officials say they are being threatened with punishment if they release information about weapons being taken from kids.

NY School Hi-Point

Ah, yes, the mighty Hi-Point. Not only that, it had… drumroll please… “a single bullet.” (The guy would mean cartridge, if he knew what that was. Or maybe he does and has too little faith in the Mail readership. Of course, it can’t be an edgy report without an edged weapon, too:

NY School Dagger

This dagger was confiscated at Newtown High School in Queens. It was one of 1,751 weapons seized from schoolchildren between July 1, 2015, and May 8 of this year.

Ah, yes. The Mall Ninja Store blue-light special, this. Actually the deadliest weapon of the three, but like the Hi-Point with “one bullet,” it’s probably only good for one shot. “Hey, let’s put some weakening holes in here!” — said no knifesmith, ever.

Hard to imagine the blood of Churchill and Nelson and Shackleton running cold over this pathetic display, but evidently it does. One hopes Alfred the Great is not looking down at the moment, or he might be moved to weep.

But we finally do get to some numbers:

Between July 1, 2015, and May 8 of this year, safety agents and cops recovered a total of 1,751 guns, knives and other weapons in schools.

That’s a rise in 26 percent from the same period last school year, when 1,394 weapons were confiscated, according to data provided to the Post by the NYPD

Gregory Floyd, president of the safety agents union in the city, Teamsters Local 237, told the newspaper the NYPD are cracking down on people who tell the public about the weapons seized from youngsters.

Those who leak information to the press have also been threatened with docked vacation days.

Floyd told the Post: ‘The purpose is to intimidate and to make an example of them so other safety agents will be afraid to report crime.’

He added: ‘If there’s no information to report, (Mayor) de Blasio can come out with his skewed numbers that crime is down and schools are safe, and parents don’t get a true picture of what’s going on.

Now this makes sense in a twisted sort of a way.

‘We shouldn’t be in the secrecy business. We should be in the business of making sure weapons brought to school doesn’t happen.’

Well, with that command of grammar, he’d better stick with his union gig. Of course, we can’t expect too much from the guy, he’s probably a graduate of these same pathetic schools.

Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union told the Post: ‘It’s a cover-up, while putting the lives of our children and school staffs at risk.’

Families for Excellent Schools, an organization who has sued the NYPD for failing to protect their children at schools, says the latest statistics proves more weapons are being taken into schools on a daily basis.

Um, the police have no duty to protect anyone in particular. Established law, we’re afraid. And notice the reporter’s lapse into NYC Public School graduate grammar: “statistics proves.” Subject verb agrees should, no?

The NYPD defending its response to the seizures in a statement and insisting information that is ‘disseminated’ must be approved.

Then, the article shoots itself in the foot by announcing the following are “examples of dangerous weapons taken into New York schools in the last two months”. If you read them, you can see they’re more like “examples of dangerous weapons taken into New York schools in the last two months,” but this reporter’s innumeracy apparently extends to the differences between the various single-digit whole integers.

On March 15 – An 11-year-old boy sneaked a .38-caliber handgun loaded with one bullet into PS 40 in Jamaica, Queens. He was seen waving the gun at another student he had a beef with.

That’s the Hi-Point illustrated above. Note: the punk in question was eleven. Given New York’s attitude to crime and criminals, and the expected pace of medical advances, he could still be crimin’ in the 22nd century.

On March 17 – A 15-year-old student stashed a .38-caliber handgun in his backpack and smuggled it into York Early College Academy, a middle school in Jamaica. He was spotted flashing the revolver during a dispute with students in a stairwell.

This kid was Old School, with some cheesy alloy (Zamak strikes again?) .38 Smith knockoff, complete with round-noses and a shades-of-Joe-Colombo electrical taped grip (per criminal legend, defeats fingerprints). The Mail didn’t have the picture but the NY Post did:

loaded_gun_in_jhs_8_3_17_16

Seriously, that’s like a crime gun from 1966 that’s been in some kind of criminal time capsule for the last fifty years.

On March 22 – A 14-year-old boy at Dr. Gladstone H. Atwell Middle School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn took a 9mm pistol and two magazines of bullets in his backpack. When a dean questioned him about a prior fight with neighborhood kids, he admitted packing heat.

That’s this fine example of firearms technology, which appears to have been cared for appropriately:

NY School Jennings

It’s a “Jennings Nine,” made by the Southern California nest of junk-gun makers that anti-gunners have dubbed “the ring of fire.” Anybody who’s been a cop for a while has taken a Jennings or two into evidence, but the more common ones are the pocket pistols. Thing is, for all their use in crime, many tens of thousands of these kinds of cheap guns are used by people who can’t afford our tuned designer work of defensive art, but still have every right to defend themselves. Drive up the price of guns, and the only gainers are the criminals.

On March 29 – A 14-year-old student at Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports in Concourse Village in The Bronx pulled a steak knife on a 16-year-old boy.

We’ll go to the Post for this one:

steak_knife_urban_assembly_hs_3_29_16

We’re guessing that the “Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports in Concourse Village in The Bronx” sends more grads (and dropouts) to the NY DOC than to the NBA, NFL or MLB. And we wonder what sport in particular this young sport had in mind.

Now his mom’s one steak knife short. Think she’ll be mad when she finds out?

On April 4 – A 13-year-old boy reportedly threatened a female student with a .22-caliber revolver at M169 Robert F. Kennedy on the Upper East Side, then passed the gun to a friend.

That’s the cheesy zinc alloy revolver visible earlier in this report.

On April 8 – A 16-year-old boy was allegedly found with a medieval-style dagger at Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens. It was uncovered after a 17-year-old girl told authorities that he had put it to her neck.

That’s the mall-ninja toad stabber seen above.

And the soi-disant “students” have been expelled from school, charged, and convicted of SAFE Act violations, and sent to prison, right? Right? Anybody?

Don’t be silly. The law is meant to be used as a stick to beat gun-owners Upstate, not Downstate hood rat gangbangers in the school (and hood rat gangbanger wannabees, which is the feedstock of gangbanger production). It’s certainly not meant to be used on actual criminals. 

NY Post guns in schoolsClicking through to the Post’s story, which was the cover story (right), we see that Postie Susan Edelman, no more au courant on guns than her hoplophobic British opposite numbers, spins it differently:

These are the guns and knives Mayor de Blasio doesn’t want you to see.

A surging tide of weapons — including loaded revolvers, 9mm handguns, meat cleavers and daggers — has been confiscated this year from students in city schools, most of which do not have metal detectors.

But instead of praising unarmed school safety agents for grabbing the weapons, the NYPD is cracking down on them for alerting the press and public, according to Gregory Floyd, president of the agents union, Teamsters Local 237.

Ah, it’s all Bill De Blowfish’s fault. Have you ever noticed that for New Yorkers, especially New York media functionaries, the worst mayor in history is the one they have right now, compared to the one they had before him, who was second best — and the one they will support to replace this schmo, that next one is going to be the Best Mayor Evah.

Edelman is alarmed that only some schools have metal detectors, and that most of the weapons were seized in schools without. Amazingly, though, almost 700 weapons were seized in the schools with the detectors, making one wonder about those union dudes running. Here’s the number.

Of the weapons seized this academic year, 698 came from schools with metal detectors, the NYPD stats show. Students brought 1,053 weapons — 60 percent of the total — into schools unequipped with metal detectors.

The mayor is reporting crime in the schools is down, but it seems to be simply that juvenile criminals are not being charged.

Floyd also disputes the city Department of Education’s new discipline policy, which discourages student suspensions, and a pilot program to give “warning cards” to students for marijuana possession or “disorderly conduct” such as yelling, cursing, fighting and assaults. Some offenses previously might have warranted a criminal summons.

“In many cases, the children aren’t arrested, so the crime statistics are down, but it’s just not being reported,” Floyd said.

And we’ll close with a couple more of the little darlings’ playthings. The Post says of this catch:

On March 11, a safety agent at Fashion Industries HS in Chelsea found a 4-inch razor blade in a girl’s backpack. When she began to kick and scream, a report said, three agents restrained and handcuffed her before finding a 10½-inch meat cleaver in her bag.

NY School cleaver

That’s both of them in that grainy picture, the razor blade and the cleaver.  And then there’s this cleaver — it’s not the same cleaver, but its point of confiscation is unknown.

cleavergrover

Now against that, before you send your kids to the New York City Public Schools, you need to weigh the fact that these Dewey Factories prepare their students (at least the ones that survive to graduation) perfectly well to compete for the unskilled factory jobs of the 1890s and beyond, like at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory; or to work as slackjawed government clerks.

 

The Army and Self-Defense

Army LogoDavid French writes about, among other things, soldiers’ response to the Army’s beyond-lame, canned “anti-terrorist/force-protection” lecture that everyone must waste a training hour or two on per annum. AT/FP joins with SAEDA, SHARP, HR/EO, CYBERSEC and every other buzzword acronym that has been inflicted on the troops by some dullard who had the dumb luck to be the Chief of Staff’s Hudson High classmate or otherwise catch his ear, to form part of the general cacophony of “annual training requirements” which are at best orthogonal to, and more usually in opposition to, actual training for an actual mission.

In the light of Pournelle’s Law, every one of those mandatory annual briefings was emitted by one of the d-bags (or, more realistically, a team of the d-bags) whose focus is the organization, not the mission.

This waste is particularly excruciating in Reserve Component units, because they never scale down the chickenbleep the way they scale down the actual training to fit your lack of 24/7/365 availability. The people who develop, promulgate, assign and promote these mandatory Death By Power Point sessions are probably unaware that there are literally more of these BS training hours assigned than an M-Day reservist or Guardsman has total training hours. So the two means of “compliance” are two forms of Irish Democracy: simply checking the box, or giving all the training in a compressed, fast-forward version (the latter is more common). Both are gestures of contempt to the organization that wastes precious time on specious chickenbleep.

But French, somehow, betook himself to an AT/FP briefing that was actually conducted like the idiot tasking demands. And it got ugly:

And when [a counterstrike against the “unrelenting, grinding, one-way campaign of social change, conducted with an air of moral superiority and cultural condescension”] happens, it can be wondrous to see. I remember an Army counter-terror briefing in which a trainer was detailing all the ways soldiers can protect themselves and their families from off-duty, domestic terror threats. Notably missing from the briefing slides was a recommendation that service-members — each of whom is trained in the use of a weapon — obtain concealed-carry permits or use personal weapons in any way.

As the training droned on, a hand shot up. “Sir, why are we not being told to purchase a weapon for self-defense?” The response was instantaneous and politically correct: “Because that weapon is more dangerous to yourself than your attacker.” The room erupted, and within minutes, the trainer had backtracked and admitted that he carried a handgun when off-duty. It was a tiny victory in the grand scheme of things, but cultures are won and lost through tiny victories and defeats, and for a generation, the vast majority of then victories have gone to the left.

via Individual Cowardice Is Killing American Culture | National Review.

Now, that’s one select paragraph out of a longer essay making a larger point, but we carved it out for a specific reason. The AT/FP briefing is now a joint goat grope, but it comes via the Army’s provost marshals — the MPs. Here’s a typical briefing that someone has now put up on SlideShare. It’s 2007’s, but it’s only a few years still being used — and the new one is not much different. It is — we are not making this up — 100 slides long. And never in that 100 slides does it suggest you gun up.

anti_terrorism_brief_sep_07.pptx (5 MB)

Now, between us, the contributors and commenters on this blog have more time matching wits with real no-bleeep terrorists than everybody who ever worked on this lame-ass slide deck. And every one of us would tell you — unless mission demands you go unarmed — maybe you’re under non-official cover, or stuck with some lame UN mission — you’re better off armed.

Of course, the guys who make the slides disagree. But they’re also so out of touch they think you need to worry about the Khmer Rouge, defunct for a generation. Orange arrow and underscore is ours:

atfp_up_to_date

(Hey, they must have just edited out the Narodniki and the Black Hand). More likely, they’re just so PC that they can’t face the idea that terrorism today has many names but only one god.

Apart from the galumphing bozosity of the creators of the presentation, or, perhaps, because of it, the Army simply can’t accept the idea that the troops — the most intelligent and carefully selected in the nation’s history — could defend themselves.

The principle error is placing the Anti Terrorist training in harness with Force Protection, a portfolio owned and controlled by the Military Police, a branch whose doctrine is disproportionately influenced by discredited gun control social-science theory from the 1960s.

army_gun_safety_poster_detailThe Army always stresses the downside of personal firearms, and the MP branch has, perhaps, the lowest level of trust in the Army’s soldiery (especially enlisted soldiery). What this all adds up to is that, for soldiers on Army bases, the gun control environment mimics the environment civilians experience in the most backward and crime-soaked Jim Crow gun control jurisdictions. Firearms are registered and storage requirements are strict. Single soldiers assigned to barracks are expected to keep their firearms locked in the unit arms room. No one may carry a personal firearm for self-defense, and the carry of issue firearms for personal self-defense is actively discouraged.

Discussions with a typical MP officer experienced in a Provost Marshal role give rise to the sensation of arguing with an anti-gun extremist from DC or San Francisco.

As a result, American military bases, which have the potential to be the hardest of hard targets, are soft and vulnerable — all in the interests of Force Protection and Safety as those concepts are seen by narrowly ideological officers.

The Army should be the nation’s experts in guns, but the organization seems bound and determined to make them fear the cold steel things, and stay clear of them.

Yes, this means another Fort Hood could be as near as tomorrow. The only thing standing between the terrorist and his objective is going to be those soldiers who are breaking the law by carrying, as a small handful always have.

A Cop Flop

This cellphone video shows the arrest of a noncompliant, unarmed suspect. He’s either doped-up or nuts, and he’s strong;  the cops trying to arrest him flail and flop, and make half-assed deployments of Taser and baton and OC spray and more Tasers…

You may want to mute the audio the first time through, because the voice-over (by well known trainer Rener Gracie) is loud and grating. However, it’s worth watching at least the first half with the VO because the guy, an instructor who teaches defensive tactics to cops (but self-evidently not these cops) makes excellent points about why the gear didn’t work, what effect this has on community-cop relations, and why cops like these need a course like his — none of which we’d quibble with, and we bet the cops wouldn’t, either.

As he stresses, this kind of Keystone display is not the fault of the original cops. You can’t control a stronger-than-you, wriggling and noncompliant arrestee if you’ve never been taught how.

The cops were not in the physical condition of the suspect, so they needed to rely on superior skills, but that pocket of their toolbag seems to have come up empty.

As the situation gets worse, the cops’ confidence, which never seems to have been strong, is badly shaken by the suspect’s seeming immunity to their control measures.At several points, this looked like it might escalate to deadly force; had they shot the guy, the cops would not have faced any consequences, absent a Marilyn Mosby hungry for a scalp meal, but it could have poisoned the relations between the department and the public for decades, if not generations (as the voice-over points out). And in this particular situation, all the players (cops, suspect) were white.

Imagine what The Rev’rends® would be saying if the suspect was a black man.

As it is, the suspect went to the can, or the drunk tank, or the 30-day-evaluation — wherever he was headed. (This is one more reminder that, from the suspect’s point of view, resistance is, as the saying goes, futile. If they’ve decided you’re going downtown, you might as well go peaceably, because in the end, you’re going). The cops had a report to write. And the department has to deal with this video going viral.

Don’t know who these guys were, although the VO says they were in Maryland (Maryland plates on the vehicles, too). Doesn’t narrow it down much as that place has got to have the highest cop-to-citizen ratio this side of Pyongyang.

Jeff Cooper on Small Caliber Guns

Jeff Cooper and 45Col. Jeff Cooper was known as someone who believed that there was no point in a handgun whose caliber did not begin with .4. (Had he lived to see it, he’d probably warm up to the .500 S&W). He was very influential in the late-century police adoption of 10mm and .40 caliber pistols, and had nothing good to say about smaller rounds.

Of course, Cooper is an interesting cat. He was an entertaining gunwriter, an excellent shot and competitor, and an instructor with a massive and sometimes slavish following. He insisted on the title Colonel, and made broad hints about being some kind of secret squirrel, but as far as we know he was a reserve ordnance officer without combat service, let alone command. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; somebody had better be running the depots and making sure the gunplumbers stay organized and get paid.

While working up the book on Czech and Czechoslovak guns, it seemed like an amusing idea, given the European penchant for .25 (6.35 mm) or .32 (7.65 x 17SR) pistols as military and police sidearms, to contrast European, particularly Czechoslovakian, midcentury practice with Cooper’s preferences. We hit several varieties of pay dirt, in an excerpt below from an early draft of the book. And then, in this post, we move on to another famous fictional secret squirrel! But first, Cooper:

American pistolero and writer Jeff Cooper, Col., USMC (Ret.), once had occasion to meet Hans-Ulrich Rudel, a famous German Stuka pilot, best known for destroying over 500 Soviet tanks with a version of the  dive-bomber armed with two Rheinmettal-Borsig . Naturally, Cooper, a strong proponent of .45 and 10mm pistols, wanted to know what sort of pistol Rudel, a man facing a high risk of capture by what would certainly have been a furious enemy, carried on his combat flights. Cooper remembers:

I asked Rudel about this and he told me personally that he packed one of those miniature 25 caliber automatics on his antitank missions. When asked why, he replied, “Because I have never been a pessimist.”[1]

What Cooper said to Rudel on this occasion, he did not bother to record; but he’s on record at other times as referring to, the “25 ACP, which everyone knows is not sufficient to clear sinuses,”[2] and this aphorism in-the-round:

[C]arry a 25 if it makes you feel good, but do not ever load it. If you load it you may shoot it. If you shoot it you may hit somebody, and if you hit somebody – and he finds out about it – he may be very angry with you.[3]

Bear in mind that the “anemic” .38 special of Cooper’s day was once the “hot” round, replacing even lighter loads such as the .32 Colt and .32 S&W (interchangeable cartridges, the different names were marketing eyewash) and the .38 S&W, a round the Brits happily issued to soldiers as the .38/200 in World War II! He lived in a period of great firepower expansion, even before he gave it a push, but the old, small-caliber guns died hard, both in police agencies — NYPD stuck to the .38 special until they finally went to automatics, far behind other departments — and in the popular culture.

Ian Fleming wrote without irony, in Dr. No in 1956, and after consulting with a Scots expert in firearms, that the .32 ACP PPK with which Major Boothroyd — named after the expert — replaced James Bond’s preferred .25 Beretta, had “a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window.” Geoffrey Boothroyd had written to Ian Fleming:

I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that.[4]

Boothroyd (as has been recorded elsewhere in these pages) suggested several upgrades for Bond, including a Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special, but the book, Dr. No, and the film, set him up with the .32 PPK instead. Boothroyd’s lines:

Walther PPK. 7.65mm, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window. Takes a Brausch silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swears by them.[5]

Bond and BoothroydIn the movie, Dr. No, Hollywood quotes the scene verbatim, but the producers and property master/armorer botch it by using a .380 Beretta 1934 — a more powerful pistol than the .32 PPK — as a stand-in for the .25 Beretta of the novel.

In both versions of Dr. No, at the end of the discussion, Bond attempts to leave with both pistols. But as Jeff Cooper might have told him, .32 + .25 does not equal .45.

Notes

[1] Cooper, John Dean “Jeff”. Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol. 14, No. 5, June-September 2006. Retrieved from: http://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff14_5.html

[2] Cooper, John Dean “Jeff”. Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol. 2, No. 2, 31 January 1994. Retrieved from: https://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff2_2.html The whole comment is brief and is worth reproducing here:

We hear of an unfortunate woman who, during an nighttime asthma attack, confused the small handgun she kept under her pillow with an asthma inhaler and proceeded to relieve her symptoms. It was not a fatal mistake, partly because she used a 25 ACP, which everyone knows is not sufficient to clear sinuses.

[3] Cooper, John Dean “Jeff”. Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol. 4, No. 14, December 1996. Retrieved from: https://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff4_14.html Again, the whole exchange is worth reproducing, although a bit longer than the last:

Our old buddy Gene Harshbarger from Guatemala reports a recent episode with the 25 ACP pistol cartridge. It seems that Gene’s cousin was set upon by a trio of car thieves who shot him once almost dead center with that dinky little pistol. The bullet entered at a very flat angle, however, proceeded laterally just inside the pectoral muscle, and exited after about 5 inches of traverse, continuing on into the target’s left arm.

The cousin hit the deck and started shooting back, whereupon the assailants split. When he stood up the bullet slid out of his left sleeve and bounced on the pavement. It penetrated the jacket, but not the skin of his left arm.

As we used to teach in the spook business, carry a 25 if it makes you feel good, but do not ever load it. If you load it you may shoot it. If you shoot it you may hit somebody, and if you hit somebody – and he finds out about it – he may be very angry with you.

[4] Packard, Scott. Inside Bond’s Weapon of Choice, the Walther PPK. Gear Patrol, 9 November 2012. Retrieved from: http://gearpatrol.com/2012/11/09/defense-journal-bonds-gun/

[5] ibid.