Category Archives: Weapons Usage and Employment

Slo-Mo Mayhem

We’re not really feeling it for a technical post this morning, so instead let’s introduce Andrew, a self-described “gun nut” and the personable host of the one-year-old GY6 Slo Mo video channel. Here is a loooong burst with a gun that solves a problem nobody has, a belt-fed full-auto AR in 9 x 19 mm.

This isn’t especially practical. If there’s something that needs a whole belt of 9mm at point-blank range, you fight it, we’re backing off and calling a fire mission. But it looks like fun and that’s reason enough to own a gun.

Actually, if you are interested in the Freedom Arms FM-9 belt-fed upper, he has a 20 minute full review, that answers pretty well “what it is,” without going deep into “what it’s for.” The quick-change barrel system (enabled by the gun being a simple mass-locked blowback) is clever and good.

We don’t think we want one, but we do think we understand it after Andrew’s video.

The feed mechanism is the now-customary MG-42 based design. Our guess, without examining the weapon, is that the reason that Freedom Ordnance wants you to load the belt with the feed tray cover down, and not up (mentioned at about 6:45 and 8:45), is because closing the feed tray with the bolt forward can damage the mechanism. It’s possible to design a feed system that can be safely close bolt-forward or -back — FN’s world-market machine guns are designed that way, by having a spring-loaded roller. 

And here’s the promised first of a series of ballistic videos.

These videos are quite unscientific, but they’re entertaining. Entertainment is an interesting use for high-speed photography that was developed for scientific and industrial purposes. (And, he makes it clear, he’s not trying to be scientific).

Don’t expect any great revelations from the shot-in-the-head videos. A 9mm kills Casualty Carl dead. Supersonic rifle rounds will usually produce an avulsed (evulsed?) cerebrum in Homo sapiens and will probably result in the catastrophic structural failure of Casualty Carl’s coconut skull… killing him dead. A .22 LR from a pocket pistol will break up the skull less, but will probably still kill Casualty Carl dead. In real life, humans have survived and recovered (more or less) from gruesome, close-range cranial wounds with all these weapons, but the odds are a head shot that’s a square hit has taken the recipient out of the fight for the immediate future.

Hat tip, The Gun Feed.

CQB: Attitude Beats TTPs

There’s nobody quite as good at CQB/CQC/good-ole-doorkickin’ as the unit known as Delta. Not anybody, not worldwide. The SF teams that are best at CQB are the ones that train to be an interim stopgap, available to theater combatant commanders if Delta’s too far out or too overcommitted for a given tasking.

Delta’s skills came from its origin as a Hostage Rescue / Personnel Recovery unit, and it now has nearly four decades of institutional memory (some of which cycles back around as contract advisors so that old TTPs don’t get lost) to bring skills back up when real-world missions sometimes take off a little bit of the CQB edge.

In a wide-ranging post at the paywalled site SOFREP, fortunately reposted at the unwalled site The Arms Guide, former Delta operator George E. Hand IV discusses how the most important building block of CQB is, absolutely, the guts to actually do it.

Close Quarters Combat (CQC) is to the effect about 75% (maybe higher) testicles, and then 25% technique. I don’t like to over complicate things, especially CQB…. It is the very nature of the degree of difficulty inherent in ‘the act’ of CQB that bids its techniques to remain very simple, lest the mind become incapable of holding the process at all.

… if you can find a person that will take an AR and run into a small room of completely unknown contents, expected deadly threat, then you already have ~75% of what you need to create a successful CQB operator. All that remains, is to teach and train your operator the very few principles, and the very simple techniques, for room combat.

….

You are ~75% ‘there’ once you have that individual who will storm blindly into a deadly room. Now, it can’t be a person who just says they will do it. It has to be a person that in fact WILL do it, and WILL do it over and over.

See, no matter how high-speed low-drag you are, the enemy gets the proverbial vote, too.

There is a constant that exists, though you may disagree ferociously, it remains nonetheless: “no amount of high-speed training and bravado will ever trump the thug behind the door, pointing his AR at the door, and with finger on trigger.” ….

That’s right, the Chuck Yeager of CQB has a bullet waiting for him; all he has to do is wait long enough, however long that is. I have known a team of Delta men who lost their junior and senior team mates to the same goat-poker in the same small room in Iraq.

Both were head wounds from the same rag-head firing blindly over the top of a covered position. For the senior brother, that room was supposed to be the last room, of the last attack, of the last day, of the last overseas deployment he was ever supposed to make. The wait was over.

via Nobody goes into a room like Delta Force: A CQB attitude primer | The Arms Guide.

That “senior brother” is MSG Bob Horrigan, whose picture (courtesy Hand) graces this post. The new guy was MSG Mike McNulty, whose image is also at the link.

Hand’s entire post is worth reading, studying, and even contemplating. Do you go in, when going in could well get you shot by some “rag-head goat-poker”? (For police, substitute “brain-dead gangbanger” or “booze-drenched wife beater”). Real life for guys in these jobs is a daily reenactment of Kipling’s Arithmetic on the Frontier.

No proposition Euclid wrote
No formulae the text-books know,
Will turn the bullet from your coat,
Or ward the tulwar’s downward blow.
Strike hard who cares – shoot straight who can
The odds are on the cheaper man.

(Background on the poem. Of all the things I read before going to Afghanistan, Kipling was the best preparation. The Yusufzais he mentions are today still a Pathan (Pushtun) tribal group, frequently in opposition; the Afridis are still dominant in the Khyber Pass area, and some of them still affect green turbans. Only the weapons have improved).

If you have the attitude, and are willing to go into the Valley of the Shadow because you’re not going to be in there with them, instead those poor throgs are going to be in there with you, what are the simple tactics he has in mind?

(Caveat. Your Humble Blogger has never served in Delta. He had a short CQB/HR course called SOT many years ago, the short course which ultimately evolved, in two paths, into SFAUC and SFARTAETC).

Preparation

You need to have the basics first:

  1. Physical fitness. If you’re not ready to sprint up five flights of stairs you’re definitely not ready to train on this. Bear in mind that actual combat is much more physically exhausting and draining than any quantity of combat training. That may because fear dumps stress hormones that either induce or simulate fatigue. Perhaps there’s some other reason; it’s enough to know that the phenomenon is real.
  2. Marksmanship. This comprises hits on target but also shoot/no-shoot decision-making, malf clearing and primary-secondary transition. In our limited experience, almost no civilian shooters apart from practical-shooting competitors are ready to train on this stuff.
  3. Teamwork. It’s best to train a team that’s already tight. If not, no prob, the training process will tighten you.
  4. Decision Making under Stress. This is vital, because the one thing that you can plan on is your plan going to that which is brown and stinketh.

Process

The military stresses doing complex events (“eating the elephant”) by breaking them down into components (“bite-sized chunks.”) The process we use is lots of rehearsals in which risk and speed are gradually increased. One level is absolutely mastered before reaching for the risk or speed dial. (There are guys who go to SFAUC and are still carrying a blue-barrel Simunitions weapon in the live-fire phase. They’re still learning, but they’re not picking it up at the speed of the other guys. They’ll have to catch up and live fire to graduate).

Numerous rehearsals and practices are done in buildings of previously unknown configurations. A culmination exercise is full-speed, live-fire, breaching doors into an unknown situation. It can be done with dummies playing the hostiles and some hostages, and live people playing some no-shoot targets. (George has a story about this at the link. Not unusual to have a Unit commander or luminary like the late Dick Meadows in the hostage chair on a live-fire; at least once before Desert One, they put a very nervous Secretary of the Army in the chair).

The term the Army uses for this phased training process is widely adaptable to learning or teaching anything:

  1. Crawl
  2. Walk
  3. Run

Most civilian students, trainers and schools go from zero-to-sixty way too fast. To learn effectively, don’t crawl until the training schedule says walk, crawl until you’re ready.

Training should be 10% platform instruction and 90% hands-on. This is a craft, and you’re apprenticing, you’re not studying for an exam.

Tactics on Target

The most important thing you get from all these drills is an instinctive understanding of where the other guys are and where you are at all times, and where you’re personally responsible for the enemy.

Divide the sectors by the clock (degrees are too precise) and have one man responsible for a sector. Don’t shoot outside your sector unless the guy covering that sector is down. Staying on your sector is vital for safety! You should not only own the sector between your left and right limits, but also the vertical aspect of that sector, from beneath you, at your feet, through the horizontal plane to overhead.

Shoot/No-Shoot is vital and the only right way to do it is look at the hands and general gestalt of the individual to assess a threat. Weapon in hand? Nail ’em. Empty hands? Wait and keep assessing. (In this day of suicide vests, any attempt to close with you should probably be treated as a suicide bomb attempt).

If you have the personnel, the shooters do not deal with neutrals or friendlies on the X. There’s a following team that handles them, for several reasons including the shooters being keyed up to a fare-thee-well at the moment of entry.

You can’t learn CQB from a book, or a lecture, or some assclown on YouTube who never suited up and took a door. You have to physically practice, and practice, and practice. Ideally, under the beady eye of someone with a lot of doors in his past, and a skill at setting targets that borders on malicious mischief. (MSG Paul Poole, rest in peace, you old goat).

But first, absolutely first, you need guys with the guts to try. George is absolutely right about that. There is much other good stuff in his post, including a funny history of the term “operator” in the Army. (If you didn’t attend the Operators’ Training Course, it’s not you. Sorry ’bout that). You know what we’re going to say now, right? Damn straight. Read The Whole Thing™.

A Shocking Update in Florida “Citizens Police Academy” Shooting

Moment of horror: 9 Aug 2016, then-Officer Lee Coel, left, role-playing as a criminal, has just mortally wounded Mary Knowlton, right, role-playing as a cop. Knowlton had a Simunitions-modified Glock; Coel, a personal Smith & Wesson Airweight with live wadcutters. PGPD/FDLE photo.

Lee Williams has an update on the Punta Gorda, FL, shooting death of 73-year-old retiree Mary Knowlton. The police officer who killed her, Lee Coel, has been fired and charged with manslaughter, and the police chief, Tom Lewis, has also been charged with some trivial misdemeanor (although he clings to his job) in what has turned out to be the most incredible and horrifying bad shoot in this young century.

Hey, at least when NYPD shoots nine bystanders, they’re trying to shoot a criminal, and they know they’re firing live ammo. This cockeyed Keystone incompetence has no such excuse.

According to investigative reports and crime scene photos released Wednesday, former Punta Gorda Police Officer Lee Coel loaded Blazer .38 Special hollow-base wadcutters into his Smith & Wesson .38 Special  Airweight revolver, instead of Winchester blank rounds.

ATF traced the murder weapon to Officer Coel… just in case he was inclined to lie about that, too.

Coel then pointed his revolver at 73-year-old retired librarian Mary Knowlton and pulled the trigger four times.

Knowlton was hit twice.

“Mrs. Knowlton was struck by two of the four bullets that were fired. One bullet ricocheted off the engine hood of the parked car and struck Mrs. Knowlton in the abdomen, where it remained. Another bullet ricocheted off the engine hood and struck her in the inside of her left elbow, where it remained. A third bullet ricocheted off the engine hood and came to rest at an unknown location. The fourth bullet entered and lodged in the driver’s side door of the parked vehicle,” the FDLE report states.

An autopsy later showed that the fatal round perforated Knowlton’s aorta.

The next line is one that always makes us lose focus for a minute, because it’s the classically mealy-mouthed passive voice of responsibility shirkers.

The FDLE report indicates that mistakes were made.

“Mistakes were made,” my ever-lovin’ eye.

The mistakes “were made” by somebody, or several somebodies: Coel and the Punta Gorda police chief, to be sure, but also, as an outraged Williams points out, by every officer who attended this kind of half-assed “training,” and didn’t speak up.

Do Read The Whole Thing™, as Williams extracts a whole litany of lessons from these morons, but the fact is, somebody chose the easy wrong (“Hey, a revolver works great with blanks,” over the hard right, “How do we do this without pointing a live weapon at anybody?”).

.38 blank, left. .38 Hollow Base WadCutter practice ammo, right. FDLE photo.

Lee is not buying the idea that the superficial similarity of the rounds somehow excuses the shoot.

Anyone who has ever taken even the most basic firearm safety course will see that a plethora of mistakes — an entire chain of mistakes — occurred long before Coel was unable to distinguish wadcutters from blanks, and then loaded the fatal rounds.

I’m sure there may be some who say — because the wadcutters and blanks look somewhat alike — that they now understand how this could have happened.

That’s bunk.

This never should have happened.

Adherence to even the most basic fundamentals of firearms safety would have prevented this needless, tragic death.

Lee Williams has written an update, calling for the resignation or firing of Lewis. Apart from Lee’s points, just the hiring of Coel, who had failed at other police departments, calls into question Lewis’s judgment — and makes one wonder whether other clockwork bombs are ticking away in the Punta Gorda PD.

One gets the impression that Coel is that rare thing, the sort of cop who always wanted to shoot somebody. Now that he’s done it, maybe he understands why all the other cops aren’t like that. In partial defense of Lewis, he seems to have cooperated with the investigation.

The same cannot be said of Coel. He lawyered up and shut up, getting a privilege you would not, and he and his lawyer lied in a statement submitted by letter, claiming that he had called out to test fire the blanks while on duty. This was contradicted by the recollections of the dispatchers and the radio logs and tapes.

Only four fired casings from Coel’s revolver were recovered, but the revolver has five chambers, and the partial box of live .38 ammo in his car contained 35 rounds — 50 minus three revolver loads. That suggests that Coel pocketed or otherwise disposed of the one remaining live round in an attempt to evade responsibility (witnesses agree that he fired four shots, and traces, at least, of four shots were found). The manufacturer of the casings from the firearm and the matching box of live ammo in the car, CCI, does not manufacture centerfire blanks, and confirmed that to the investigation.

The FDLE investigation’s complete report is being trickled out only to friendly reporters. A partial textual report is here: FDLE Report on Punta Gorda Shooting.pdf

Another news story based on access to the full report contains this chilling note:

Punta Gorda police Lt. Katie Heck said she “probably” gave Coel a box of live ammunition, thinking they were blanks, the report said.

“Probably.”

It’s beginning to look like Coel was just the tip of the incompetence iceberg, and nobody in that department knew what he or she was doing.

Lewis, meanwhile is on “paid administrative leave.” Yep, he’s been vacationing on his failure for seven months and counting. Maybe someone should give him his incompetent officer’s revolver, and a box of what his incompetent lieutenant thinks are blanks, and urge him to do the right thing.

Any Gun > Endless Fussing About Guns > No Gun

Read the mathematical expression in the title of this post. Any questions?

Of course, there are questions. After all, what is a gun (mostly) blog but “endless fussing about guns,” eh? But what we mean is this: too much fiddling with what you carry actually detracts from your ability to get proficient with what you carry. But even fussing and fiddling with guns, holsters, etc., is better than not carrying, so it’s most important that you carry.

If you got the impression that we’re about to beat our favorite “satisficing vs. optimizing” dead horse again, you’re half right: we’re certainly not averse to giving Deceased Dobbin a few good licks with Louisville’s finestkind equine motivator. But really, to say that the endless fanboy debates about this pistol vs. that pistol miss the point is like saying that Colin Krapernick and the San Francisco 49ers missed the Super Bowl — true, but understated to the point where one’s sanity comes into question. About 99 repeating 9 percent of the stuff written on the Internet (or in print) about self-defensive pistols is nonsense, compared to the overriding primacy of following Rule Number One of Gunfights: BRING A GUN.

Note that it’s not, “Bring a Glock,” or, “Bring a pistol whose caliber begins with point-four,” or, “Bring a pistol designed by John Moses Browning because he was the last firearms designer who was not a drooling, inbred retard.” A gun. Gun, generic, one each, color optional, caliber optional, maker optional.

Pure gun-counter heresy, that.

Are some choices better than others? Yes, but mostly in the edge cases. As much as it may tempt some people (Ian?), and as brilliant as Karel Krnka was, a Roth-Steyr Repetierpistole M.07 is probably not a good choice (for one thing, rotsa ruck finding a Kydex holster). Likewise, an old Jurras Auto Mag looks totally cool, but only a fictional movie character who was six-feet-many-inches tall would actually carry one; another not-a-good-choice. Nor are many cheap pistols, although you would learn a little about firearms lethality from the following exercise:

  1. Buddy up to a homicide detective in your town (or nearest equivalent, for those of us in too small/peaceful villages to have one).
  2. Get him or her to give you the caliber, and if known, make and model of the last 10 homicide guns; 100 in Chicago, as you want a whole month’s data. (Wouldn’t work for our town; to get to 10 homicides you have to go back to the Indian massacre of sixteen-fifty-something).
  3. Our guess is that the distribution will be, in order: 9mm, .22, .380, .32, .25 .40. And the brands will include approximately zero that have fanboys.

Yet people keep asking “is this one better than that one?” Eh. Fact is, it’s not 1910 any more. Most defensive autopistols and revolvers are pretty good. Even the cheap ones are safe to shoot and usually work. Tam summed this up recently in a really good post:

“So, which do you like better? The Glock or the M&P? Which one should I buy?”

Okay, first, I don’t know that I would say I really like either of them. The Glock is a lot easier to mess around in the guts of, if that’s the sort of thing that appeals to you. As far as shooting goes, they’re pretty much of a muchness. All these plastic cop guns are, really.

“Much of a muchness”? We’ll assume she did that for effect. Still, her basic point is there, and deserves to be belabored, like the rib cage of our expired equine, pining for the corrals:

If one really sings to you, buy it, but you’re kidding yourself if you think there are vast differences in performance waiting to be unlocked in one versus another.

….
This is the sort of stuff that matters when you add up hundredths and tenths over the course of a ten stage match and probably doesn’t matter dick across a convenience store counter or across fifteen feet of rainy midnight parking lot.

Ding, ding, ding. Do Read The Whole Thing™; this lady shoots more pistol rounds in a year than the average infantry platoon, and between her native curiosity and magazine work shoots a very wide range of good-quality pistols. She knows whereof she speaks; respect that.

And before anyone starts talking about this military unit uses this and that agency is known to carry that, there are two or three facts about military and governmental pistol purchases to bear in mind:

  1. Other things besides raw performance matter. Costs count. Maintenance counts. Compatibility with other kit and allies’ forces counts. (Will you ever fire your pistol whilst wearing a gas mask? Or need to use some foreign nation’s ammunition because that’s all there is? One hopes not). Manufacturing offsets count. And the performance criteria are weighted by somebody and his weights he puts on the various performance measures may not be yours. 
  2. Performance results between pistols on a given test are usually very close: the SIG and Beretta entries were tied in the M9 testing; Beretta’s lower price broke the tie. FN and SIG were very close in recent testing for a Federal agency. Around 15-20 years ago, a special mission unit adopted .40 Glocks, but they only just edged out .40 Smiths, and both of those beat STI 1911s primarily on maintenance, not performance, grounds.
  3. In the military and even as a criminal investigator, your pistol is secondary to almost everything else in your job. If you’re plugging people with Ole Reliable, something has gone seriously awry with Plan A.

For a personal carry pistol, you might want to make a short list, and adopt the first gun you find that checks the few boxes, and carry it with confidence. For instance:

  1. Can I shoot it okay, and will I practice with it?
  2. Can I carry it safely and securely while wearing the clothes I usually wear, and doing the activities I usually do?
  3. Do I like it and feel good about carrying it?

If you like, we can go into the importance of each of those three points. Notice exactly zero of the have anything to do with the sorts of things that fill the pages of gun magazines, the pixels of blogs, or the vast featureless tundra of the gun webs.

See, it’s all about reflexive obedience to Rule Number One.

How Many Guns In Your “Arsenal”?

We get the impression from you guys in the comments that gun ownership among the readership ranges from zero to hundreds of firearms.

Since we’ve seen that the media counts anything more than a couple firearms as an “arsenal,” we assume most of you have an arsenal at home. But how big?  So it’s time for a poll.

How many guns have you got?

 
pollcode.com free polls

You can vote with confidence, as even Super Administrator Powers can’t tell us who said what. Of course, if you spill your collection size in the comments, then everyone can see. We can’t see how that would harm you, but it’s a free country and you can keep your secrets if you like.

This should be an excellent opportunity for smart-ass comments, from those of you who are so inclined. Tomorrow sometime we’ll tell you what bracket Your Humble Blogger falls into.

Update 1 @ Midnight 15 Mar

We’ve seen some interesting comments, and over 350 poll-takers, with some in each bin but the tails having the lowest numbers. Having just found some deficiencies in the inventory, Your Humble Blogger is pretty sure he falls in right around the midpoint of the 51-100 bracket, maybe 8 or 10 above midpoint if incomplete retro AR receivers count.

Lots of respect for all — doesn’t matter how many guns you have, what matters is having the right to make the decision for yourself. Mad props to the people who keep the light burning in the jurisdictions experiencing firearms Dark Ages.

Update 2 @ Noon 16 Mar

Over 600 poll takers so far. 70-something comments, plus another handful over at the poll site. If we ever do this again, we’ll have to include Boating Mishap among the choices.

Two Fights: Pistol Defender vs. Multiple Rifles

Here are two fights from John Correia’s Active Self Protection channel. They’ve been posted in the last week, and they happened far away from each other (Saudi Arabia and Turkey). Both show cops engaged by terrorists.

In the first, one or two Saudi cops are engaged by presumed ISIL terrorists. Despite being outgunned pistols-to-AKs by enemies who close to within spatter range, the cops manage to eke out a victory from such an inauspicious start. The guy who’s doing the most shooting is Corporal Jeeran Awaji, who was wounded in the incident, but put both of his assailants down like a couple of rabid dogs.

Here Awaji receives a visit from his boss’s boss’s (many times) boss.

It is not new for terrorists to attack police: it has always been their tactic. Hamas terrorists conduct regular knife and improvised-gun attacks on Israeli and Egyptian police; the Boston Marathon bombers murdered a policeman, MIT campus cop Sean Collier, to try to steal his pistol. They couldn’t get it out of his retention holster.

Along with just plain desire to kill cops, and desire to loot them of their weapons, terrorists seem to target cops to secure ingress, egress and dwell time on terror targets.

In the second video, Turkish cop Fethi Sekin (right) chases down a car bomber who’d just dropped off his explosive wheels, and runs into an engagement with multiple rifles against him.

Though sheer nerve more than skilled tactics, he almost wins the gunfight.

He takes down one assailant, and then bugs out; they backshoot and kill him.

This guy is a hero by the usual combat vet definition: “All the heroes are dead.” Turkish police ultimate shot two assailants dead, including the one this cop nailed, and are seeking at least one more. But they captured a lot of weapons on the scene, including RPGs with multpple warheads…

…even more spare warheads…

AKs and magazines … (the decedent in the image is one of the attackers).

And a Beretta 70 or 71 with a couple of spare magazines.

We can’t tell if the dark-clad guys in the background are part of the attack, or fleeing citizens. It looks like one of them gets nailed, too. But in any event, the quantity of weapons recovered are more suited to a larger element.

Meanwhile, in the United States? A cop, facing a couple of barking dogs, “was in fear for his life,” and tried to shoot them, succeeding only in shooting himself in the foot. He missed the dogs, whereupon at least one of them bit him. Normally we’re rooting for the cops around here, but, well, it was New Jersey.

When Force-on-Force Training Goes Wrong

Mary Knowlton died due to a series of negligent mistakes.

The evolution was a force-on-force demonstration in a public relations exercise that’s coming to a city near you, if it hasn’t already: “Citizens’ Police Academy,” where the cops teach ordinary citizens things about a cop’s job that your ordinary engaged citizen doesn’t know, unless he knows a lot of cops.

Citizen Mary Knowlton of Punta Gorda, FL, a retired librarian, was playing “cop” in an exercise designed to show how little time a cop has to make the shoot/no-shoot decision. Officer Lee Coel was playing felon, and he got the drop on Knowlton, firing several shots (some stories have suggested six) from his training/simulator pistol.

Except, it wasn’t his training pistol. It was his service pistol, as everyone in the room immediately realized, in shock. (With the apparent exception of Coel, or he’d have stopped at one shot).

On Aug. 9, Mary Knowlton, a 73-year-old retired librarian, was participating in a police night hosted by the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce when Punta Gorda police officer Lee Coel, 28, shot and killed her with a weapon meant for training.

Knowlton was acting as a victim in a “shoot/don’t shoot” scenario, and Coel — who was playing the “bad guy” — shot her several times.

Knowlton was rushed to the hospital, where, to make an inverted paraphrase of Bones McCoy, she needed a miracle worker, not a doctor. She died there.

With no conceivable justification for such a simply prevented fatal screwup, the town fathers fell over themselves in haste to settle the civil case.

Punta Gorda city council members approved a $2.06 million settlement with the Knowlton family in November, nearly three months after the shooting.

Lee Coel does the perp walk. He could get 30 years’ prison.

The criminal case has been taking longer, but that’s the nature of criminal cases, especially against cops.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted an investigation into the officer-involved shooting and submitted its findings to the state attorney’s office.

Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis and officer Lee Coel will both face charges in the shooting death of Mary Knowlton, who was accidentally killed during a citizen’s police academy demonstration in August.

Coel has been charged with felony manslaughter and Lewis with culpable negligence, a misdemeanor. Coel has been placed under arrest. Lewis will not be arrested but was given a summons to appear in court.

Coel could get up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, Steven Russell, state attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit, said. The chief could receive up to 60 days in jail.

via 2 cops charged in Florida woman’s accidental shooting death.

We’re not sure of why they’re keelhauling the chief, but we can’t argue with the charges against the cop. This kind of gross and consequential negligence is one reason why that felony manslaughter charge is in the statute book.

If you’re not paranoid about a training gun that looks and feels like your service firearm, if you’re not constantly checking and double-checking, and if you’re not still observing the three most fundamental rules even when you know the training aid can’t possibly hurt anybody, well, then the difference between your situation and the much less enviable one in which Lee Coel finds himself is not dependent on anything but happenstance, chance, fortune… luck.

Complacency and disrespect for training aids are always freighted with the possibility of a bad shoot like this. Be alert for those hazardous attitudes.

Here’s Firearms Usage and Employment we Fully Support

The Atheist Criminal Lovers’ Union and other pro-criminal legal adventurers and murderer groupies have shut down Mississipi’s Death Row with lawsuit after lawsuit claiming this chemical or that is inhumane to their beloved baby batterers and axe murderers.

Mississippi comes back with a triple threat: the gas chamber, Old Sparky, and that perennial favorite, the Firing Squad.

Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

But alas, they have to get the bill through the legislature and signed by the Governor before they can post the sign-up sheet in Jackson.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi lawmakers are advancing a proposal to add firing squad, electrocution and gas chamber as execution methods in case a court blocks the use of lethal injection drugs.

Republican Rep. Andy Gipson says House Bill 638 is a response to lawsuits by “liberal, left-wing radicals.”

The bill passed the House amid opposition Wednesday, and moves to the Senate.

“Passed the house amid opposition.” What the hell kind of sentence is that? It’s what a reporterette writers when her heart was with the opposition, but she doesn’t want to mention just how token it is.

Lethal injection is Mississippi’s only execution method. The state faces lawsuits claiming the drugs it plans to use would violate constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.

Mississippi hasn’t been able to acquire the execution drugs it once used, and it last carried out an execution in 2012.

The Death Penalty Information Center says of the 33 states with the death penalty, only Oklahoma and Utah have firing squad as an option.

via Mississippi considers firing squad as method of execution – WLOX.com – The News for South Mississippi.

And of course, the reporterette doesn’t mention that the “Death Penalty Information Center” is a pro-criminal advocacy group, whose spokespeople would gargle in the blood of murder victims if only they could.

Frankly, nothing we see from the criminal class (or their groupies in the defense bar) suggests that the death penalty is too common or too speedy.

And think of the tourism potential. Hey, get Larry Vickers to run the squad and auction off the privilege of being in the squad — you’d get humane executions, and guarantee the solvency of the state pension system.

The String Measurement

Recently we discussed some very old marksmanship in connection with Civil War sharpshooters (see this post and this one, and there’s more to come, thanks to expert Fred Ray). And a couple of commenters asked about the “string” measurement of marksmanship precision and accuracy that was used at the time, and well up into the 20th Century, before modern measurements of precision (group size) and accuracy (distance from point of aim and intended point of impact) were developed.

Fortunately, the late Steve Ricciardelli of Steve’s Pages incorporated an explanation in a list of measures of group size and central tendency:

String Measurement

This is an old method still used to determine a shooter’s skill at hitting a target. It assumes the point of aim is always the desired point of impact and is simply the sum of the distances from the point of aim to each bullet hole. Originally a string was used to gather the distances, hence the name. It is still a valid measure of total error relative to the aim point. String Measurements however cannot be used to analyze sight settings because it only measures the magnitude of error, not the direction of error. It is also not a useful measure of group size because a tight group located away from the Bullseye will produce a large String Measurement.

The string measurement is old, but it remains surprisingly useful on a real-world basis, to get a broad idea of the practical accuracy of a specific shooter and firearm combination, or to put shooters in a rough rank order (say, if grouping soldiers for marksmanship training). Now, a marksman seeking to maximize performance (think of, say, a benchrest shooter) would not want to use it, because it is important to him or her to separate the possible causes of misses; you do something different if your windage is off than you do if your group is too large.

Turns out a string is useful for something, even though ATF doesn’t say it’s a machine gun any more. (Yes, they once did. But that is another story!)

Traveling with a Gun, More Lessons Learned

Thanks to everyone in the comments of the last post a couple of days ago. Here are some follow-up lessons learned from the wisdom of the commentariat, plus the evolution completed this week.

  1. How the airline handles firearms varies from airport to airport, as does how the TSA handles it. In FLL, TSA does not want to see it, and all the airline counter staff have to find one who is not a felon or another prohibited person (really!) to observe your demonstration that the firearm is unloaded).
  2. TSA is not going to be anybody’s model for organizational excellence or personnel selection any time soon, but their inspection was more effective that the cursory glance the clearly disgusted-by-gun-things airline clerk offered.
  3. Despite the worry engendered by the irritable and felonious ground staff in Fort Lauderdale, the Pelican full of bang came home without incident.
  4. We’re going to go with the recommendation of a secure case in a crummy looking bag, for those flights where the line will accept a bag within a bag.
  5. We’re also going with the recommendation of printed-out airline policies, as it seems like the airline clerk’s detailed knowledge of these policies is in inverse proportion to her conviction that she knows these policies.
  6. The confidence you get from a high-quality gun case pays off when you arrive in a light snowstorm and your pickup bed is entirely full of a week’s snow. Just peg the Pelican in the snowbank, and sort it out at home.  (Would we still do that if we had, say, a 1902 Luger carbine with its off-the-charts proneness to rust? No. We’d have thrown Small Dog in the snowbank in the pickup bed, and sorted him out at home).

Funny thing: arriving at PSM, there was a sign up that all but one the rest rooms were out of order — pardon the inconvenience, right? Except, a jet had just arrived from Iraq and there was a line of about 200 guys out the one rest room’s door… most of them Army troops wearing the patch of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Every one of them was on a phone, tablet or other device with “home,” and  it made us grin to see them. They all looked lean and tired and had a whole other flight to go, then the joys of property accountability before

Incidentally, traveling with Small Dog Mk II? Piece of cake. Allegiant is a line that doesn’t make you keep your pet cased up, unlike American, JetBlue or Southwest, and so he was able to enjoy the miracle of jet travel:

It is most convenient to bag him during takeoff, landing, boarding and debarking, and any time we were not in the seat with him. Each time we had to stuff him back in his travel bag he went a little easier than the previous one, but he never went entirely willingly. (Really, would you? Nobody likes to be confined, except for some incorrigible criminals and a few weirdos with a paraphilia).

At one time, we stuffed him back in and went to the restroom, only to emerge to a laughing cabin and another traveler holding a wriggling dog — he’d Houdini’d his way out of doggie durance vile, and charmed the other passengers and flight attendants.