Category Archives: Weapons Usage and Employment

Shoot Like a Fed II: The FBI Qualification 1997-2013

keep-calm-and-carry-a-fbi-badgeCan you shoot like an FBI  Special Agent? A single box of ammo will tell you, as the qualification runs 50 rounds. True, this is an outdated certification that dates from the days that the Bureau issued DA/SA SIG pistols. (The current qualification has some insignificant changes, like starting at the close targets and working back; and some significant ones, like eliminating the 25-yard line and requiring all strings to be fired after drawing from concealment. We may cover that in the future).

While a listing of a qualification’s stages in black and white is necessary and works for people who learn well from the printed page, we think videos like this one, which one of our readers found online, really help to get the points across.

The FBI then used the Q target. Scoring is simple: a round touching the line of or inside the “bottle” counts for 2 points, a round outsize zero. The standards are: 85% to qualify, and 90% for instructors. The stages are listed below this 2012 video from Darkwood Personal Defense, which lasts 4:18.

Stage I:
25 yards. 75 seconds. Firearm fully loaded. All shots (regardless of barricade side) are taken with two hand hold with strong hand operating pistol.
6 rounds prone; 3 rounds strong side kneeling/barricaded; 6 rounds strong side standing/barricaded; 3 rounds weak side kneeling/barricaded. Total 18 rounds.

Stage II:
Start at 25 yards, firearm fully loaded, in holster. Total time 18 sec.
Start at 25 yards; but shooter does not fire here. On command, shooter displaces to 15 yard line, draws, fires 2 rounds, 6 seconds. Decock (if DA/SA) and return to low ready. On command, Fire 2 rounds in 3 seconds, return to low ready. Repeat on command 2 rounds, 3 seconds, three times. Total 10 rounds (running total 28).

Stage III: 
Start at 15 yards, firearm loaded with fewer than 12 rounds, in holster, and spare magazine on belt. Total time 15 sec.
Start at 15 yards; but shooter does not fire here. On command, shooter displaces to 7 yard line, draws, fires 12 rounds — including a reload — in 15 seconds. Total 12 rounds (running total 40).

Stage IV:
Start at 7 yards, firearm loaded with a 5 round magazine, in holster, spare mag on belt with 5 rounds. Total time 15 sec.
Start at 7 yards; but shooter does not fire here. On command, shooter displaces to 5 yard line, draws strong hand only, fires 5 rounds.  Transfers gun to weak hand (this can happen before, during or after the reload. It is safest before, and fastest during, as the instructor demonstrates), reloads, fires 5 rounds weak hand only. Time limit 15 seconds. Total 10 rounds (running total 50).

This is a much simpler and easier qualification than the ICE/DHS HSI qualification that we’ve posted before. We’ve never heard of a Bureau candidate being sent to hit the bricks for failing the pistol test (we’ve heard of a few “retested” by managers after the instructors gave up on them, and miraculously passing. This happens in every agency), but we have heard of special agents in the field being retasked to desk work after repeated failures to qualify. It is a rare agent who will fire his or her firearm in anger, but every one is supposed to be ready to do so. The replacement qual is not significantly more difficult, although it’s generally closer in, and stresses starting from concealment, which is more realistic for an investigative agency. (Sure, if they’re expecting trouble, like a warrant service, they unholster in advance or even break out the long guns… or they re-plan the arrest so that it’s less risky, if possible). The FBI’s upcoming change to 9mm from .40 S&W will make it easier yet.

So, can you shoot like a Fed?

A Different (and better?) Look at Crime Statistics

no-crime-zoneJeff Asher of New Orleans, a city noted for a triphammer murder rate, has a beef with the way people usually analyze gun crime: by looking at murders. He argues that it’s better to look at shootings, which he defines as, “any incident in which a person is struck by a bullet fired by someone else.”

Murder makes an imperfect proxy for crime for several reasons. First, murders are rare enough (unless you’re lucky[?] enough to be in NOLA, DC, or Chicongo) that normal variability is going to introduce confounding effects, not to mention that their low numbers yield poor statistical power. And the real reason people use murder as a proxy for crime is not just because it’s the statistic we have, it’s also a statistic that’s harder than the others for the white shirts to game. Asher writes (at

[T]wo unrelated cases in one of the country’s worst cities for gun violence can help us understand why murder statistics alone are a bad metric for measuring gun violence trends. Both featured groups of gunmen firing wildly in the vicinity of innocent bystanders, but only one ended in a tragedy receiving extended public attention. So even though 90 percent of New Orleans murders are committed with a gun, looking at total shooting incidents tells us more — by focusing attention on all the gun violence in a city, in addition to those shootings that end in a fatality

We could quibble with his using “shootings” rather than murders on a couple of points: it’s probably better to look at armed robberies to see the real impact of “gun crime,” because 90-95% of robberies don’t involve a firearm discharge, but their impact on the quality of urban life is enormous. And if “murder rate” is the crime you watch, crime seems to go down steadily — as your emergency departments get better and save more shot-up gangbangers. But as we mentioned, these are quibbles.

Murders in Baltimore may be all over the place, but since city and national politicians declared war on the police in June, 2015, shootings are doing what Asher says, showing us a truer picture of violence in the city:


Unfortunately, most cities, even the ones using CompStat or other data-gathering systems, don’t gather data that supports this granularity. So far, Asher has secured data from New Orleans (where he used to do this kind of stuff for the city) and Baltimore.

Asher has an interesting blog at the New Orleans Advocate, Behind the Numbers. As he writes:

The goal is to look deeply at underlying data to see what it tells us — in hopes of being able to say not just what’s happening, but why it’s happening. We’ll begin with a focus on New Orleans crime….

Asher may be a typically shallow, well-credentialed and poorly educated media writer for all we know: ready to blame Teh GUNZ!! and the cismale heteronormative patriarchy for why armed robbers feel comfortable threatening people with death to steal their money. He could be. But unlike the average reporter, Asher is not innumerate. That makes his blog instantly worth more than most newspaper crime writing, which usually launches from the two pinnacles of 1) ignorance of crime & criminals and 2) absolute conviction that one’s Columbia Journalism School ticket bestows Deep & Penetrating Insight.

Having someone trained in statistics is essential to avoiding mistaken conclusions. For example, he has traced some “crime rate improvements” in NOLA to the NOPD’s lousy and worsening response times.

[L]onger responses are deflating crime statistics by increasing the likelihood that a crime will be found unfounded. Using publicly available data we can estimate that about 6 percent more crimes are being marked unfounded in 2015 than would have been had response rates stayed at 2014 levels. This translates to over 1,000 more crimes being marked unfounded than expected over the course of a year, all because of slower responses.’

How slow? Data Jeff posted to this item show that responses to the most serious calls Priority 3, have increased to a half hour in 2015. The average crime against a person, from robbery to homicide, takes an hour for the unit to report on site. No wonder criminal shooters are acting emboldened in the Crescent City.

Violent crimes against people get the best response, but “best” is relative:

[T]here have been 50 aggravated assaults and batteries in 2015 in which victims had to wait more than 10 hours for a response.

We wonder how different Jeff’s charts would look if he charted median response times, not means which can be skewed by a few outliers.

Our focus is on Jeff’s stats-jitsu here, but the Advocate also has been running some heartbreaking stories about what the sclerotic police response means to crime victims. (In one case, after Sofia Froeba was carjacked and left unconscious and bleeding in the street, the cops not only didn’t respond to the scene, but their “investigation” consisted of calling her cell phone — taken by the carjacker — and marking her report “unfounded” when she didn’t answer!)

There’s Accurate, and there’s the One Mile Club

Steel silhouette used for the 1 mile club shoots. Barrel of the rifle visible right. The holes are from short range (300-800 yard -- that's short?) hits with the .300 UM and the one-mile load.

Steel silhouette used for the 1 Mile Club shoots. Barrel of the rifle visible right. The holes are from short range (300-800 yard — that’s short?) hits with the .300 UM and the one-mile load.

Like many an obsession, it had a casual start.

It all started with an off hand comment.

We saw what you did there.

A friend and I had been shooting to 1,000 yards and a little beyond for years and while talking to a 3rd friend one day and telling him about the D&L sports ITRC and a recent article in The Accurate Rifle magazine about it, I mentioned a section at the end about participants of the match having a choice to “join the One Mile Club”.

The best I can recall, the idea was the shooter got as many rounds as he wanted at the target 1 mile away but, after having made the hit, had to zero back down and make a 100 yard  shot.  The person got only one chance at the 100 yard target after scoring the 1 mile hit or else they would not be counted as one of the OMC according to whatever rules  they had decided on locally.   This had stirred up some talk among the us local long range shooters and got the gears turning.

And that’s how Shawn Thompson and his friends got started on making a one mile shot with a mass-produced  commercial rifle and optics. (They’s not complete fools. They handloaded the ammo).

With the gears turning, as he put it, Shawn and his friends planned to build and/or modify rifles for a one-mile man-sized target. In the end, the mod that was most necessary was a scope base with mils enough to correct for bullet drop. The guy that planned to build a custom rifle just for the one-mile friendly competition, and went so far as to buy a new Model 70 long action, in the end, didn’t bother.

To make the one-mile hit, everything has to go right, but Shawn and the gang proved that it can be done. (As others have done before them, like the guys at the match he was reading about). Shawn didn’t like the idea of building a chassis-hosted, ultra-heavy-barrel, near-crew-served “race gun” for this one task.

My friend continued to cling to the idea of building a gun just for the shot, but this had very little appeal to me. Then as now, I only wanted to make the hit with something a man could carry by himself and [that] was portable and practical. …

The idea was to use something standard. No wildcats and no full custom rifles. That was to be our starting attempt. To work with something factory made and if it was not adequate to the task we would move on from there.

As the friends were booting around the idea, “a windfall came into the gun store” in the form of a Remington 700 in .300 Ultra Mag with a 28″ heavy fluted stainless barrel. It came with an H-S Precision stock. (We’re not H-S P fans. Yes, it’s a good basic stock, well proven on production sniper rifles, but the company takes pride in endorsement by indicted-but-beat-the-rap FBI button man Lon Horiuchi. Mauser, conversely, has the good decency not to mention the morally equivalent Einsatzgruppen when listing its famous users).

Steel silhouette used for the

It’s all COTS stuff. Quality stuff, but still COTS.

A Nightforce rail (40 MOA) and Badger Ordnance rings, a Leupold VX-III 8-32 scope, a little trigger work, and the mile master was coming together. For convenience’s sake, a bipod; for accuracy’s sake, a level. (The displacement caused by a little bit of cant isn’t little any more after flying for a mile).

By the summer of 2005, they were ready to try for the mile marker. With careful load development, they did indeed produce a load (using a Berger VLD bullet and a powder load they’re keeping confidential) that got them on target on their first day of shooting at the 1 mile target (they had tested the load at shorter ranges). They hadn’t expected success so soon, but the rifle, load, and optic all performed just right, and the environment was perfect — no wind, no mirage, they could spot the shots from the firing line.  The shooters began to realize that they could do it on this day, with this set of tools, if they did their parts.

As soon as the ballistic software data from the chart was dialed in and the shots started to fall around the target, and we overcame our surprise, we knew we were going to do it.

We … started to make the attempt in earnest. My friend who I originally discussed the project with was first to make the hit after I coached him onto it. Next was the owner of the rifle and the gun store. I went next and will never forget making the hit on my third shot.

The target was placed in the middle of a huge powdery dirt area and a shooter could easily see the misses. The time of flight allowed recovery from recoil and muzzle blast enough to watch through the optic. I will never forget firing, my friend excitedly saying “hit” and as I was about to ask “you sure” I heard the distant, very faint “ding”.

The particular steel gong I chose for the target was used for a variety of reason, one being it range very loudly though we doubted we would actually hear it. On that day of perfect conditions, we indeed could. We all got one hit on the target before running out of ammo. Between 3 of us we used up 50 rounds of the hand loaded ammo but got only 1 hit each.

That’s pretty remarkable, hits on a man-sized target at one mile’s distance. We’ve never done that. The funny thing is, this remarkable achievement deserves everyone’s respect, and yet Shawn is just now writing it up, ten years later. It was the shot that started him on the long-range shooting that first brought to wide attention.

Before you criticize the few hits from 50 shots, bear in mind that at that range this load required a holdover of between 260-292 clicks (closer to 292, as a mile is 1760 yards).

The 1 mile project propelled into other projects like a 1,233 yard hit on the same target with a stock surplus K31 with GP11 ammo using a special scope base …. And a few other special shots were made over the years. One was the original iron sighted 1,000 yard shot you may have read about here.

In my opinion it stands as an excellent example of my pet subject, that a rifleman with standard equipment can do amazing things with skill and practice. The shots were taken from prone, using a variety of sand bags and bipods. Nothing extraordinary, really. An entire market and training industry has arisen since, …dead set to convince you that a standard factory made rifle can not do this type of thing.

I always recommend new shooters start at the quality factory rifle level since it will be a while before you will be able to shoot better than the rifle anyway.

Do go Read The Whole Thing™. You might think that we’ve excerpted the guts out of it, but there’s plenty more there, including Shawn’s recommendations on where not to save money if you choose to take up extreme long-range shooting, many more pictures of the gun including its laminated-on dope sheet, and the names of the four members of the Pike County One Mile Club.


So, How Dangerous is Open Carry?

Many people believe the world would be a safer place if more people carried pistols, and a subset of those people believe that carriers should carry them openly. There are several reasons they give for this, but the one we see most often suggests that open carry normalizes the exercise of this right — it has an effect of moving the Overton Window of what’s acceptable in discourse and of what’s acceptable in public life.

Many OC activists are young, twentysomething enthusiasts, and they look at the previous generations, and perhaps they see over-the-hill, uncommitted duds. They should probably bear in mind that the older folk have carried the can for a very long time, and moved the Overton Window quite a long way. Prior to Florida adopting a shall-issue license-to-carry policy in 1987, the default in many states was that neither open nor concealed carry was posible; where it was, except for the idiosyncratic national dairy-farm of Vermont, it was customary to have to plead one’s case to some small-time official who had (and sometimes, reveled in) the power to grant or deny your request, for any reason or for none at all.

That latter form of firearms permitting is restricted to a small cadre of politically left and higher-crime-than-demographics-justify states. Outright banning of carry does not exist de jure, and is restricted de facto to those few jurisdictions, like New York City, much of New Jersey, Rhode Island and some cities in Massachusetts, where gun opponents have unassailable political strength.

Thus, moving towards wider social acceptance of open carry seems like a good idea to many activists looking for the next axis of advance.

Consider this: our octogenarian Blogfather, who accepts the idea of gun rights as a matter of policy but in personal preferences is the antithesis of a gun guy, recently was taken aback to see his first open carrier. Alarmed at first, he quickly realized that the guy was just minding his own business with his own family, while armed. And while it struck him as odd, he got over the alarm quickly.

Thing is: he still thinks it’s odd, and still would probably vote against an OC initiative if one were proposed in his home state. But he isn’t going to make a Federal case out of it. We suspect his caution and doubt are closer to the median of today’s public than our own attitude, which is

We can think of three reasons not to OC, as against that one reason to (i.e. to normalize it). Here we list them in the order of least to most important.

  1. It alarms some people, when what we want to do is reassure people that our People of the Gun are not only no threat to them, but are actually a boon to them and to civil society overall.
  2. It gives up the deterrent factor of “unknown whether armed personnel are present,” and may even result in the carrier being targeted for his firearm.
  3. Our opponents, some of whom command many slavish followers and coin-operated “friends,” and some of whom have weaseled themselves into military and police seniority, are not constrained by normal rules of civilized behavior.

Why Alarm People?

If you’re going to open carry, you have to ask yourself this: is the reason you’re doing it worth alarming people who may not be opposed to your political position? We will not answer that for you, although you will probably easily deduce what we would say. You’re a grown adult and it’s your decision.

Why Telegraph That You are Armed?

There have been a number of high-profile, and quite a few more low-profile, homicides in which a victim was murdered to take his or her gun. That is one reason not to advertise. There is another that we’ll get to below, and that’s the degree to which deterrence depends on uncertainty. 

Of course, we’re addressing reasonable open-carry activists here, not the Texas choads who waddled into Chipotle with ready-slung tacticool SKSes, or murdered a couple of their family members. (And, with all due respect to Bob Owens there, it doesn’t help to play the tu quoque that Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action leaders and  Illegal Mayors Against Guns are also prone to criminality. The Texas and Tarrant County open-carry groups have been headed this way for a long time, and there’s a difference between activism and narcissistic attention-whoring).

The Deterrent Factor

Contrary to many criminologists’ beliefs, criminals are, at core, rational actors. They often make irrational-seeming decisions, but that happens because they cannot judge probabilities well or follow a chain of causation from cause to effect. (And they have really abominable impulse control; there is that). But they don’t set out to fail. They just badly misjudge their oddds of success in the kind of way that makes non-criminals wonder: what were they thinking? 

We have noted for years that severe penalties, even the death penalty, seem to have less effect than you would think on criminals’ behavior. That is partly because the criminal is not a rational actor, but a human being, driven by emotions no less (and often, more) than the rest of us.

And it is partly because he makes his decision based on the perceived probability of being caught and punished, not on the perceived severity of the probable punishment. His perception is skewed in his inadequate criminal mind, but that is not the same thing as saying he is acting irrationally. He is acting rationally on degraded input.

Given the certainty of someone present at the intended crime scene being armed, a criminal may try to work a way around it.  Given uncertainty over whether someone present is armed, he is likely to opt for another target — even as disorganized, stupid and confused as the mind of a criminal usually is.

And that’s the issue of open carry in a nutshell, looked at from a couple of different angles. Your opinion is welcome in the comments.


Our Opponents’ Actions vis-a-vis Open Carry

Vigilante Attack on Legal Concealed Carrier

At noontime on January 20, 2015, an angry white man named Michael Foster, DOB 9-7-71, of 15835 Fish Hawk Falls Drive, reacted to incitement by anti-gun groups and violently assaulted a middle-aged black man in a Walmart in Brandon, Florida (a Tampa suburb). Video shows Foster sneaking up behind Clarence Daniels, 62, who was entering the store to pick up coffee creamer; rabbit-punching him and then beating him, assisted by two other white thugs who disarm the victim and hand his gun off.

The victim, Daniels, was a legal license to carry holder. He considered drawing his gun, but as Foster was screaming, “He has a gun! He has a gun!” he thought better not shoot even a violent asshole over what might be a misunderstanding.

Foster, a violent criminal, pled not guilty and attempted a “defense of others” defense, but was convicted and has reportedly been sentenced to a year’s probation for battery (and, not surprisingly, anger management courses, and no possession of firearms. This is apparently a pretty standard sentence for this crime).  Foster’s intentions might be indicated by this fact: he never called 911, he just attacked the guy. The two thugs who assisted Foster vaporized before the cops came, and thus evaded charges.

The racial aspect of the attack may have been why CAIR, of all organizations, has represented the victim in the case.

This kind of crime is not without its supporters. Bloomberg hirelings Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action and Ladd Everitt of CSGV tweeted support for Foster, the violent criminal, at the time of the incident, but they were silent when their boy was convicted and sentenced. And the Brady Campaign’s Michael Bannerman suggested in 2012 that people opposed to open or concealed carry could and should “use non-deadly force to bring him down and render him not a threat.” What Foster did is exactly what the Brady Campaign called for, except it actually was (and is) a crime, as Miguel pointed out, presciently, in 2012.

Cops Assault an Open Carrier


Cops Assault a Guy they Mistake for an Open Carrier

Levi Joraanstad and Colin Waldera were setting up the telescope behind their Fargo apartment Monday night when they were blinded by a bright light and told to stop moving.

They couldn’t see who was shining the light and presumed it was a prank by other students.

An officer on patrol had spotted the two and thought the telescope was a rifle. He also thought Joraanstad’s dark sweater with white lettering on the back looked like a tactical vest. He called for backup and the officers confronted the students.

The numb-from-the-neck-up cops — who are not identified because OFFICER SAFETY!!1! makes no exceptions for criminallt stupid lawdogs — had their guns, probably no-safety Glocks or S&Ws, pointed at the two kids. Of course, a telescope is something foreign to the cops on the Fargo force, because it’s the sort of things associated with kids that passed middle school science.

Cops Murder an Unarmed Man for a Racist Crank

A racist crank named Ronald Ritchie called 911 last August (5 Aug 14). A black man was walking around an Ohio Walmart with an air rifle (one that was for sale in the store). Ritchie repeatedly told 911 operators that the man, who was later identified as John Crawford III, was threatening members of the public. (Surveillance video from the store shows that Ritchie made it all up). A responding police office, Sean Williams from the Beavercreek, OH, PD, on the edge of panic thanks to Ritchie’s lies, decided to shoot first and ask questions later (it was later determined that the policeman fired 0.36 seconds after arriving on scene), and while he and another officer were yelling contradictory commands at Crawford, blew him away with “two shots center of mass” with some type of AR-15 rifle. (Crawford had six holes in his body). Williams lawyered up and did not cooperate with the investigation until he and the PBA’s usual bad-cop attorney, one Vincent Popp, had a story together, but a friendly prosecutor (who admitted he didn’t want to take the case but was “made to take it,” and who went on vacation rather than prepare it) swept away state charges with a one-sided presentation to a state grand jury. Still, both Williams and Ritchie have reason to stay lawyered up, as Crawford’s family is still seeking justice, a year later. Another officer, Sgt. David Darkow, was on the scene, but did not fire at Crawford. Darkow too has lawyered up.

The cops’ statements used practically identical language that “Crawford III acted aggressively and moved toward them in a threatening way” but the video shows those statements to be lies.

This is the second time Williams has killed a citizen and gotten off with the PBA mantra: “he ignored my commands” and “I was in fear for my life.” His last rodeo was in 2010.

Williams has remained on a combination of de facto free vacation time and do-nothing day desk duty since the shooting.

But as much of a discredit to the police profession that Sean Williams may be, his part in this whole sad sage would never have come on stage but for the malicious lies of Ronald Ritchie.





Junior-varsity Bloomberg stooges, the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence called for SWATting of open and concealed carriers as long ago as 2004. It also told its members to make the call, and then flee the scene so as not to be have to answer questions.

The OCAGV’s uplink in the great multi-level-marketing Ponzi Scheme that is the anti-gun “movement,”” the national Coalition against Gun Violence, continues to call for  and to support member calls for violence against legal firearms carriers.

CSGV and Ladd Everitt called for SWATting of open carriers. They, and Moms Demand Action’s Shannon Watts, celebrated Foster’s attack on Daniels.

Earlier this month, rabidly anti-self-defense Coalition to Stop Gun Violence became the latest gun control extremist group to advocate calling police any time they see a gun owner in public.



This trend is getting more media reaction lately

Here’s a new trend which can only end badly. … The atmosphere around the nation is particularly tense for law enforcement officers as more and more of them are murdered and criminals become more brazen. Sending the cops out on a call where they have been falsely informed that someone is “acting suspicious” and is clearly armed just puts everyone on a hair trigger… literally.

As more states relax rules about open-carrying of guns, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has taken to social media to urge the public to assume gun-toters are trouble, and to call the cops… “Never put your safety, or the safety of your loved ones, at the mercy of weak gun laws.”

“This practice is exactly what they [Coalition to Stop Gun Violence] are doing,” said Erich Pratt, spokesman for Virginia-based Gun Owners of America. …“…this clearly sounds like swatting.”

“Anti-gun advocates are clearly frustrated. They want guns banned,” he said. “But they have been thwarted in the past, so they are looking for alternative means.

“They are inciting their radical base to turn their own neighbors in.”

Some blogs also have valuable ideas on this subject. For instance, Herschel Smith, at Caprain’s Quarters, explains how an open-carry jurisdiction should handle these SWATting calls:

If the 911 operators and police would simply educate the public like they should, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen. 911 – what’s your emergency? “I see a man carrying a gun down the street.” Ma’am, that’s not illegal. What’s your emergency, is he brandishing it or threatening anyone? “Well, no. But I can’t be sure of anything.” Ma’am, you are using the valuable 911 time that might be needed in real emergencies, so if you don’t hang up we intend to press charges for misuse and abuse of 911. Click.

It’s not really practical — you’d be amazed how many 911 calls are incomplete, confused, or just plain wrong — but you can’t blame him for wishing things worked that way.



Can You Shoot Like a Fed?

fletc-crestThe answer isn’t surprising when you think about it. It comes in several parts:

  1. Since the qualification bar is set pretty low, if you practice your shooting, probably;
  2. Even if you don’t practice your shooting, you probably shoot better than some of them;
  3. And unless you’re practicing regularly, you’ll probably fail to shoot as well as some of ’em.

Let’s Have It: the Shoot Like a Fed challenge.

If you are safe shooting from the holster and reholstering (and maybe, you want someone else’s opinion on this, like a rangemaster or instructor, because almost everyone misjudges his or her own skill levels), then here’s the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) course of fire for the men and women that want to be 1811 Criminal Investigators. This is the entry level qual. Pass this, and you move on to your own agency’s qual, which varies but is often (ATF, FBI, ICE) a little tougher than the FLETC initial gate in the Criminal Investigator Training Program. 

The below course of fire is exactly as taught to FLETC instructors in the interagency Firearms Instructor Training Program, and as fired by every1 Fed Criminal Investigator during his or her training. (The instructors shoot the same course, but have a higher threshold to reach. Just to enter FITP, they must shoot 80%, or they bounce out of the instructor course on Day 1). The instructors learn the course so that they can teach the course. Most of them are gun guys and gals who take pride in their shooting and teaching, and want to produce special agents who are safe for other agents and the public to be around, but a positive menace to armed criminals.

There are two sections or halves of the course of fire, one of close-in shooting typical of law enforcement shootouts (1-7 yard line) and one of long-distance (for police work) shooting (15 to 25 yards).

Once you have mastered drawing, firing, holstering and reloading safely in a non-timed environment, you can begin to add time stress. Remember, crawl/walk/run. Basic marksmanship comes long, long before holster work. You need to be safe, secure, and not frightening to range officers before trying this. (And of course, the guy who is frightening to ROs never realizes that he’s that guy — but we have to make the point for the educable ones. ROs, mind yer topknots).

ltr-ii_fletcSo if you want  to see if you can Shoot Like A Fed:

  1. Get the basic LTR-II target used at FLETC. You can buy them from Law Enforcement Targets or Targets Online. You might want to get a few of them.
  2. Shoot the qual with someone timing you or an autotimer.
  3. Record your score.
  4. Post it in comments.

FITP Course of Fire 

Stage directions (“start here in this stance”) are in plain type.
Holstering instructions not involving reloads are in Bold type.
Times are noted in Bold Red type.
Mag loading instructions are Bold Blue.
Reload and mag change instructions are Bold and Highlighted.
Scoring instructions are Bold Green

(Abbreviated version of the Course of Fire)
75 rounds needed for the 60 round COF

Magazines 6/6/6

1 ½ YARD LINE – FI Stance – one-handed, bend elbow position – from the holster

2 rounds in 3 seconds
2 rounds in 3 seconds
2 rounds in 3 seconds – Emergency reload

3 YARD LINE – Shooting Stance – two handed, point shoulder – from the holster

2 rounds in 3 seconds
2 rounds in 2 seconds – READY POSITION
2 rounds in 2 seconds– READY POSITION-Emergency Reload

Magazines on ground 6/6

7 YARD LINE – Shooting Stance – two handed, point shoulder from the holster

1 rounds in 3 seconds – FOR FIVE FACINGS
1 round and Emergency reload in 15 seconds
1 round in 3 seconds (Support Hand Only) for FIVE FACINGS– EMERGENCY RELOAD

Magazines on ground 6/6

7 YARD cont. – Shooting Stance – two hand, point shoulder – from the holster

2 rounds to the chest and 1 round to the head in 6 seconds
2 rounds to the chest and 1 round to the head, EMERGENCY RELOAD
2 rounds to the chest and 1 round to the head in 15 seconds.

Close Quarter Position – Strong hand only, assume the Ready Position – finger off trigger– 3 to the chest in 5 seconds – Emergency reload

(Front Half) 36 rounds total for a possible score of 180. 

Magazines 8/8/8

Strong side standing barricade

– 3 rounds standing in 7 seconds from the holster
– 3 rounds kneeling in 7 seconds from aimed in position Tactical Reload and holster

Support side standing barricade

– 3 rounds standing in 7 seconds from the holster
– 3 rounds kneeling in 7 seconds from aimed in position Tactical Reload and holster

Magazines on ground 8/8

Right side standing barricade, one step to the rear and one step right

-3 rounds standing 10 seconds – from the holster
-2 rounds standing 5 seconds from aimed in position
-1 round standing 3 seconds from aimed in position

Magazine Exchange

Left side standing barricade, one step to the rear and one step right

-3 rounds standing 10 seconds – from the holster
-2 rounds standing 5 seconds from aimed in position
-1 round standing 3 seconds from aimed in position

Magazine Exchange

Back half 24 rounds total for a possible score of 120
Total 60 rounds for a possible score of 300 points

Minimum score = 70% (210 points from a possible 300)

210 – 254       = Marksman
255 – 284       = Sharpshooter
285 –299       = Expert
300                = Distinguished Expert

(Again, the 70% score is to pass basic CITP.  The entry exam for FITP is 80%).

About the FLETC quals: Why This Standard?

FLETC logoThey don’t expect special agents to be Deadeye Dick, Legendary Gunsel. After all, 99.some-number-of-nines percent of them will never have to engage a suspect, and the ones that do will spend 99.some-number-of-nice percent of their time doing stuff other that gunfighting — mostly, sadly, paperwork and the latest check-the-box nonsense to come out of DC.

Indeed, there are SAs that retire without ever having arrested anybody, just adopting cases that state and local cops made. It’s chicken, but it’s there, and these guys and gals are way overrepresented among supervisors and managers. The Fed is like a Turkish water pipe: the more you suck, the higher you go.

But one ugly fact of 1811 life is that one day it may fall on you to be the one that saves an innocent’s world and ends a felon’s. When that day comes, you’re supposed to have the skills and the confidence in your skills to do the right thing with your issued (or chosen, for those agencies where that’s an option) firearm. This is how they start defining the baseline level of those skills.

So, can you shoot like a Fed?

Update on Terms & Practices

We’ve some great questions in the comments, including feedback from an instructor and a retired SA. So we had a powwow with our own favorite FLETC instructor. Here are some definitions:

  1. The mags always start out in the shooter’s pouch (well, one in his or her firearm). When the sheet says “mags 6/6 on the ground”, the shooter has to pick up the mags he dropped on the ground in the previous evolution, and load them for the next evolution. “Mags on the ground” just means that’s where they wound up in the previous firing evolution, and before you fire again they’ll be back in your mag pouches.
  2. There are several kinds of reloads. “Magazine Exchange” is an administrative, non timed reload. “Tactical Reload” is a dump of a magazine that may still contain live rounds in order to present a firearm with a “full” magazine, so that you don’t dry fire in a firefight. “Emergency Reload” is from slide lock, when you’ve just fired yourself dry. (Yes, one of the Emergency Reloads on the course of fire comes after five rounds from a six shot mag. It is a puzzlement).
  3. Timing. The way it’s supposed to work is if the reload (emergency or tactical) is before the time hack in the description, it counts as part of the time. If it’s after, it’s a freebie, time-wise. Note that there’s a wide variation here — different instructors have different ways of doing it. “Some of the old guys seem to just do whatever they want.”
  4. Side-step. Apparently this is meant to simulate seeking cover. It’s a good idea as a moving target is much harder to hit (of course, a moving shooter generally can’t hit diddly, too). This is another variation… recently only one course was observed to be doing this and not all the shooters in that course.
  5. Overall, there’s an attempt at standardization at FLETC but it is not enforced rigorously, and there may be variations from class to class and instructor to instructor.


  1. “Every?” Well, there are always rumors of “midnight qualifications” when supervisors report having taken to the range candidates who are wanted very very badly (for example, because they are related to senior government officials, or have magical “diversity bean” properties). Invariably these candidates have passed under the tutelage of the senior supervisors, when they couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle with the help of the ordinary (and actual) instructors. But apart from them, and everybody knows who they are, every 1811 Criminal Investigator passes this qual.

Shot in the Junk!

ND-shot-in-footIt happens. Just ask Daniel Allen Jr. — when he gets out of hospital. And jail. He was running from the cops when, kabango, he took a bullet in — depending on which report you want to believe — the “lower body.” Or the “groin.” Wherever it was, he lost interest in running, and threw himself on the mercy of the cops.

Unfortunately for him he’s in New Jersey, where even lawful possession of a firearm gets a first-time violator a longer sentence than  a frequent flier gets for murder. So much for mercy.

Daniel Allen Jr.’s alleged attempt to run from Cherry Hill police early Sunday morning ended abruptly — and painfully — when he accidentally shot himself, authorities said.

A statement by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and Cherry Hill police said only that Allen, 23, of Pennsauken, was struck in the “lower body.” Earlier reports had identified it as a groin injury.

Police did not describe the weapon.

From what we’ve seen of cops, maybe they can’t describe the weapon. Small Dog was watching some TV show about K9 cops the other day, and the cops were absolutely mystified by an ordinary .22 target pistol that some vibrant fellow Dindu Nuffin with. “What is that?” “Really weird.” “It looks German or something.”

We only got a glance at it so we didn’t have a chance to ID it as a High Standard or a Colt Woodsman, but it was one or the other. German, for the love of Mike?

And what do you think a bunch of cops who between them haven’t got one guy or gal that can recognize a .22 target pistol shoot like? When the phone doesn’t ring, it’s USA Shooting not calling ’em about the next Olympics. Anyway, why did the cops come in the first place?

Allen was allegedly involved in a fight involving a number of people outside Craft House and Beer Garden, a popular Cherry Hill bar on Route 70. Police responded around 2 a.m.

Ah yeah. 2 AM. Closing Time. The modern Witching Hour. A time when all who desire an orderly life are home abed, and when Nothing Good Happens to those who remain out and about.

As police worked to break up the fight, they saw a woman jump on Allen’s back, according to the police statement. When they approached, Allen took off running in what would be a short flee attempt, police said.

“A short flee attempt.” A grammatical English attempt, eh?

“Officers then heard a gunshot and detained Allen, who advised police that he shot himself,” police said in the release.

Actually, he probably said one of the following:

  1. [expletive deleted]
  2. “Ow, ow, OW!”
  3. “The stupid, it burns!

Allen was transported to Cooper University Hospital, where he was treated for a non-life-threatening injury, police said.

He was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.

Hey, but his buddy had his back.

Joshua Haughton, 24, of Pennsauken, tried to retrieve the gun and was arrested on charges of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence, police said.

via Man accidentally shoots self outside South Jersey bar.

Daniel Allen Jr., the perv. May or may not be the same Daniel Allen.

Daniel Allen Jr., the perv. May or may not be the same Daniel Allen.

Now, Daniel Allen Jr. is not a rare name, but a Daniel Allen Jr. of the same name and age recently went down for kiddie porn in the very same city’s Federal court. Same dude, out on bail pending appeal? And will getting shot-in-the-junk cure his short eyes, if so?

Getting shot in the head would.

That made us wonder — how common is getting shot in the junk? News stories are too unreliable to have statistical power. You’d need access to police databases. And you’d need to have someplace where there are so many shootings you can start to have confidence in your numbers.

In short, you’d need to be Hey Jackass, the one-time Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week that keeps track of the gunplay in the lakefront failed Third World kleptocracy of Chicongo. For instance, HJ lets you know that this year, they’ve had 406 homicides (there are a few more “death investigations” pending at any given time, which might go homicide, suicide or accident). They’ve cleared few of them (23.5% of homicides, only 8% of shooting assaults), which might be explained by a deep dive into Chicago Police Department culture — for instance, the incoming Chief of Detectives is a slug famous for fabricating a nonexistent witness statement to help a Daley family member walk on a murder.

And sure enough, HJ tells us that out of this year;’s 2,375 shooting victims, 137 were shot in the ass:


…and 36 were shot in the junk:


That represents 36/2375 or about a 1.5% chance of, if one is shot, being shot in the junk. (As you might expect for a proportionately larger target, the shot in the ass brigade is larger, at 5.8%).

Lessons reinforced: Don’t do stupid things in stupid places at stupid times with stupid people. Chicago is a stupid place.

And if you’re about to get shot, and have no way to fight back you might want to turn your back and hide behind your gluteus maximus. If you live to get ridiculed at Hey Jackass, this was good advice.

German Invader With Russian Defender’s Rifle?

Where this grainy photo appeared in Daily Mail recently, in support of a story on grave-robbery in the East,  the caption was: Arms: The items being gathered by collectors often include rifles similar to these being carried by these German troops running on the Eastern Front in 1941. But have a look at this picture.

Germans -- Eastern Front -- 1941

The picture is a familiar one, it’s one editors seem to always go to for an Operation Barbarossa shot. But look at the rifle in the hands of the lead soldier! It’s a Russian rifle, specifically, a Tokarev SVT-40 (below) or possibly an SVT-38. An SVT-40 is shown below. The SVT-38 has the cleaning rod on the right side of the stock instead of under the barrel, and has a slightly shorter metal hand guard.

SVT-40 tokarev

So… is this a Barbarossa pic, and the German has merely helped himself to a Russian bangstick? Or are these guys, perhaps, Finns? The Finnish Army used both German-style helmets (which was their standard) and Russian rifle, including Tokarevs, which they captured in massive quantities in the Winter War. Indeed, most non-import-marked Tokarev rifles you find in the USA come from about 5,800 pre-’68 imports from Finland, and bear the “SA” cartouche of the Finnish Army.

kennblaetter_fremden_geraetsThen again, every army in the world uses foreign and enemy weapons if necessary. The Nazis, always short of arms for their oversized army, systematized the use of foreign weapons, and actually issued many foreign weapons, from pistols to tanks, and issued them German logistics numbers and printed German-language manuals. The SVT-40 was known to the Wehrmacht as the Gewehr 259 (r.) with the “r” standing for russich, Russian; the SVT-38 was called the G. 258 (r). But these designations were not assigned until December, 1942, according to the official document, the Kennblätter fremden Geräts.

Either way, it’s an interesting picture, possibly staged (In combat photography, how often is the photographer out in front of the infantry?) and possibly not.

Defending Against Armed Attack: Armed vs. Unarmed

More details continue to emerge about the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. It is likely that, as more information proves out, many initial reports will be exposed as inaccurate (indeed, we speculated in comments that because the police were very slow to release the ID of the shooter, he was probably a Moslem. Instead, he seems to have been a native-born, religion-free nut job motivated by dreams of television celebrity).

The shooter was a confusing and confused individual, a militant atheist who called himself conservative, who linked to Islamists but apparently just for the murders, who admired several spree killers and expressed a desire to benefit from similar media celebrity — which, of course, he now has. Anti-gun politicians wasted no time calling for further punishment of those gun owners who didn’t do it, led by a typically self-referential and self-regarding speech by the President, and including such staple anti-gun figures as Texas State Senator John Whitmire, who may have set a new record for variations of the abnegatory but  (“I support the 2nd Amendment, but“) in an interview with two radio reporters and fellow anti-gun Democrats. (They are careful not to mention his, or their, party).

Oregon, increasingly North California, had already installed most of the legal panaceas pushed as first or interim “common sense” measures by the gun-ban enthusiasts: . The state had a law that permitted campus carry, but allowed individual colleges to opt out, which Umpqua did in righteous terms:

Possession, use, or threatened use of firearms (including but not limited to BB guns, air guns, water pistols, and paint guns) ammunition, explosives, dangerous chemicals, or any other objects as weapons on college property, except as expressly authorized by law or college regulations, is prohibited.

We won’t go into the politics of this issue at this time — that’s not the point of the post. The point is, what can you do?

Like the Westgate Mall shooters, this guy got his jollies asking terrified people a question about their religion. Wrong answer, they kill you.

If you are a student at a school like Umpqua that privileges murderers above defenders, you have certain choices:

  1. You can obey the policy and pray for salvation in the event of an attack.
  2. You can obey the policy and fight back, unarmed.
  3. You can violate the policy and let the chips fall where they may.
  4. You can drop out or transfer out.

That seems to cover it. We know what happened to those who followed the first line of defense. If they were Jews, Hindus, or some other minority religion, the gunman “spared” them, shooting them in the legs. If they were Christians, he made himself their judge and executioner.

We ‘re aware of at least two students who took approaches 2 and 3, both veterans. This is how those approaches worked out.

Attack Unarmed

chris mintzWe all know that an unarmed attack on an armed man may succeed, as we recently saw in France. (In a strange coincidence, one of the French train heroes, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, was a student at Umpqua, but he was out of state at the time of the shooting). Even in France, several of the men who attacked the gunman were wounded, but force of numbers, along with speed, surprise and violence of action, won the day.

Army vet Chris Mintz, a fitness buff learning to be a fitness coach at Umpqua, gave it his best shot — and was on the receiving end of a number of shots (some stories say five, some say seven) in his legs. The wounds took him out of the fight; he was unable to disarm the shooter.

Carry Despite the Policy

john-johnThat doesn’t guarantee a win for the good guys, either. In this case, a vet who identified himself as John (on camera) told Breitbart’s Lee Stranahan, that as a concealed carry permit holder, “Yeah, I purchased my rights back from the government.”

We were in a — there’s a special room, for just veterans to go to and study. We were just getting ready to go to our next class, someone left, came back in and said, “Hey, active shooter on campus. We’ve gotta leave.”

His first reaction was that it was probably a false alarm.

A few of us were not sure if it was just somebody across the river on county-owned land, target practicing, or if they were really a shooter on campus. So a few of us said, “Let’s check this out and go see what’s going on.”

At that time, we were told to go into a room. We went our separate ways into different rooms. We stayed in lockdown for about two hours.

And that was where your concealed carrier was, locked into a room by the gunless campus Paul Blart, whose emergency plan was apparently to concentrate the victims for the convenience of the shooter. Ultimately, the cops killed the shooter (or he killed himself) before he got to the room with the surprise in it.

John-John was unimpressed with the college’s self-designation as a Victim Disarmament Zone. And if he had been 200 yards closer to the shooting, instead of 200 yards away?

“Military… Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, whatever… we’re trained to run towards danger, not run away from it. I would have gone closer… to see if there was something I could have done, to intervene, to help. If that would have gotten me shot, I don’t know. If it would have gotten me to a point where I could have saved thirteen or however many victims…? We’ll never know. Speculation.”

Hmmm… while we’re speculating, what if brave Chris Mintz had been the guy with a defensive gun?


These are rare attacks, and each one has its own idiosyncrasies. Two things that seem nearly universal are the killer’s failure at life, and his desire for media lionization, something the media never fails to give him.

People who think these crimes are unique to the United States, or that crazies need firearms to carry them out, have blinders on.

When the fight comes to you, you need to fight as you are. Every bullet absorbed by Chris Mintz, who will recover, is one that was not fired into the head of a defenseless person.

There is not much that can be done in the public policy realm that will have any effect on these sorts of crimes, and nothing at all that will affect them in the short term. The best policy prescription might be to put more resources into basic research on mental illness, but are we prepared to launch an effort that might take a century to tell us, “We know a lot of fascinating new things, but nothing practical; predicting and preventing wig-outs remains impossible”?

One thing we could do is bring consequences home to those who disarm victims for the benefit of assailants. Congress should make any corporation or non-profit and its officers, trustees, and responsible decision-makers bear strict, unlimited, joint and several liability for the predictable consequences of this disarmament.

What Happened in Kenya’s Westgate Mall?

It turns out, what happened in September, 2013, is not what we’ve been told. The official line goes something like this: that up to a dozen armed jihadis attacked, killed hundreds, holed up with dozens of hostages and blew the place up, and were taken out in a determined assault by Nairobi SWAT.

"Fucking Americans!" Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow spat, and gunned down Ross Langdon, 32 who died in a futile attempt to save his eight-months-pregnant girlfriend Elif Yavuz. Neither was American.

“Fucking Americans!” Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow spat, and gunned down Ross Langdon, 32 who died in a futile attempt to protect his eight-months-pregnant girlfriend Elif Yavuz. Neither was American.

What actually happened was more remarkable:

  1. There were only four young gunmen, Somali expendables from as-Shabaab, lightly armed with AKs and hand grenades, presumably F1s.
  2. They seemed to enjoy playing with the defenseless people at the mall. For example, they’d ask people questions, and shoot them, depending on the answers. They took pleasure in shooting women and children and praised themselves to their god, and praised their god, every killing. In one case a Hindu man and his wife survived because he knew the words of the shahada, the mohammedan profession of faith. (Learning that shibboleth may be a survival skill. Saying the words doesn’t really make you moslem: you have to grow a beard, start wearing a shalwar kameez, insist on bagging your women, and develop urges to murder children).
  3. While the police hesitated, like the cops at the Columbine, Colorado school shooting in the USA, individual non-police gun carriers and a few bold individual policemen entered the mall in pursuit of the four gunmen. These guys are the ones you see saving those who were saved.
  4. Aside: hail to the photographers. A reporter can write a terrorist attack story from his hotel bar, and it’s clear that many of them did in this case, but the photog has to go there and put his or her quivering young body in the range of hostile fire. They’re men and women after our own hearts.
  5. The mall had only five exits including a single department store loading dock, and the mohammedans occupied two of them by force, each with a loose two-man team. This may not have been their plan — they don’t seem to have been very bright — but that’s how it shook out.
  6. The survivors used a variety of survival strategies: since no good guys were armed until the gun carriers and cops started filtering in, fight was out of the question, so they mostly depended on flight and concealment. A number of survivors, especially wounded survivors, played dead. Some who played dead were caught out and executed by laughing terrorists.
  7. There was a racial aspect to the attack as well as the religious one. Whites and Asians (including South Asians) seem to have been marked for death, although the killers said they were only killing Americans and Kenyans, and released some victims who claimed (truthfully or not) to be other nationalities. However, they didn’t ask the nationality of most of those that they killed.
  8. It seems likely that some of the attackers had been living as refugees in Kenya, as they spoke English and Kenyan Swahili. We are reminded of the old saw that one in ten refugees is an agent for a hostile power.
  9. Many of the survivors spoke about how calm the attackers seemed. We smell khat. 
  10. Nobody was more scared than the street cop who realized, as an ethnic Somali with an AK, he might be mistaken for the attackers by his own guys, despite his police uniform. But he went in and saved people anyway, despite being seriously wounded by the terrorists. You would hope the Kenyan republic gives him the medal he earned.
  11. When the Kenyan police and army finally attacked many hours later, they did it by an uncoordinated strike through separate entrances, and when they two forces met, they engaged each other. After that, the elite police SWAT-like unit took their casualties and went home, and the Army and other police proceeded to trash the place.
  12. The rescuers were too late to save much of anybody: most of the casualties were killed in the initial attack, or bled out during the hours it took officialdom to nerve itself up to move.
  13. All the significant damage to the mall was caused by the Kenyan military and police — this was all gravy from the point of view of as-Shabaab.
Ad hoc security: (l-r): non-Kenyan security professional with M9; Kenyan licensed carrier with Glock (note IDPA patch@); Kenyan citizen or (given lax trigger discipline!) plainclothes cop with CZ-75. The CZ is very popular in Kenya both with police and civilians. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Ad hoc security: (l-r): non-Kenyan security professional with M9; Kenyan licensed carrier with Glock (note IDPA patch!); Kenyan citizen or (given lax trigger discipline!) plainclothes cop with CZ-75. The CZ is very popular in Kenya both with police and civilians. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

The Kenyan security services did not cover themselves in glory here. Once again, we learn some timeless lessons:

  1. Afterward, the intelligence services find out they should have seen it coming, but oops.
  2. The rescue that matters is self-rescue and self-started civilian rescue. The cavalry only comes in time in Hollywood.
  3. Most untrained people are passive even in the face of certain death. 
  4. Talking to terrorists doesn’t work. The guys who stood up to remonstrate with the terrorists would agree, except they’re all dead.
  5. In the imagined “gun-free zone,” even the most inept miscreant with a gun is king. We’ve seen ten clowns with rifles tie all Bombay in knots for days, and here’s a mass-casualty (and mass-headline-producing, the terrs’ metric) event caused by four shooters with minimal training and basic equipment.
  6. Kenya’s policy of issuing concealed carry licenses to trusted individuals worked to the benefit of all here. Contrary to popular expectation, the licensees worked well with each other and with the police. We hope Kenya will consider expanding the policy.
  7. An ad-hoc, self-organized response right here right now, is not only “not necessarily bad,” but might be a lot better than the perfect, coordinated SWAT raid an hour from now. (And as we’ve seen, the raid was not perfect and coordinated).
  8. Once your forces are on scene, there is no more reason for delay — only excuses and pretexts. To be sure, the murders of those people at the Westgate Mall were on the heads of as-Shabaab, but a significant number of the dead would have been surviving wounded with speedy and resolute action, which was lacking.
  9. The time to make sure your radios are interoperable is before the attack. If you haven’t done that, and Kenyans hadn’t, you can pretty much guarantee they won’t be, and they weren’t.
  10. Finally: don’t expect the security forces to investigate themselves after a cock-up of this magnitude. After the initial raid at Waco, the ATF leaders of the raid shredded their raid plan and lawyered up. After the final incendiary attack, the FBI destroyed mountains of evidence. So it should surprise no-one that the promised investigation of the Westgate attack has never materialized in Kenya. It won’t, and if it does, it will be an empty whitewash.

The source for this is a remarkable and thoroughly reported analysis in Foreign Policy by Kenya-based reporter Tristan McConnell. McConnell has pieced together this story from dozens of interviews with survivors, and his conclusions are bitter and blunt:

Far from a dramatic three-day standoff, the assault on the Westgate Mall lasted only a few hours, almost all of it taking place before Kenyan security forces even entered the building. When they finally did, it was only to shoot at one another before going on an armed looting spree that resulted in the collapse of the rear of the building, destroyed with a rocket-propelled grenade. And there were only four gunmen, all of whom were buried in the rubble, along with much of the forensic evidence.

During the roughly three-and-a-half hours that the killers were loose in the mall, there was virtually no organized government response. But while Kenyan officials prevaricated, an unlikely coalition of licensed civilian gun owners and brave, resourceful individual police officers took it upon themselves to mount a rescue effort. Pieced together over 10 months from more than three dozen interviews with survivors, first responders, security officers, and investigators, the following account brings their story to life for the first time since the horrific terrorist attack occurred exactly two years ago.

We haven’t seen such a remarkable job of forensic reporting since Mark Bowden’s series of newspaper reports that became the book, and later the Ridley Scott movie, Black Hawk Down. It is to be hoped that McConnell has book-length ambitions also; he certainly must have more human-interest details in his hours of interviews. Some pieces of the puzzle are lacking still (how did the attackers die?) but McConnell has done more to shed light on this disastrous failure of public policy and police response, as well as its aspects of human tragedy, than any five other writers.

More than a hat tip: our attention was called to this by fellow combat vet (in, we think we have this right, the SADF in the 80s) Peter Grant, who writes science fiction books in the spirit (and he’d probably admit, shadow) of Heinlein, and who blogs at Bayou Renaissance Man. Here is his post on Westgate.

Two Police Officers Murdered From Ambush, 2012

Dale Cregan court caseCriminal depravity is neither uniquely American nor anything new. But this is a particularly cold-blooded incident.

The two cops were lured to their doom by a burglary call that turned out to be a pretext for bringing them into their killer’s sights. Both of the officers were women — Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23. They were killed by gunfire — a lot of gunfire, 32 shots — and a grenade, all delivered in a single fusillade in about a half minute. And neither got a shot off. There’s a good reason for that: this happened in England, where most cops don’t go armed.

The creepy one-eyed killer, Dale Cregan, 29, made the hoax call and then as the two WPCs walked up the path to the door, opened the door and began blasting with a Glock handgun with an extended magazine. Of his 32 shots at point-blank range, five put WPC Hughes down and three more were fired into her head as she lay there. WPC Bone was also hit eight times; somewhere in there she managed to discharge the one, feeble, defensive weapon she had, a Taser.

cregans glock

We generally consider extended magazines like this an impractical gimmick on a handgun, although we admit to owning several (including Korean 50-round Glock drums) simply for the amusement value. With training, a mag change does not interrupt accurate fire significantly, but the extended mags (even Glock-brand extended mags, which are more reliable than knockoffs) increase the probability of a stoppage. But we suppose when it’s “British criminal rules” and you don’t have to fear return fire you can “go big” in the magazine department with relative impunity.

Cregan was already wanted for another gun-and-grenade murder, and it turned out he’d committed a fourth murder and multiple firearms assaults before that. The 29-year-old career felon had reportedly had his eye removed by members of a rival gang.

Britain’s vaunted gun control laws are so effective — handguns have been banned since 1996 there — that Cregan had no difficulty amassing an arsenal of approximately ten weapons, including the Glock, and automatic weapons. This did not count his stock of grenades, which were mostly Yugoslav models. The ones used in the 2012 killings were M-75s; after Cregan turned himself in to police, they found some of his grenades in a storm drain stash (the black ribbed bodies are M-75s. They use NATO-thread fuzes, IIRC).

cregans nades

Note that Britain not only has nationwide gun control, it’s an island, with a modern, First World police force and a short menu of ports and airports of entry. Every one of Cregan’s weapons originated outside the UK and passed through that border barrier as if it were nonexistent. Of course, as the lessons of Australia, the Philippines, and several other highly firearms-restrictive jurisdictions suggest, this result is foreseeable if not predictable.

When Cregan finally stood trial in 2013, nine other members of his gang were tried with him. He got a very rare life sentence, something English and Welsh jurisprudence is extremely loath to issue.

So tell us again how disarming the fox hunters and the Olympic pistol team prevents crime. Apparently Dale Cregan didn’t get the memo.

Hat tip, Guns n Freedom.