Category Archives: Weapons Usage and Employment

Armed Self Defense Gone Bad

law_of_self_defense_branca_standard_editionWhen we hear of Armed Self Defense Gone Bad, we think of those incidents Andrew Branca tries to educate people out of having — incidents wherein a would-be defender loses the mantle of lawful self-defense, and survives the gunfight only to end up on the muzzle end of the criminal justice system. But there are worse outcomes than that.

José Rodriguez was a good guy with a gun. He perished coming to a neighbor’s aid.

His neighbors across the street were subjected to a brutal home invasion by a gang of young black career criminals. (The robbery victims were black too). The cons had gotten the idea that the home was a drug house, and they burst in, armed with short and long guns, screaming at a young woman they found inside. “Get in the $@#^&ing closet! Shut the &%#&$ up!” As it turned out, the criminals were wrong about the house being a drug house (criminals wrong, imagine that!), there were neither drugs nor money within, and the cursing criminals had to settle for stealing the TVs and PlayStations.

José stepped out of his own home, with his .45, and commanded the home invaders to put down their guns. They didn’t. They lit him up instead. He desperately returned fire. “He was way outgunned,” one of the investigating officers determined. They found brass from an AR-15 and a 9mm pistol (when recovered, it seemed to be something like a TEC-9), and shotgun shells (12-gauge buckshot). Rodriguez was hit by all three calibers, at what was essentially point-blank range; he did not hit any of his assailants. He did not survive.

The investigation into José’s murder was featured in Season 10 (2010), Episode 18 of the long-running TV documentary, The First 48. In due course, all five members of the rip crew would receive long sentences for armed robbery or murder. The sheer typicality of the criminals was depressing. You know the type: slack-jawed, dull-eyed, greedy and idle; seemingly missing some of the forebrain functions and empathetic emotions common to the general run of human beings. Even though most of them were quite young, they all had criminal records. Not an Eagle Scout among ’em. Of course.

The three murder weapons were all recovered. The shooters bailed out of the getaway truck; two guns were left behind, and the AR-15 was found under a nearby house — alongside its erstwhile operator. Other perps’ prints were on the stolen goods in the truck bed. The truck was owned by and registered to one of them. They were rounded up, routinely; one was plucked off a jetliner as he tried to skip town, without as much as a change of socks. Each of the three shooters tried to claim that he personally was not one of the shooters, but gave up the other two. The major elements of the crime were solved in hours, and all five perps remain behind bars at this writing.

None of the cops had a word of criticism of José Rodriguez, who so looked out for his neighbors that they called him, affectionately, the “Neighborhood Sheriff”. He did not, after all, kill himself; he was murdered by these thugs, his life cut short at 49. It is a hard thing to criticize a dead man, but that’s not what we’re trying to do here. Instead, we’re trying to learn from his example.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Cover Counts. When you engage an armed enemy, or approach a possibly-armed enemy, protect yourself. Had José called them out from the minimal protection of his door frame, instead of advanced towards them across his front lawn, he might have lived. 
  2. You are not the cavalry. If your and your family’s lives are not in imminent danger, call the cavalry. They have the tools, the tactics, and above all, the experience to take armed criminals into custody safely. (Indeed, the Sheriff’s Office and other LE would bag the whole crew, one at a time, without another shot fired).
  3. Criminals are more gunned-up than ever, and all guns are lethal (it was the 9mm and buckshot rounds that killed José. His 5.56mm wounds were survivable). Understand the balance of forces before engaging.
  4. Don’t buy someone else’s fight. Maybe you have to, if someone’s being murdered. Absent that, not your circus, not your monkeys.
  5. Proportion in all thingsNot only did five worthless skells lose large chunks of their worthless lives for a couple of $200 TVs and consoles that they didn’t even get away with, José, who unlike the criminals was a productive member of society, got himself killed over those same stupid TVs.
  6. Don’t engage multiple assailants unless you can fire first. (And you can only fire first if the conditions for the lawful use of force are fulfilled). Get in the best ambush position in case you have to defend yourself, but observe and be prepared to be a witness.
  7. Don’t overestimate your shooting skill. Everybody’s shooting gets worse on the two-way range. The range of this engagement was 2-10 meters, and none of José’s shots connected with the bad guys. This is more common than you might think.
  8. Don’t be a hero. Heroes are dead. Like brave, doomed José Rodriguez.

One of the major problems involved in engaging with criminals is that your life matters to you, and their lives don’t — not even to them. If you kill one, you can expect to be the chew toy of the media, the press, and any prosecutor looking to level up in politics (damn near every prosecutor). Consider the case of George Zimmerman, who was absolutely justified in his shooting of an inexperienced but developing career violent criminal, but whose reputation is forever tainted by a political prosecution and a corrupt media. What would have happened to Rodriguez if his shots had connected and he had killed two or three black “children”?

Once you fire that first shot your life will never be the same. Even if you live. There will never be a greater need for you to be sure of what you are doing.

Join a Minority (Pistol) Group

join-a-minority-groupOK, so “It’s Over. And Glock Won,” as we posted a while back. But as we never really warmed up to the G17, we went back to a CZ.

Like we did when we filled out the first of many sheaves of volunteer paperwork, we Joined a Minority Group.

When you join a minority group, you can find yourself, well, not fitting in. You’re different. People look at you funny. You might be feared, shunned, even hated. You tend to band together with people like yourself.

There’s probably something about it in the Bible, or maybe the Book of Mormon (in the Book of John Moses?), that says that the bearers of the 1911 shall cleave to one another, and not suffer the bearers of the unclean European wondernine to pass among them; and the Pharisees of the K-Frame and Python listened not to the gospel of the autopistol, but gathered among themselves and called for the stoning of the autopistoleros, especially those whose frames were cast of polymer, which is unclean.

Well, there’s a certain sense to that. With your only six rounds gone, aren’t fist-sized stones the handiest Plan B?

The cultural Siberia to which the odd-brand pistol-packer exiles himself is not the whole problem, or even the largest part. More practically, changing pistols is a royal pain in the part where Glock operators occasionally puncture themselves. If the pistol were the be-all and end-all of your self-defense, that’d be one thing, but think of all the other parts of the self-defense handgun ecosystem:

  1. ammunition;
  2. spare magazines;
  3. sights (factory sights peak at “fair,” and some are horrible. And they are usually day-only. Take a look at what side of the clock defensive gun units happen on);
  4. holsters, and magazine carriers.

beretta_m9_kyle_defoorThen, there’s training. Some trainers will expect you to run what you brung and will work to make you better with it (here’s Kyle Defoor discussing training a Beretta-using entity). Other trainers will use a training class as a platform to disparage your selection (or worse, your agency’s or service’s selection, as if you, a gravel-agitating bullet-launch technician, could influence it), and promote their own 99% solution.

(But we do agree with Defoor’s aside — if you’re going to carry the Beretta, or any safety-equipped DA/SA auto, carry it hammer down on a loaded chamber, safety off. We also agree that even better than the 92F/M9 is the decocker-only 92G).

Fortunately, most trainers can teach you something that will make your shooting better. If you’re already really good, there are specific trainers that specialize in wringing the last 4% of potential out of any given platform. (So maybe it’s necessary to change trainer when you change gat).

It’s wonderful that those guys can make a living, but the fact is, you probably don’t need that kind of specific training. You might still seek those trainers out — because they’re probably pretty darn good, overall. (If you’re going to do heavy maintenance on your pistol, of course, you’re well advised to attend the factory or importer armorer course, if you can. But operation, many experienced trainers can help you with).

Some of those things often aren’t that big a change. If your old and new guns are in the same caliber, and the new gun will feed your old ammo, there’s one change you don’t have to make or consider. Your mag carriers often will take any other mag in the same caliber. And sights? You’ll be at the mercy of the aftermarket, and your pistol’s standard or not-so-much sight dovetails.

With all that out of the way, the real thing that’s a problem is a holster. These don’t interchange among pistols, much. (Unless they’re crappy holsters that “fit” many pistols because they don’t actually fit anything). So we went to the holster maker that skinned our Glock, Raven Concealment, only to find out our CZ was not on their supported list.


The P-01 didn’t really fit in the concealment holsters we had for the old CZ-75 Pre-B. It has a squared off “chin” with a light rail, and a larger trigger guard.

We heard that Black Storm Defense in Tennessee made a decent holster, so we went on line and ordered one each of their Signature and Pancake holsters for the P-01.

And waited.

And waited.

D’oh. This is what happens when you join a minority group, kids. We could get forty-eleven holsters for a Glock 17 within twenty miles of Hog Manor, nearly as many for a SIG, and even a few for an M9. CZ-75 P-01? Not so much.

Welcome to the minority group. But then, in the process of rounding up some stray tax paperwork in the pile of untended paper on the breakfast table, we discovered (along with a pile of unread magazines, a $355 rebate check from our health insurer, apparently for not having another myocardial infarction in the last twelve moths, and a box of hollow points) a holster we’d bought on a whim on eBay of all places, for the old CZ, months or maybe years ago.

And never taken out of the bag, because were were rockin’ the Glock when it came.


It was a very inexpensive, an “Anatolia” brand from the Turkish company Anatolia Hunting & Nature Sports, Leather Products Company, which is quite a mouthful in English, and must be a remarkable jawbreaker in its native Turkish. The holster seems well-made, it’s made of solid leather and appears to be hand-stitched. Will it hold up?

And… will the P-01 fit? It just might, because the holster’s a simple slide-in job, with a free muzzle. It might not care about the P-01’s prognathous jaw, and it looks like it’s shaped to take a protruding or squared-off trigger guard, and not just the rounded one of the Pre-B.

And it did fit.


And with delight, we started carrying the P-01, finally.

The next day, we got an email from Black Storm that our holsters had shipped. The wait wasn’t even that bad (three weeks from order to ship) but we’d gotten impatient. Now the Black Storms will have to play King of the Hill with this $15 Turkish special — which starts out at the top of the hill.

That, too, is life in a pistol minority group. The delights, as well as the sickeners, come in clusters.

When You Don’t Bubba a Mosin…

…You can actually hit stuff with it… if it’s a right one.

Bog standard 91/30. Good iron sights, approved by ordnance officers of late Tsar and Lenin and Stalin (who were, not to put too fine a point on it, the same ordnance officers). Field rest. The original poster of the video writes (we have only added paragraph breaks):

The M91/30 Mosin Nagant with 7N1 ammo is a formidable long range rifle system. In this video (made available to you by popular demand) Rex Reviews demonstrates just how effective an unmodified military rifle can be in experienced hands.

This rifle is in 100% original military configuration and had NOT been equipped with any optical sights, yet it slams steel at 944 yards as easy as anything else on the shelf.

Many assume these rifle like this (purchased for under $100) must need modification to shoot well… but what many fail to realize is that these rifles were not designed by sporting companies for recreational activities, they were designed by teams of engineers with massive government resources for life-and-death purposes.

These rifles were designed to be harmonically balanced and were inspected to meet serious military manufacturing and design specifications. In a nutshell, they are ready to roll off of the shelf! Ask Simo Häyhä (the White Death) if I’m telling the truth…

It rings the bell at more meters than you’d give it credit for (and more meters that lots of people can see a man-sized target without optical aids). Lots and lots of meters. (944 yd. is 893 meters).

Why did Russia and its Soviet successor empire stick with this 19th-Century bangstick for so very long? Because it was good, in all that word means in reference to a military arm: it was simple, dependable, low-maintenance, hard-hitting, and more accurate than any but a tiny percentage of the men who carried it.

Nothing that Bubba can do to a Mosin (except, we’ll grant, scope it, where the common Soviet solution was sub-optimal) will do anything much to improve the work of those long-dead Russian designers, engineers, and craftsmen.

Fun Facts about Boston SWAT and the “gun trucks.”

Mostly from Boston and area cops. Mostly second-hand. But this is some good context for this morning’s post on the cop shooting in East Boston.

You Gotta Ride

boston-police-motorcycle-patrolIf you get off active duty as a Seal Team Subzero assault team leader and join the Boston PD, you’re probably not going to be on Special Operations (the local flavor of SWAT). That’s not just because there’s an in-crowd that you’re probably not “in,” but also because it’s a love child of the motorcycle platoon. The official party line about the outfit glosses over that …

The Boston Police Special Operations Unit is a specialized unit within the Boston Police Department responsible for combined duties involving Highway Patrol and traffic enforcement, crowd control, and special weapons and tactics (SWAT) services within the city.

 One unique feature of the unit is that the Special Operations Unit primarily relies on the use of Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors and Harley-Davidsons in their daily patrols. The use of motorcycles allows the unit to perform routine traffic enforcement; accompany parades, crowds, and visiting dignitaries; and to quickly travel to situations wherein the unit’s SWAT skills are requested. Specialized trucks and support vehicles are also used to transport equipment and officers when needed.

 The Canine unit with twenty seven patrol/narcotics, and EOD dogs, and Bomb (EOD) squad are also under the Special Operations Division.

… but the deal is, you gotta ride if you want to kick doors with the nation’s oldest police department. You gotta check out in the motorcycle platoon, first.

And yes, you have a ticket… please don’t call it a quota… we believe the current term is objective.

It’s All on the Buddy System

Getting into a military special operations element usually requires some kind of selection, qualification or standards-setting rite of passage. Getting into Boston PD Motorcycle and Special Operations? If the unit’s managers think you’re a good guy, you’re in. It helps if you have other coppers in the family, or course. (Well, that’s everywhere. You’ll never stamp it out, and you might not want to, because for every nephew-they-wish-wasn’t, there’s usually three good cops in a cop family).

This has been a shock to some guys who come from military special operations, or from other departments that have high standards for their entry squads, like LAPD’s SWAT or NYPD’s ESD.

There is NO Physical Requirement or PT test

This guy isn't a Boston cop, but you could say he fits the profile.

This guy isn’t a Boston cop, but you could say he fits the profile.

Not for the PD, nor for Special Operations. The unions have fought any attempt to impose such a requirement so long and so vigorously that nobody even brings it up any more.

On the plus side, if you want to get in shape, nobody in the department leadership is going to stop you. More donuts for them!

It’s far from the only police department in this position. One of Boston’s many colleges has a large and generally switched-on police department, where they’re actually taking measures that may be effective should, God forbid, they face an active shooter some day. That department has a physical fitness test. It’s optional. If you opt to take it, and pass — it’s not a high standard — you receive a $2,000 cash bonus. If you fail? You get $150, to apply to a gym membership. An interesting way of motivating cops, to be sure. And more than BPD does.

The Whole City PD has 8 Carbines. Total.

What's in their gun rack? Less than you'd expect.

What’s in their gun rack? Less than you’d expect.

Remember the “gun trucks?” If you built a gun truck, it would probably have rifle racks in it, an ammo locker, and maybe some trained officers, and you’d have them prepositioned for quick access to likely trouble spots.


The Boston Police Department runs two “gun trucks,” with two trained officers in each, per shift. And they just drive around, unless dispatched. And the guns? They have shotguns. And carbines — two each. And their sidearms. And that’s it.

The four carbines in the two gun trucks on the street are it for a city of about three quarters of a million (when the city’s many colleges are in session. The population drops in the summertime).

Four guns, four officers. That’s cosi fan tutte in a city where even the local FBI got turned by organized crime, the Irish Republican Army and its spinoff terrorists find their entire basis of logistical support, bank-armored-truck crews are practically the fifth pro sports team after the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox, and the Islamic Center of Boston is still preaching the gospel that energized the Tsarnaev brothers. Four guns.

Unless a truck is down for maintenance, or an officer is sick. Then you have one truck, and two guns. Thank both Gods that the IRA and the Islamic Center don’t coordinate much.

Bear in Mind

While Boston Police Department’s Special Operations may not be on the cutting edge of organizational effectiveness, and may not be armed and equipped like other major police departments are, bear in mind what happened when two fellow cops were down:

They hooked up and went in to the gunfire, beat the bad guy, and saved their own guys’ lives.

This all seems to have been spontaneous action from guys from the level of sergeant on down. Imagine what they could do with some better gear — and leadership.

Lessons From a Shooting: Boston PD UPDATED

Boston_Police_patchWe’re going to break every rule in the book and comment on a shooting based largely on early media reports, because it seems likely that some of these early lessons will be subsumed into the usual drum circles beating out The Usual Narrative™ in a matter of days.

We’ll start with what is known: Boston PD responded to a domestic. They were met by a man who said his roommate threatened him with a knife. They made entry,  and, in the basement of 136 Gladstone St in East Boston, encountered an armed man –who announced himself with gunfire. The two policemen were suddenly down, wounded. It was other officers from Special Operations who happened to be training nearby, that responded to their calls for help, and ultimately shot and killed the suspect.

[Boston Police Commissioner William B.] Evans said officers responding to a fight between roommates on Gladstone Street were fired upon by 33-year-old Kirk Figueroa, who shot and wounded Officer Richard Cintolo, a 28-year veteran of the department, and Officer Matt Morris, a 12-year veteran. Figueroa, of East Boston, was killed by police.

This is Why Wackers Weird You Out


Portrait of the doer, in what seems to have been a self-awarded uniform. He was not ever Airborne in his short military career, and that’s a foreign cap badge.

Figueroa was an oddball, the sort of cop wannabe that Massachusetts coppers call a “wacker.” (Maybe cops elsewhere use the term, too, but we’ve only heard it in the Bay State). You know the guy: he’s always trying to get a law enforcement job. He dresses in blue 5.11s. (For church!) He drives a Crown Vic with some of its cop lights still on it (often, one that the state troopers were glad to see the last of at 283,000 miles). Yeah, that guy.

Figueroa had served in the National Guard in a specialized MP correctional unit, a unit that trained to run a POW camp or other detainee or prison facility. (see UPDATE 1130 14 Oct 16 below).

Figueroa had worked as a corrections officer (briefly) but quit to become a bounty hunter in California (we are not making that up, but maybe the Boston Herald, where we saw it, did). He lived in several states pursuing law enforcement jobs. In MA, he became a “constable,” which probably doesn’t mean what you think it means. A Massachusetts constable does swear an oath, but has no arrest powers and no more firearms rights than any other MA subject (which is to say, practically none). His powers are constrained to service of civil process — that’s it.

It is a job often held as a stop-gap by youths dreaming of a police job, and held for longer periods by wackers who wish they were cops. Good luck sorting out whether a guy is a Figueroa or not beforehand.

The press is complaining that, even though he was a sworn constable, he didn’t have any Massachusetts gun license. (In MA you need a license even for long guns or BB guns). Obviously the lack of the license prevented this crime… oh, wait. There’s 125 or so murders a year in MA and the vast majority are committed with guns by people who did not have a license for them. It’s almost as if murderers don’t obey other laws, too!

Figueroa reportedly had a profile on a website called Elite Policing (if so, it had been removed by noon yesterday).

A roommate told police that Figueroa threatened him with a “big knife.”

He reportedly said to the roommate he was squabbling with and his other roommate, Diego Morello, “You’re going to read about me in the newspaper. Everyone is going to know my name.”

Yeah. We know your name, all right. We just can’t print it in this family-friendly blog.

Some things went well

Knowing the two cops were shot and down, at least seven more cops flooded the building, and raced towards the wounded men, Officers Richard Cintolo and Matt Morris. Cintolo was retirement-eligible with 28 years in; Morris had 12 on the force. Both were down hard with critical wounds; Cintolo was shot in the chest and face.



Morris had the more immediately threatening injury, a massive leg wound that left him bleeding from the femoral artery. When Special Operations hit the building, officers provided life-saving buddy-aid: even under the suspect’s fire, Officer Clifton Singletary put his hands in to Morris’s gaping wound to try to stop the bleeding, and called for an officer with a tourniquet. Sergeant Norberto Perez, a veteran of over 30 years, came up with the lifesaving device and emplaced it, while he, Singletary, and Morris all tried to stay prone and out of the line of fire. A third officer proned out and neutralized the suspect with a carbine.

Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a regional trauma center to which the wounded men were transported, told police that Morris would have bled out without the tourniquet.

Morris, who lives in the neighborhood he grew up in, a neighborhood full of cops, was one of two plainclothes cops decorated in 2005 for coaxing a gunman into surrender. His wife is a nurse.

These are things we have been told but cannot confirm

Figueroa’s weapon was reportedly a shotgun. (Some press have reported it as an AR-15, but they are the ones that report everything as an AR-15. The “shotgun” source is more reliable, but notes he is not certain of his information).

(Update: this story says “tactical shotgun” but quotes commissioner as saying “rifle.” )

The guy supposedly told his roommates, who he’d been squabbling with, that he was going to be famous and wouldn’t be taken alive. (The roommates have been interviewed by investigating officers).

When the scene was still a little confused, officers took “a couple” of suspects and treated them… firmly… only to find they were not connected to the crime, and their one suspect was on his way to ambient temperature.

And… the presence of Special Operations and the “gun truck” that carries their hardware was somewhat providential, they happened to be a short drive away when the emergency call came. Normal Boston Police officers are not trained on carbines and not permitted to carry them in their vehicles. The BPD has grudgingly agreed to put carbines in patrol supervisors’ cars.

Lessons learned so far

  1. If somebody gets the drop on you, you’re probably going to get shot.
  2. Most cops can go a whole career without ever encountering an armed suspect, but you can still encounter two in a few years, like Morris did.
  3. What worked for one encounter with an armed suspect might not work next time.
  4. Tourniquets. If as many of us carried tourniquets as carry guns — not just cops, but all of us — we might do some real good. How about herd immunity to exsanguination?
  5. Sometimes, there’s a fine line between a guy who wants to be a cop and a cop wannabe.
  6. Sometimes, there’s a fine line between the guys getting locked up and the guys doing the locking. While it does seem like Figueroa is very different from the cops who nailed him, if this particular incident hadn’t blown up, who’s to say he wouldn’t have gotten hired somewhere, sooner or later?
  7. Our perception is that these kinds of domestics-turned-suicide-by-cop are becoming more frequent. Cops, prosecutors, defense attorneys, what do you guys think? Heck, everybody.
  8. While we’re asking, why not the big ask on these incidents? Why?
  9. This is purest speculation, but we wonder if the Lautenberg Amendment has an unintended consequence of producing these violent episodes. Wait, hear us out; it may be counterintuitive, but it’s not irrational. This guy Figueroa was intent on becoming a cop, and he had to know that his dream was gone forever once his roommate called the real cops on him. At that point, his life as he has conceived it is over. The one and only thing he wanted was yanked away from him. He’s a desperate man, operating on raw emotion, not logic.
  10. Gun licensing kind of stinks at keeping cops safe, doesn’t it?

UPDATE 1130 14 Oct 16

The unit Figueroa served in was an Army Reserve cage-kicker outfit, not a Guard one. We regret the error. The unit has wasted no time in distancing themselves from him, pointing out that he never attended basic training or AIT and didn’t even last half a year before quitting, ostensibly on hardship grounds. (That doesn’t mean what you think it means, that you are the sole caretaker of your dying mama or something. In the context of reserve component service, it usually means that you are moving a distance from the unit or that your work schedule conflicts with the drill schedule). The Army Times:

Figueroa, founder of Code Blue Protection Corp., claimed on his company’s website,, he served nearly a decade as an MP, but he served a mere five months, according to an Army spokesman.

“Mr. Figueroa never attended basic training or advanced individual training. He did enlist in the U.S. Army Reserve in February 2003, but received a hardship discharge five months later,” Wayne Hall said in a statement.

So he’s a wannabe. And have we not said before, over and over again, that it’s never just military impersonation with a wannabe? There’s usually considerable crime and other misconduct comorbid in these strange cases.

The shooter also touted his experience as a Boston constable, a law enforcement program that allows trained and sworn-in members to carry out arrests and serve legal documents. He also described himself as a West Virginia corrections officer, trained private investigator, and California bounty hunter.

As we have seen, that is a dishonest description of the Boston constable program (they have no arrest powers and do not receive any law enforcement training). His stint as a WV cage-kicker was shorter than his time as an Army Reservist — blink and you missed it. If he had any PI training, there’s been no sign of it yet. And “California bounty hunter?” We guess the bounties must have been meager in CA, or he wouldn’t be living with (and threatening) two roommates in a working-class and immigrant-heavy neighborhood in Boston!

UPDATE 1200 14 Oct 16

We’ve learned so many fun facts about the Boston PD SWAT Platoon and the remarkable “gun trucks” unique to the soi-disant Hub of the Universe, that that’s going to be a post of its own. Probably at 1800 today (which means this incident bumps two slots that could have had a gun technical or historical post — we regret, etc.) so stay tuned.

Kids, What’s The First Rule of Gunfights, Again?

Best gun? Sometimes. Better than no gun? Always.

Best gun? Sometimes. Better than no gun? Always.

Keying off a statement by Claude Werner, Tam has a most excellent example of one of her gentle slapdowns (OK, just “slapdowns”) for the kind of bozo for whom only the right gun carried the right way is permissible.

And everyone else should, what? Give up?

There are people who work daily in non-permissive environments with dress codes, where a gun may be legal to carry, but would be a firing offense. Telling a 5’4″ woman in a skirt with no belt loops to “dress around” a Glock 19 in an IWB holster makes one sound a little dense.

We do not live in a world where everybody can wear an untucked polo shirt over a gun belt with a Glock 19 and centerline fixed blade knife, and can take all their vacation days every year to attend gun school. Nor should we. By making that sound like the lowest hurdle for responsible self defense, we turn off more people than we attract.

Do Read The Whole Thing™, because it is, as usual, rich in common sense; and contemplate this question: “What is the First Rule of Gunfights?”

Right, class: “Bring a gun!”

Notice that it is not, “Bring the gun that is on all the latest magazine covers” (Heaven forfend!),  or, “Bring a gun, but it must have a caliber that begins with .4,” or any such nonsense.

We’ll put it in mathematical terms for you:

A gun (any gun) > No gun

Which can be stated another way as,

Any little pipsqueak gun (that you actually have) > Some theoretical optimum gun (that you have not). (Theoretical optimum gun file photo follows: Cabot 1911, with metorite metal grips)

Cabot-1911-with-Meteor-GripsSure, it’s good to carry the biggest gun you practically can. But sometimes, that’s not going to be a full-sized service pistol like an M9 or Glock 17 (or 1911 cough 1911). A compact pistol is suitable for three-season, non-athletic carry here in New Hampster, or a service pistol if you’re a big guy. But what if you’re working out or swimming? What about our delightful summers?

And then, there’s threat posture. It’s not like we’re in someplace dangerous, like Lawrence or Brockton, Massachuseetts at 0200. (We do go to Lawrence to meet our 3D Printer dealer, but he keeps regular hours, unlike the denizens of the city’s best-reported industries, drug dealing and armed robbery). We don’t feel unarmed with a Baby Browning .25 clone. We feel unarmed when unarmed. Yes, we’d rather have a service pistol and a couple of mags, but why are we carrying? 

To defend human life, full stop. 

That’s it. We’re not arming up to go hunt zombies. We’re arming to deter or stop a threat long enough to break contact, continue mission.

“But a .25, Hognose! What do you carry when you’re going someplace you expect trouble?”

If we expect trouble, we don’t go there any more. When it used to be our freakin’ duty to go there, we sure as hell didn’t go there with any pistol, except as a backup. We went with the full panoply:

  • Long gun
  • Friends with more long guns
  • Radios
  • Serious firepower at the other end of the radio.

Sometimes, we also carried a 60mm mortar and rounds, and AT4s or Javelins. But primarily, of course, the greatest casualty-producing weapon in the ODA’s arms locker, the freakin’ radio.

But we don’t go to places like Konduz or Chicago any more.

Look, we understand all the obsessing about gear. For some guys, constantly fiddling with trying to get the optimum gun/round/holster is a substitute for their lack of a happy childhood dressing up their GI Joes. NTTAWWT. But the difference in defensive firepower between the perfect handgun and any old lousy handgun is a difference of degree, and it’s a small degree compared to the difference between the lousy handgun and no handgun at all, which is a difference of kind. Carry no gun to a gunfight and you have made a category error, not an error of dimension or proportion.

Bottom line: your first line of defense is to use your superior judgment to stay away from the places trouble reigns, at the times trouble reigns, so you don’t have to display your superior skill.

Your second line of defense is your firearm and your skill with it. And you use it to defend human life for long enough that you can break contact with the threat.

Sometimes people take this Warrior Mindset thing too far. You don’t need a gun so you can hunt down and kill zombies. When the zombies come, if the pros can’t handle them, that may change, but right now, you need a gun so the zombies can’t hunt down and kill you (and yours).

What the zombies do after they put you and yours in the too hard bin and shamble off to eat someone else’s brains is not your department.

Did you carry today? Why not? Is the world safer when you carry, or when you don’t? If enough ordinary people carry, wouldn’t society have herd immunity to certain common social pathogens?

What Can a Mere Rifle Do, II

In 2014, we asked, “What can a mere rifle do?” in reference to a standoff attack on a Pacific Gas and Electric power substation in Metcalf, California.

The answer, in that case, was to blow the transformers to hell and gone, and bug out. To date, there has been no arrest in the case; at one time, a DHS official suggested it was an inside job. There have been subsequent attacks, despite attempts to upgrade security; indeed, once, criminals cut through a fence and made off with equipment that was on site — for security upgrades.

Now, there’s been a new rifle attack on a station, in rural Utah. It appears to have been less sophisticated and less persistent than the California attack, but more effective — the attacker or attackers blew the station off the grid with as few as three rifle shots.


On Sunday, somebody went to the remote substation located between Kanab and Page, Arizona, and fired at least three rounds with a high-powered rifle into the main transformer, knocking out power to an estimated 13,000 customers in Kanab, Big Water, Orderville, Glendale, Hatch and surrounding towns in Garfield County.

“Just from the looks of it, it looked more criminal than vandalism because they knew exactly where to shoot it and they shot it multiple times in the same spot,” Brown said. “For somebody to know exactly where that substation is and how to hit it exactly like he did, (it) seems like he’d have to have knowledge of that.”

Countermeasures that can be used in cases like this are limited. In California, the power company deployed cameras, but they’re investigative, not preventive, technology; and constructed blinds that block sight of the most vulnerable transformers, but they’re concealment, not cover. In Utah, the power company has asked for tips, and done something even less practical than the Californians:

A portable transformer was brought to the substation to restore power. The portable substation is now being monitored by an on-site security guard 24 hours a day.

Exercise for the reader:

  1. How does a guard protect the site?
  2. How can you strike the site even with the guard in place?
  3. How can you get the guard out of place? How can you deny him the response force that would otherwise come when he calls?
  4. Do you think it’s likely that the guard will be there 24/7/365 x forever? (Hint: me neither)
  5. What does guarding this site do for the security of every other substation in the grid?
  6. How many sites can they lose before they run out of portable transformers?
  7. How many sites can they guard effectively against an intelligent enemy?

As far as the California approach is concerned, well, how long will those screens last when they’re in the way of routine maintenance? And, how much of a deterrent will they be to an actual sniper who can calculate an aiming point if he’s so inclined?

We’ve done the math on transformer production and delivery. (A former contract shop studied this exact problem for a government agency, long before the Metcalf attack). Let’s just say you really, really don’t want someone with some CARVER skills and experience deciding to play silly buggers with your power grid.

And, for the UW theorists among us: this three-shot Sunday attack that caused thousands of homes, businesses and government offices to lose power is most probably an example of:

  1. Kids acting out;
  2. An actual enemy’s shakedown run to test feasibility of this approach;
  3. An actual enemy’s confidence target prepatory to a serious campaign against the grid;
  4. An actual enemy’s perturbation of the system, to enable him to study the response;
  5. A follow-up to the 2013 transformer attack by the same guy(s). Serial killer(s) of transformers?

Finally, the problem with “security” is that it comes down to a mall cop sitting night-in night-out at a bank of computer screens. As the Wall Street Journal noted about the 2013 attack on Metcalf station, in an article on the 2015 one:

During last year’s attack, Metcalf’s perimeter alarms were activated as bullets nicked the fence. Workers at a PG&E security center ignored early warning signs of trouble.

Want El Al security? You have to spend El Al money and hire El Al level of people.

Hat to Matt in IL in the comments to an earlier post.

Dude, Where’s My Gun?

An Orange County Sheriff's Department deputy left an AR like this, in its case with three loaded magazines, on the trunk of a patrol car before driving away. It remains missing. (Source: OCSD)

An Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputy left an AR like this, in its case with three loaded magazines, on the trunk of a patrol car before driving away. It remains missing. (Source: OCSD)

In California, where guns are getting closer to being outlawed every time the legislature sits, a police gun that had gone missing turned up, exactly the way cops don’t want it to: in a homicide. And that got the Orange County Register curious: how many other guns are missing from SoCal cop shops? The answer: at least 329.

Southern California police agencies regularly lose track of all manner of firearms, from high-powered rifles and grenade launchers to standard service handguns – weapons that often wind up on the street.An Orange County Register investigation of 134 state and local police agencies from Kern County to the Mexican border found that over the past five years at least 329 firearms were lost by or stolen from law enforcement agencies.Dozens of these weapons wound up in the hands of criminals – and some were involved in crimes. In Northern California, a missing police gun was used in a suspected murder.But the number of guns known to be missing or stolen is almost certainly a fraction of the actual number that have made the jump from police agency to street. Not every department audits its weaponry. If agencies performed such audits, they’d find they were missing more guns

via Police might not know where their guns are, and the law says thats OK – The Orange County Register.

Despite losing a lot of guns, the cop managers say it’s not big deal, because they have a lot of guns; they should get some slack for losing a few.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, following a request by the Register, assembled a team of nearly two dozen employees to track through thousands of files on gun location and gun assignments. The research found that at least 103 L.A. County Sheriff’s Department guns, ranging from service handguns to shotguns, were lost or stolen over the past five years.

Hey, that’s only 20-point-something a year!

A spokesperson said the agency didn’t previously know how many guns were missing, and hadn’t recently conducted a centralized count of its service handguns. The missing weapons are a tiny portion of the department’s 20,000-gun arsenal.

Is it just us, or does that spokesman’s “it’s only 103 out of 20,000” sound kind of like, “Dad, it’d be a good grade if Mrs Throttlebottom graded on a curve,” or what?

But say, while LASD might look like they’re all butterfingers with their guns compared to say, you or us (hey, we had one out of place for two days, and it nearly induced a-fib), they look like the Ayatollah of Inventory Controll-ah compared to the slipshod cop shops in Northern California, a couple of whom lose guns at a rate of fifty-plus a year.

In recent years, police departments in Oakland and San Jose counted their weapons, and each found more than 300 service firearms had vanished over a six-year period, according to a report from Southern California News Group’s sister publications in the San Francisco Bay area.

(The link is to a feature at the San Jose Mercury News). And these departments are the ones that raised their hands and accepted the foul in good grace. Some of them didn’t answer the door when the cops media knocked.

At least 24 agencies contacted over the past three months didn’t respond to requests for data on missing or stolen weapons. And the Long Beach Police Department, one of the bigger agencies in Southern California, said it doesn’t track weapons because its officers provide their own guns.

Gotta love Long Beach: “Not our circus, not our monkeys.” Yeah, that’s how ATF Phoenix Group VII felt until the guns they walked started killing Feds and not just “mere” Mexicans. Although, the comparison isn’t really fair to the policemen: unlike the ATF, they weren’t trying to lose the guns.

There are about 300 million guns in America, and nobody knows how many are owned or controlled by police agencies.

That number is almost certainly low — extremely low. Almost 300 million guns have been made or imported in the last 25 years! But that’s another story.

What is known is that it’s not rare for police and their weapons to go separate ways and that, in general, lost or stolen police guns account for some of the weapons used to commit crimes.

“A significant source of guns in illegal hands, on the black market, come from stolen firearms,” said Ari Freilich, staff attorney with San Francisco’s Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

“We should be concerned that police – and all individuals that keep deadly weapons – know where their guns are.”

Normally, Halley’s Comet comes around more frequently than a non-risible statement from a functionary of some gun-ban group like the Law Center, but Freilich’s last sentence is completely unobjectionable. He’s right. Of course, the news people seem to think the whole problem is caused by exempting cops from California’s violent-criminal-friendly gun storage laws:

[O]n- and off-duty police officers are allowed to store and carry weapons in ways that would be unlawful for other citizens in California. The theory behind that law is to make sure an officer doesn’t have to unlock a stored gun to use it in an emergency, but in practice it often leads to police guns being stolen.

An officer shouldn’t “have to unlock a stored gun to use it in an emergency,” but neither should any peaceable citizen. But the report, otherwise so good, seems not to have brought forward the key point. The problem of stolen guns leaching into the criminal black market really doesn’t stem from theft of guns held ready for self-defense, it primarily comes from guns stored in homes and cars and then stolen in residential and auto burglaries. Indeed, safe storage laws only go so far; as the old saying goes, “locks keep honest people out,” and a burglary in which burglars make off with a small safe or smash open a large one are distressingly common.

But you’re not helping by leaving them in an unlocked car, a common cop practice.

At least 22 of the stolen guns were retrieved. Authorities in Mexico recovered some guns stolen from U.S. law enforcement, while U.S. police found other weapons in the hands of fleeing felons.

Often, the reports show, officers treated their guns in ways that wouldn’t be legal for most civilians. High-caliber firepower was stowed in backpacks or gym bags and stuffed behind car seats. Handguns were stashed in center consoles or glove boxes. Burglars looking for weapons that on the street can be sold for several hundred to a couple of thousand dollars found them.

Makes our point about the sort of storage the criminals are exploiting, doesn’t it? A number of the thefts they go on to list (do Read The Whole Thing™) were from unlocked vehicles. Lots of shotguns and ARs were lost, including at least two full-auto M16s. Riverside PD lost a 40mm grenade launcher. And then there were these two bozos:

Two deputies, one in San Diego County and one in Orange County, separately left assault rifles worth $1,500 apiece on the trunks of their patrol cars and drove away. The Orange County deputy had put the rifle down to take a call on his cellphone, according to authorities. By the time the deputies realized what they had done, the weapons were gone. The California Highway Patrol found the San Diego rifle. The Orange County rifle remains on the streets.

There was another AR that was left in a locked patrol car — with the windows down. That one was recovered from the home of the drunk that winkled it out of the car. (We suspect that surveillance video came in with that save).

It’s unclear if agencies would welcome regulations requiring regular gun counts, but some police leaders believe the profession could do a better job of keeping track of weapons.

It’s staggering to think any agency wouldn’t do audits. Ask an FFL what happens if he tells his Industry Operations Inspector he’s missing a few firearms, and, incidentally, he last conducted an audit since Christ was a corporal. Or never. (Outcome: the next ATF official he’s talking to will probably be a special agent, not an IOI, and he’s not going to like the way the conversation goes).

Chuck Michel, an attorney who specializes in gun laws, said if police agencies were gun stores, many would go “out of business for the way they keep inventory.”

Amen. Sloppy inventory? Look at what happened to manufacturers CAV Arms and Stag. Again, do Read The Whole Thing™, and the feature on 944 missing NorCal cop guns in the Murky News, and check out the OC Register’s Database of Missing SoCal Cop Guns.

When Stopping on Patrol

No one patrol consists of a straight-ahead walk with no pauses or stops. Sometimes the stop is momentary, to organize a crossing of a danger area or mount a leaders’ recon. (A well trained unit has these procedures embedded in SOP and there’s no thinking, planning, or orders required, while the patrol is underway). Sometimes the stop is more deliberate — you are nearing an objective, or stopping to rest, or reorganize, or stopping overnight.

If you are stopping deliberately, by US doctrine you are “establishing a patrol base.” This PB can be simple and momentary, or it can endure for some time and evolve into a mission support site, advanced operations base, combat outpost, or forward operations base. (Although doctrine says it’s not a patrol base if you hold it more than 24 hours). But we’ll confine ourselves to the initial establishment of the patrol in the halt as a patrol base.

Selecting the Patrol Base

There’s no way to learn to select a patrol base from a book, or a blog post. You need to think about a position that is at once defensible, but at the same time not so obvious as to beg for recon by fire. It should provide observation and fields of fire back in the direction you came from (in case you’re being tracked), and in the most probable direction of the enemy. It should not be athwart or adjacent to a high-speed avenue of approach.

It should be as concealed from the likely enemy observation means as possible, with enough room in concealment for everybody in the patrol, but they should still be very compact. (Again, how much you tighten up in the patrol base depends on the threat posture. Big danger is enemy recon seeing you? Get small. Big danger is enemy artillery or air? Get some space between your guys).

In short, the patrol base location is any place where your patrol can hide for a bit, without it being obvious or logical to an enemy that someone might be hiding there.

Occupying the Patrol Base

Book doctrine conflicts, at times, with practical doctrine on this. The book says you always secure the patrol base prior to occupying it, for example, by observing it and covering it with fire, and conducting a recon around the area. With small patrols, it may be most practical to secure the base by occupation — in other words, walk right in. Then conduct your perimeter recon.

Pass by the tentative patrol base location and hook back into it. Some call this a fishook or buttonhook maneuver. Why do you do this? If an enemy is following you, you want to drag him past your PB’s fields of observation and fire, mentioned above, which are set up to ambush your own backtrail. When you branch off to go into the patrol base location, at least temporarily place a listening post/observation post at the branch post (you will likely reposition the LP/OP later).

As the point man moves into the base, direction of movement is called 12 o’clock. The patrol leader drops off at 6 and then describes where in the patrol base perimeter each subordinate element (each guy, in a squad patrol; each platoon, in a company patrol) will be positioned. Each crew-served weapon is positioned individually. (Crew-served weapons guard the most probable and fastest routes of enemy approach). The PL walks (or crawls) the perimeter and assigns sectors to crew-serveds and subordinate leaders, who assign sectors to their subordinates in turn. The PL also assigns an initial rally point. Initially, the patrol remains on 100% security and treats the PB as a listening/security halt.

The headquarters of the patrol (in a small patrol base, this may just be one or two men) is positioned at the geometric center of the patrol base, which is usually circular or elliptic (it may resemble a football, in planform).

The perimeter recon ensures that you didn’t put your six-man recon element downhill from a sleeping enemy regiment (laugh if you want, it has really happened!) and ensures there isn’t some threat, obstacle, or high-speed avenue of approach that was just out of sight prior to occupation. The PL needs to be ready to pack up (figuratively; no one unpacks, and the team remains at 100% security, while the recon is out) and move if the recon brings back bad news.

Ensconcing these procedures in a set of SOPs known to all hands has many benefits, including prevented wasted time standing around disseminating orders, increasing the speed of execution, and enabling rehearsed, building-block activities when the men are tired and fearful. (A little fear is a good thing, forward of friendly lines. Not enough to paralyze; just enough to heighten perceptions and put you on edge).

Patrol Base Activities

The most important patrol base activity is security. After an initial period of 100% security, the PL may allow a reduction in security. While this is usually expressed as a percentage, it’s really a fraction. Normally, forward of friendly lines, security levels below 50% must be approached with caution. Very small units in a clandestine patrol base (4-6 men, see below) can go to just one man on watch, once security is assured, because that one man can rouse the others rapidly and silently.

Apart from security, always priority one, the PL assigns priorities of work. The usual priority is:

  1. Security
  2. Equipment maintenance
  3. Foot maintenance
  4. Mission planning (selected personnel)
  5. Water (the recon teams may have found a source)
  6. Food & sanitation
  7. Rest

These priorities are not always addressed in every patrol base. They can also be addressed in depth in standard operating procedures, which minimizes time spent giving, receiving and reading back orders that are already understood.

When anyone is outside the perimeter, whether it’s your initial recon team or Joe Tentpeg seeking a tree to hang from whilst relieving himself, everyone in the perimeter must know who is out and where he is expected to be. Failure on this measure gets friendlies shot.

Sanitizing and Clearing the Patrol Base

When the patrol departs, nothing should be left behind — no equipment, no trash, no disturbance of the vegetation — to indicate that it was ever there.

Before you leave the patrol base, set a new rally point by map recon and confirm it as you move. Leave the patrol base directly, do not return on your backtrail at all. Once you have left the patrol base, never return to it. A well-resourced enemy, having discovered that you used the site, will place human or technical surveillance on the site.

Patrol Base Variations

Very small units on longer missions can set up a clandestine patrol base. In this case, a small element — a recon patrol or a very small special-purpose combat patrol like a sniper team plus security — can establish a clandestine or passive patrol base, in which all the men are tightly together, within touch, and only one remains on watch. The goal is to minimize movement and size and therefore the signature of the bedded-down patrol.

While Army doctrine sometimes teaches a different approach to the last hole-up before a combat patrol hits its objective, we have found that treating this halt, called an Objective Rally Point in Army doctrinal terminology, just like a patrol base simplifies training without compromising security.

For More Information

Here’s a link to one of the many editions of the Ranger Handbook, a generally good source of patrolling doctrine.

100% Inventory Underway

weaponsarmorym9m4m16racksgunrackgsansnweaponcabinetarmymilitarygunscabinetsThe other day, we came up short a gun for a photo shoot. Whaaa? Well, it’s past time to tidy up around here. (OTR dropped by recently, and threatened to report the Manor in general, and the office in particular, to one of those TV Hoarder shows). There’s a fine line between a collector and a hoarder, isn’t there? We’re determined to stay on the non-bat-guano-crazy side of the line and not be like the crazy cat ladies where they find mummified cat carcasses among the piles of old gun magazines and rusty toasters.

For all that we preach physical security, we’d gotten lax. The light in the main safe went out, and we didn’t fix it. (Failure one). We took guns out for photo ops and they sat around the office, library or even the kitchen for days before being returned. (Failure two). We used various non-standard bags and boxes to move guns around, and didn’t always remove the guns when they got more-or-less to destination (that’s failure three). We had more guns than practical safe storage for them (failure four) and occasionally hosted guest guns that were commingled with our own guns (failure five). We had guns that were not logged into our database (and we’re up to six, and counting).

Most of all, we were casual about putting down books or other stuff on top of guns. So we might well have a gun on a desk, then five books in three languages, then a bank statement that came in and a few press releases from manufacturers. And where was that gun again?

Now, as a private owner of firearms, you have relatively few legal regulations about how you store them, unless you live in some lawless hellhole like North Korea or Massachusetts. Manufacturers and FFLs have more regulations, and those regs can act as a guide to best practices for the private gun owner or other non-licensee who has more than one pistol and a pair of hunting guns. The ATF publishes guidance on inventory control and booking, and licensees that follow it have a lot fewer troubles with an Industry Operations Inspector’s visit that licensees that think they know it all. So the ATF way can guide you.

So can the way the military keeps track of guns. Unlike the Federal criminal investigative agencies that lose scores of guns every year, the services seldom lose a firearm outside of combat; and when they do, it’s usually not lost for very long. (Anyone remember the agency that lost an M4 and a couple of handguns — and never got the M4 back, or made a case against the thief or the criminals caught in possession? It wasn’t the military).

Here are some suggested Best Practices, and we’d welcome discussion in the comments, based mostly not on the right way or the wrong way, but the Army Way:

  • Have an inventory. This seems trivial, but a shocking number of people do not. Our local police chief estimated that in only one in ten residential burglaries that had firearms taken, could the owner produce a list of the firearms by serial number for NCIC entry. This not only prevents the owner from recovering his firearm, but also prevents police from prosecuting criminals who receive the stolen firearms. Very often a stolen firearm is sold on the streets, but they may also be pawned, and ethical pawnbrokers welcome stolen firearms alerts from the cops.
  • Make the inventory easy to use. The more arcane and complicated it is, the more likely it will get neglected and not be 100% complete when you need to broach the subject with the police or insurers. Simplicity is your friend: Manufacturer, importer, model, year, caliber, serial number, other significant markings and a photo are optimal, but make/model, caliber, serial will do in a pinch. (The Army uses NSN, SN, and a couple-word description, plus the line number of the item on the unit’s Modified Table of Organization & Equipment [MTOE] or Table of Distribution and Allowances [TDA]; that’s all that’s in the inventory dump).
  • Have enough storage. This is commonly violated by citizen gun-owners because it’s more fun to buy guns than buy safes. What do you do with overflow? A Job Box bolted to a basement floor or wall and secured with good padlocks is a $300 solution, until you can get that $1000 safe.
  • Tag in, tag out. If the gun is out, hang a tag in its place indicating who has it or where it is (the Army does this with a Weapons Card. There are many versions: here’s one as a .pdf that you can print, four to a page, duplex. In Army use they’re generally laminated).
  • Limit “Withdrawals” The kind of limitations include requiring a need to remove, removing a limited number at a time per user, and a limited duration.
  • Keep Storage Locked. Check it daily, a great time is when you walk your perimeter to ensure doors and windows are closed and locked before bed.
  • Store Magazines and Ammo separately, but also locked. See the Job Box mentioned above.
  • Maintain climate control. In our normally damp, cool basement, we do this with a room dehumidifier that keeps the basement ≤45% humidity, and a rechargable dehumidifier insider each safe. Belt and suspenders humidity management.
  • Conduct frequent inspections. The reason for doing this should be self-evident: it’s to ensure that all your other control measures are working effectively. Here you’re looking for condition, primarily (rust is the secondary enemy of firearms, after national socialists) and

Looking at this list of best practices, it’s clear where we came up short. In the end, the missing vz. 24 that we wanted to A-B compare to a vz. 22 turned up — the dealer that sold it to us shipped it in a Smith & Wesson revolver box, and the whole box was still out of the safe. That was a bad turn of affairs, because it was not only out of our control, but also in an packaging irresistible to burglars.