Category Archives: Weapons Usage and Employment

Hunting with AR-type Rifles?

One of the coolest things that you get with membership in the National Shooting Sports Foundation is access to the NSSF’s research. We’re looking over a survey that they conducted about hunting with AR-type Modern Sporting Rifles. While we can’t share the proprietary survey in its entirety, we can comment on a couple of the things that really struck us.

AR-15 Model 601

The Survey

question markWe’re not experts in surveys, but the firm NSSF contracted to do this one appears to have great pains to reduce sources of bias and error. For example, they called both landline and cell phones. In addition, they called up to five times, on multiple lines if necessary, to eliminate the bias that results if you only sample those easy to reach by phone.  The questions were what a layman might call fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, and scaled questions using the Likert scale or a variation, something you’ve used even if the name comes up blank: “On a scale of one to five, with one being not at all interested and five being very interested…”

If we were working for a major shooting-sports manufacturer or retailer, we’d read this survey and give some weight to its findings.

General Opinions and Demographics

None of these really seems to overthrow conventional wisdom; instead, they reinforce it.

Hunting is something that is taken up by the young, primarily. They start a little younger in, say, the West than in the Northeast, but most hunters start off as minors — the center of the distribution seems to be in late childhood, in the tweens and early teens — and those who start after Age 21 number in the mere single digits . That strikes us as a hint that there might be an untapped market for introducing adults who may be hunting-curious to the sport. I wonder if there are guides who ease first-timers into it?

Yet, one of the reasons people do it the most, may explain the youth bias of beginners: 26% do it “to be with family and friends.” (Of course, another large number, 25%, hunt for meat. This is one where a respondent might have given multiple answers, but the survey made them pick one).  The largest group do it for the sport, or recreation Some do it to be close to nature (14%), and trophy hunting is described as a motivation by very few.

Hunting with MSRs

Elmer FuddMany more hunters haven’t used this kind of rifle, than have (72 to 27 percent). An awful lot of hunters are not interested in it:  the principal reasons are emotional ones. It strikes some as nontraditional, even nonsporting. Others have practical reasons not to use them, one of the most common being that hunters already have the right firearms for the hunting they do. It’s not cost that holds hunters back; it’s lack of a perceived application for the AR in their form of hunting.

Those that do hunt with ARs primarily hunt varmints and predators.

Looking into the Future

One glimmer of hope in the data, for MSR manufacturers, is that those who have used an AR or MSR for hunting have taken it up very recently, within the last five years. As we’ve seen in the past, 50 years ago, such rifles weren’t even mentioned in gun magazines aimed at the shooting public, except as military curiosities. Twenty-five years ago, they were much more popular, but not in a hunting context. It is in the last few years that we’ve seen the emergence of a hunting culture that uses modern sporting rifles.

Right in line with that survey data, the hunting culture has emerged first in varmint and predator hunting. The shooting of feral hogs and coyotes is not constrained by the sporting traditions of deer and elk hunting.  No one is shooting hogs to “feel at one with Nature,” he’s doing it because Nature is uprooting his cash crops! But with the emergence of ARs in large-game calibers like .308 and .300 Win Mag, we can expect to see more hunters whose first rifle, perhaps, was a black one, moving on to larger game.

The trend is certainly for wider penetration and acceptance of the MSR and certain accessories (including suppressors, which are now in the camel’s-nose position MSRs were in hunting three decades ago), into the hunting market.

Savvy manufacturers and retailers are, even now, studying this report and trying to figure out how to reach that half or more of hunters who have an emotionally negative reaction to the idea of hunting with an AR.

Well, it took a good 50 years for the bolt action to catch on with hunters, and here in the East (we should mention, one of the interesting features of the report is its regional crosstabs)  there are still many holdouts with lever-action carbines. That means there’s a lot of upside for MSRs as hunting rifles — if they can overcome the resistance of the traditionalists, a very open question as the majority of hunters are hunters because they are observing traditions.

Pennsylvania State Police Fails at Guns, But Tracks Yours. Ineptly.

Pennsylvania_State_PoliceWe have written, and written, and written yet again, about the Pennsylvania State Police’s awkward relationship with service pistol selection, training, and employment.

After a run of accidents with one brand, they recently changed guns and brands again, again. And managed to shoot one of their own troopers to death on his first day training with the new pistol.

It was his instructor who shot him.

This demonstrates that no one should consider himself above following the most basic firearms safety rules, “A.N.D.”:

  1. Assume it’s loaded and act that way (actually, we would say, assume it’s live; don’t trust safety features);
  2. Never point it at anything you don’t want to shoot;
  3. Digit off the bangulator until it’s bang o’clock.

Failure to observe these rules, whether or not it results in a discharge, whether or not the discharge creams some poor throg or just rockets off to a rendesvous with some part of Mother Gaia, is gross negligence. Yeah, we’re aware the courts don’t say that. The courts are wrong, on this. Had that instructor introducing the SIG 227 (not to mention, all the guys who shot themselves, their wives, suspects, and bystanders “accidentally” with the outgoing Glocks) followed even one of those three rules (or the four, or seven, or twenty-eleven rules some lists include, all of which include some version of these three), we would have never heard about that training class. We haven’t yet had a few years to see if the PSP is safer with the SIG than they were with the Glocks. This wasn’t an encouraging start.

They’re Also Teaching This

This SIG, an OK service pistol compared to other 70s-80s Double-Action/Single-Action auto pistol designs, is their first DA/SA pistol since the .40 S&W Caliber Beretta 96. They used Berettas (92s and 96s) for a while, before moving to Glock in .40, then to .45 GAP, then to .45 ACP, then to SIG. (That recap may have missed a couple. Hey, it’s been great for hobbyists who like to have pistols with the PSP logo: collect ’em all!).

Any DA/SA has a different manual of arms than the simpler Glock, and the PSP’s SIG 227 in particular has more to master than the firearm that it replaces. So they’re teaching their troopers… what? If they have a “long shot,” to manually cock the hammer before firing. Yes, this improves first-shot hit probability, but it adds a layer of complexity to what is already one of the more complex DA/SA systems.

We agree that there are training advantages to the SIG system where one lever does one thing and one thing only and always, but it’s more complex than the simple Walther hammer-drop safety that’s been around since 1929. And it’s a big change for a force of 4,000 or so cops, of whom perhaps 3,500 really couldn’t care less about guns, and who are mostly of average intelligence, just like the usual run of citizens.

The complexities of a service weapon change can always be overcome with good training and lots of drill, but it’s an open question, after the recent shooting, how good the training is; and you know and we know, and the PSP knows, that the troopers — possibly excepting recruits in Academy classes — are not going to get as much drill as they need to master the SIG operating system. The 500 or so who take firearms seriously will give themselves this drill on their own. Hell, there are probably 100 or so who compete or shoot recreationally, and take inordinate pride in their mastery of their sidearm. But you’ve got to reach the average guy and gal with in-service firearms training.

And that’s something a lot of trainers, who became trainers because they love, live and breathe firearms and shooting, don’t “get” instinctively. They assume everybody’s as into guns as they are. (If they train for long enough, the scales fall from their eyes. Big time).

Fact is, a lot of cops take improving their skill with guns as seriously as the typical office worker takes improving his or her typing speed. “Meh. I passed the qual, I’m good to hook.”

That only works if the qual is really good, tough, and criterion-referenced to the sorts of shots officers have to take in the real and gritty world. Like the old-school (pre-TSA-dumbdown) Air Marshals’ qual, or the qual that another government agency uses for its contract personal-security detachment contractors. (And those were/are quals with consequences: meet the standard, or hit the bricks, even if you have seniority).

Personally, we consider cocking the hammer for the first shot from a DA/SA service pistol to be an advanced technique for someone that has already mastered the firearm and the course of fire. Obviously, we have a difference of opinion with the Pennsylvania State Police firearms trainers on that.

Is that a SIG he's reaching for? If so, you know whose training range this is....

Is that a SIG he’s reaching for? If so, you know whose training range this is….

Hey, We’re All Ate Up About Guns, But We’re Databasing Yours. All Wrong.

The Federal agent who works in one of Pennsylvania’s largest and most violent cities was blunt. Pennsylvania says they don’t have a registry.

“Then how come law enforcement can call up and ask if someone has firearms?” Not, he said, that the database is any earthly use to a line agent. “It is my experience that you go with the opposite of what the PSP says. I let them tell me what the database says. And then I assume the opposite.”

“Oh,” we said. “You mean, because if the gun’s registered, even if he has it, he’s probably not a cop shooter? And if he comes up no-gun, he might be a gangbanger who got his guns on the black market?”

“You don’t get it. I assume the opposite, because their database is so ate up it’s usually 180º off. If they say no, I get the body armor on and a long gun. If they say yes, I don’t bother.”

“Wow.” We thought he was exaggerating. He emphasized that he wasn’t; he really so mistrusts the PA registration database that he uses it the way most of us use a Fidel Castro presidential endorsement. “Because the database is always wrong,” he repeated.

Trust Us or Else

 

“I have arrested [men with serious/violent prior felony convictions and multiple legal ownership disqualifications].” (Edited to remove an exact description and prevent people guessing his agency). “They had felony convictions that were evident. They had the PA registry forms in the box with their handguns, and the PSP said he has no guns. These were not new sales either, so they [the PSP] had time to get it [the pistol ownership record] in there.”

PA Reg form

 

So the system, in PA, is not preventing career criminals from doing something they don’t even try in most states, buying guns themselves in legitimate commerce!

And just to complicate things, the registry has no way to take a gun off once it’s sold out of state. So it’s packed with tens of thousands (at least) of firearms that (1) are extremely unlikely to surface at a PA crime scene, and (2) will “trace” to the wrong guy, if they do. What use is that? Pennsylvania gun-rights advocates go a step farther, arguing that the database, a typically lousy product of government work though it may be, is unlawful.  Indeed, black-letter Pennsylvania law () says:

[N]othing in this chapter [6111.4, the gun laws — Eds.] shall be construed to allow any government or law enforcement agency or any agent thereof to create, maintain or operate any registry of firearm ownership….

and

[N]othing in 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 6101-6122 [the DV laws] shall be construed to allow any person or entity to create, maintain or operate a database or registry of firearm ownership….

But case law has essentially nullified those provisions. For the anti take on it, see the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a group that promotes registration as a necessary step towards confiscation (see also here). Pro-gun viewpoints can be found at two state pro-gun groups, FOAC and PAFOA. The PA Supreme Court has ruled that the prohibition doesn’t apply to the State Police database precisely because it is so bad and inaccurate.

 

Despite that, anti-gun chiefs here and there encourage cops to run the serial numbers of firearms and then confiscate if they don’t come up to the person in possession. The legal support for that is weak, but it’s a way to confiscate legally-owned guns and/or make The database has been criticized by some lawmakers, all significant pro-gun groups in the state, and the PSP was excoriated for it during an FBI audit, according to a lawmaker opposed to the database.

As far back as 2000, the PSP response to legislator criticisms was to release a letter, ostensibly to the legislator, to an anti-gun activist, Jonathan D. Silver. Silver wrote about the PSP’s position in the anti-gun Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While Silver interviewed the legislator neither he nor the PP-G made any attempt to discuss  with him the letter that was the PSP’s “reply” — which the ostensible recipient hadn’t actually received. (It’s unclear if any attempt was made to send it to him, or if it was only written for the benefit of Silver, the newspaper, and the PSP’s allies in antigun groups).

The case law, thanks to careful judge-swapping by the PSP and a succession of anti-gun Attorneys General, has allowed the PSP to retain this useless database so far. Some legislators continue to fight it. (That was his 2013 repeal; here’s some info about  his current-session version.

Bottom Line

These guys can’t buy guns and get the magazine capacity it says on the box; they can’t even operate their own guns safely; they can’t hold a bozo instructor who kills a student with an ND accountable; they can’t even run an illegal registry straight, to the point where it’s so jacked up the Supreme Court said, “We can’t count this worthless crap as a registry.”

LEOs agree; the information in the database is at best worthless, at worst, completely inverse.

Suggestion for the new, kinda-Stolen-Valor Commissioner from Maryland:  Fix your own guys’ firearms training, first. The public only has confidence in the firearms ability of the State Troopers to the extent they’re not paying attention. Then, when you’ve got that fixed (and it’s a big job that probably requires a bunch of difficult firings), figure out why the hell you’re wasting money on a worthless database, whose worthlessness was the technicality that saved it from doom at the hands of the Supreme Court.

Will he take that suggestion? Well, he was selected for his creativity in stretching statutes in service of anti-gun politics. What do you think? In a long tenure in Maryland, he did nothing to improve firearms training there. He doesn’t even believe people who disagree with him should have first amendment rights.

The troopers of the Pennsylvania State Police are not really any different from the cops in any other agency. What is different is the leadership. As Napoleon said, “There are no bad regiments, only bad colonels.” Of course from the bad leaders’ point of view, there are no bad leaders, only bad luck.

Pennsylvanians: brace yourselves for more bad luck.

The Naked Truth about Home Defense: He’s Doin’ it Wrong

"Officer, he looked like this, but with more anger and less clothing!"

“Officer, he looked like this, but with more anger and less clothing!”

Our model of Detroit area home defense is always going to be Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino: “Get off my lawn.” But Clint’s character, Walt Kowalski, never pulled the trigger on the kids on his lawn. State Senator Virgil Smith, Jr., of Detroit, Michigan could be excused for being a little bit angry, but it just wasn’t trigger time. The initial Detroit News report sounds bad enough:

State Sen. Virgil Smith was in police custody Sunday after gunshots were fired at a vehicle outside his home early that morning, according to a police source who asked not to be identified.

More than one blast from a shotgun was fired at a 2015 Mercedes-Benz outside Smith’s home on Wexford Street on Detroit’s north side around 1 a.m., Detroit Police Chief James Craig confirmed.

The woman who owns the car, identified as Smith’s girlfriend and ex-wife, was uninjured. The vehicle was hit at least once.

Girlfriend and ex-wife? That’s one of the roots of all Virg’s unhappiness right there. There’s a time, and you’re well into that time when “ex-” is part of her description, when the proper response to woman drama is to say, ‘Next.” Not blast the living Jesus out of her car.

But it gets worse. A follow-up by the News has more details, including the allegation that he wasn’t wearing anything but the firearm at the time:

He was naked when he met her at the front door, the senator’s ex-wife claims in a second police report, beat her with his fists, chased her outside and shot at her four or five times.

Police arrested Smith, D-Detroit, in connection with the shooting early Sunday morning outside his house in the 18000 block of Wexford on the city’s west side. Police Chief James Craig said police expect to seek charges of aggravated assault with a gun and malicious destruction of property. Craig said police are investigating the incident and will turn over their findings to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

First, a musical interlude with a Motown act seems apropos1.

 

Now that we’ve got that out of our system, what the hell did happen?

In a statement given to Detroit Police investigators, Smith said his ex-wife, whose name is being withheld by The News, “was banging on the (the) bedroom window,” at about 1 a.m., the Detroit Police report said. Smith said he opened the front door, and that his ex-wife, “kicked the door open and pushed (past) him.

“(The ex-wife) went into (Smith’s) bedroom and observed a female … in (Smith’s) bed. (Smith) stated that (the ex-wife) attempted to attack (the girlfriend),” the report said. “(Smith) grabbed (his ex-wife), they fell backwards, knocking over the television. (Smith) stated that (his ex-wife) attempted to attack (his girlfriend) again.”

Smith told police “he grabbed (his ex-wife) and forced her out of his house,” the police report said. Smith then told investigators he went back into the bedroom to check on his girlfriend, and then returned to the front door, “and observed (his ex-wife) throwing a chair at his house windows.

“(Smith) then stated he did the most stupid thing in his life, he shot (the ex-wife’s) vehicle,” the report said.

As you might imagine, Ms Boiling Rabbits Michigan 2015’s story is somewhat at odds with her former beau’s.

The second police report, containing the ex-wife’s side of the story, was taken by police at 4:41 a.m. Sunday. She said Smith had invited her to stay the night at his house, and, when she arrived, “she was met by a naked (Smith) and an (unknown) female,” the report said. “At this time she became angry and upset, and both started verbally arguing.

“At some point during the argument (Smith) grabbed her by the back of her head and shoved her face first into the carpet. Victim stood up and was struck by (Smith) 4-5 (times) in the face with closed fist causing cheeks on both sides of her face to swell.”

Smith’s ex-wife told police she ran out the front door, and that he chased her with “an (unknown) type long gun and followed behind. She observed muzzle flash (three times) as suspect began firing at her,” the report said.

The ex-wife said she ran into a nearby alley as Smith fired the rifle. She said she went into the nearby home of a friend, “who allowed her to call 911 and clean her wounds.”

The friend later tried to retrieve the ex-wife’s 2015 Mercedes Benz GLA250, but that it was “unable to start due to gunshot damage,” the report said.

And, even though Junior Walker’s “Shotgun!” is still playing in our head, the police say they reported a rifle, the type and description of which have been withheld by the rozzers.

Evidence technicians later found three suspected bullet holes in the vehicle’s hood; two in the driver’s side headlight; two in the driver’s side front fender; and one each in the driver’s side door, windshield, and rear driver’s door pillar, the report said.

A rifle of undisclosed make and model was recovered from the home, according to the report.

In case you weren’t counting we did it for you: that’s 10 holes in the slain Benz. Rifle and lots of shots, or shotgun and buckshot, eh.

 

By the way, if you’re in the Detroit area and looking at a used Mercedes a few months from now, have the dealer run the service records with the VIN. That’s saved friends of ours from an E320 wagon that had so many electrical problems it came out in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Smith is a second-generation politician; his father is currently a judge. Now, while the media are still hovering helicopters over the always-newsworthy George Zimmerman, there hasn’t been any such interest in Smith, which tells you what party he’s from. And how do you think he rolls on gun control? Turns out, he’s notorious in Michigan as hostile to gun freedoms.

This is your shocked face, right? Blogger Rob Hoey:

As a Democrat, it should come as no surprise that he is rated at 0% by the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Ownership.

Smith has voted anti-gun since taking office in the House of Representatives back in 2003 to 2008, and now as a state senator.

The NRA rated Smith “D” regarding his voting on gun rights, which translates to 21% overall.

He voted “nay” on SB 59 bill that: “Expands Areas Where Concealed Weapons are Authorized,” and voted “nay” on SB 789 that “Amends Firearm Licensing Procedures,” that makes obtaining a license easier but with more training.

Jeez, how did this assclown even get to 21%, even accepting that the NRA grades on a crazy-generous curve?

He did, however, vote “yea” on H-1 Self-Defense/Deadly Force Bill.

Ah, that’s how. Still… reread the title of that bill, and the description of what he just did. Ironies abound, eh?

Do go Read The Whole Thing™, but we’ll just share one more of Rob’s lines by way of closing:

It’s unclear if the misses were intended or if Smith’s marksmanship sucks.

Heh. Smith is charged with a couple of things:

Police Chief James Craig said police expect to seek charges of aggravated assault with a gun and malicious destruction of property.

But he was originally going to be charged a little more heavily:

He was originally arrested for assault with intent to commit murder and aggravated assault, according to the police report.

He may be getting the Connected Guy’s Discount; the prosecutors have already kicked the case back to the cops for “further investigation.”

Notes

  1. By the way, who’s the bass player in this show (Hullabaloo, 1966)? The studio recording had James Jamerson on it, but this tall young guy with a cheap import bass is not Jamerson. Motown fans, help a brother out!

Is he Trouble, or a Trouble Magnet?

George Zimmerman artActually, we wanted to use a crude word beginning with “A,” after a girl we knew who was an A—— Magnet. But we didn’t, we used “Trouble.” And he is George Zimmerman, whom I think we all expected to retire to obscurity after he was tried for his self-defense shooting of young thug Trayvon Martin. George has not fulfilled that expectation in any way, shape or form: his latest advent into the headlines is not like his rather admirable foray into art (left). Nope: media are reporting he got shot in the face in a road rage incident. George’s wounds are not life-threatening. (Update: the round was fired at him, and entered the cabin of his truck, but missed; he was injured only by flying glass. George does not seem to have returned fire). 

zimmerman_s_ridgeline

 

So, trouble, or trouble magnet?

zimmerman_involved_2_fox_35It’s worth noting that the media, deeply invested in the Saint Trayvon story and the six-years-out-of-date angelic kid picture, initially reported only, “George Zimmerman involved in road rage shooting” — not that George was the shoot-ee, not the shoot-er. Initial media reports are often wrong, of course, and when the media has a prefab Narrative handy, they’re almost always wrong.

The story has been a great chance for the media to stir up the Trayvon crowd, though, and recap the frequent “Zimmerman arrest!” highly hyped stories, none of which has turned into charges against the most famous Peruvian-American in the country, let alone convictions. 

zimmerman_involved_1_fox_35According to Fox 35 Orlando (which initially ran with the juicy hed, ZIMMERMAN INVOLVED IN SHOOTING (caps theirs, since broomed), the shooter may be a man named Matthew Apperson who has a long-running dispute with Zimmerman, and who accused him of a road rage attack in September, 2014, in a case that collapsed due to Apperson’s shifting story and lack of corroborating evidence.

Zimmerman was treated and released at a hospital in Sanford, FL (other media suggests he was only hit with glass from a gunshot that missed him), and was interviewed on the scene by police; his Honda Ridgeline, showing a bullet hole in the passenger side window, has been towed. Apperson has also spoken to police.

Police are likely to get to the bottom of the story a lot sooner and more accurately than the hacks at Fox 35 Orlando or any other media outlet. (The reporters and editors at Fox 35 didn’t blurb or promote the new headline like they did the ones shown here suggesting Zimmerman was the shooter. Media ethics for you!)

More media:

http://www.wesh.com/news/george-zimmerman-involved-in-shooting-in-lake-mary-police-say/32943828

Psychological Effects on Cops of Shooting Suspects Dead

Interesting story, in Politico of all places, by a policeman turned academic who has studied police shootings from an interesting angle: the psychological effects on the cops. There is not much literature about this, and a lot of it is sheer nonsense: for example, Goodman’s Grossman’s On Killing follows conventional pop-psychology wisdom in suggesting that police (or GIs) are broadly and deeply traumatized by the act of shooting another human being to death, and that the same psychological mechanisms that contribute to PTSD in soldiers incapacitate many or most police who’ve had to kill in the line of duty.

The author expected that such conventional wisdom would be proven out in a larger study, based on his own experience killing a man who was slashing his partner with a knife, but it wasn’t. He was somewhat atypical in that his act of killing conflicted with a deep religious conviction. Among the larger run of policemen, one of the most traumatizing aspects of shooting a criminal turns out to be the cop’s fear that his leaders and an ambitious or pandering prosecutor will hang him out to dry. David Klinger believes his findings would help to defuse tensions between the public and the police, if they were properly understood. Some of his conclusions:

[T]he public needs to understand that America’s cops aren’t prowling about looking to kill someone, that officers don’t pull the trigger in most of the situations in which doing so would be clearly legally permissible, and that our police often take great risks to avoid gunfire. And, perhaps most importantly, people need to realize that police officers are human beings who often suffer in the wake of those situations where they can’t avoid gunplay, no matter how justified their actions might be.
The research I conducted, along with my own experience in killing a criminal and living with the aftermath of that action, tells me is that the conversation our nation is presently embroiled in about the use of deadly force desperately needs to be balanced by facts and knowledge. I say this because the vitriol that has been directed from many quarters of our society at our men and women in blue since August of last year portrays America’s police officers as heartless beasts who enjoy killing.
But nothing is further from the truth.

The whole article is worth a read, but really, you should go direct to the academic source and read Klinger’s study, which is available on the National Institute of Justice’s web site. (Politico notes this, but rather churlishly won’t link to it).

Some of his findings defy conventional wisdom. From the report:

Most officers reported experiencing no negative reactions 3 months after the shooting, and fewer than one in five reported “severe” reactions (two or more negative emotional or physical reactions) 3 months after the shooting. Even in the short term, many officers experienced no or only one negative reaction during the first day and week following a shooting (38 and 52 percent, respectively). Only one specific reaction—recurrent thoughts—persisted past the 3-month mark in more than one-third of the cases, and only two other reactions exceeded 10 percent—fear of legal problems and trouble sleeping, both of which were reported in 11 percent of the cases.
The emotions that officers experienced were not all negative. Following about one-third of the shootings, officers reported feelings of elation that included joy at being alive, residual excitement after a life-threatening situation, and satisfaction or pride in proving their ability to use deadly force appropriately.

This is a pretty normal post-combat reaction, actually. And it turns out, having support from your peers and chain of command is a bigger deal than having support from your spouse or family. And mandatory mental health counseling? Worthless, a CYA move by the department (although a couple of cops who had clinical depression after their shootings valued it).

Expressions of support from fellow officers, detailed discussions about the incident with officers who had previously shot a suspect, and taking department-mandated time off following the shooting were associated with slight or moderate reductions in officers’ negative reactions. Conversely, officers who felt a lack of support from their colleagues and supervisors or that aspects of the investigation into the shooting were unfair or unprofessional reported more severe and longer-lasting negative reactions following the shooting, particularly after 3 months. Less predictably, support from intimate partners or family members and attendance at mandatory mental health counseling sessions were not associated with officers’ postshooting reactions.

A concluding recommendation (one of several) flies in the face of Goodman et. al.:

The finding that most officers in this study experienced little long-term disruption as a result of shooting a suspect calls into question the appropriateness of training that stresses the severe guilt and depression felt by some officers who shoot. Focusing on severe responses that occur infrequently may be misleading and counterproductive. Several officers indicated in interviews that they thought something might be wrong with them because they did not experience the symptoms that training taught them to expect; others felt that, through the power of suggestion, their reactions were more severe than they would have been otherwise.

No, if you aren’t all broken-up because you shot the guy who was threatening somebody (like you), you’re not a sick puppy, you’re normal. And if you’re glad you changed the zip code of some deserving bum to Hell, NM 66666, you’re not some heartless monster. You’re normal.

Of course, the differences between Klinger and Goodman Grossman opinionating on the psychology of a justified shooting are at least two:

  1. Klinger has actually done it; and,
  2. Klinger has actually done peer-reviewed original research on it.

Yet, Goodman Grossman had the best-selling books. Go figure.

Both the Klinger article on Politico and his NIJ-grant-funded research are worth reading in full.

 UPDATE

This post has been corrected with the proper name of the On Killing and On Combat author, who has produced some of the best sex manuals ever written by a virgin. Thanks to the commenters who caught our error.

UPDATE II

No, really, it’s been corrected. For serious this time. Honest injun. (Can we say that any more?)

UPDATE III

A sentence that trailed off to nowhere at the end of the first paragraph, and some potentially confusing wording near the beginning of the second, have been rewritten for clarity. Maybe we need to step away from the keyboard.

Defensive Gun Use? Doesn’t Sound Like It

Let us explain why we, and you, carry and should carry a gun (or guns): to defend lives (and perhaps property) from unlawful deadly force. Period. Full stop.

And why should people not carry guns? To play at cops, to bend people to your will, or to try to enforce societal standards on others. Not our department, fellow citizens. In this case, Sumdood 1 got in a beef with Sumdood 2 and “held him at gunpoint.” When the police showed up, they didn’t exactly deputize the self-anointed junior G-man: nope, they arrested him.

According to police, the incident began when [Christopher] Nazario and Anthony Santiago were passing over the Sagamore Bridge and continued in the northbound lanes of the Everett Turnpike. Nazario followed when Santiago exited onto Ledge Street, then passed him illegally, police said.

Nazario hit his brakes, then swerved to the left and collided with Santiago’s vehicle after he had turned in order to avoid a collision, police said.

The impact sent Santiago’s vehicle into a bus stop terminal, where Nazario drew a gun and ordered Santiago to get out and down on the ground, police said. Police arrived to the scene and interviewed both drivers, who sustained minor injuries but did not require medical attention. Officers recovered a loaded 9 mm handgun from Nazario and took him into custody without incident, police said.

via Man arrested after drawing gun following car crash | New Hampshire.

Pro tip: Dirty Harry and Death Wish (plus, to one extent or another, sequels) are not concealed-carry training videos. Even real detectives can wind up on the wrong side of the courtroom if they’re dumb enough to act like TV detectives always do. For regular muggles missing that patent of nobility, The Badge, such actions lead inexorably whence they’ve already taken Christopher Nazario: to jail.

If you have a tendency to wig out in a car (ask your friends, because the actual wig-out-prone cases are always the last to understand), you might want to change to an old man’s car with indifferent performance, but comfortable seats. Not to mention a really good radio, tuned to a “soothing music” station or just playing classical CDs. Listening to Prokofiev or Mendelssohn is less likely to bring out your inner Avenging Vigilante persona than, say, listening to Def Leppard. (And N.W.A. is right out).

Just because you have the right to be armed doesn’t mean “freedom to brandish and threaten.” Exercising your rights does not excuse you from exercising your judgment and using your forebrain, not your amygdala, to drive your interpersonal relationships.

Now, this initial news report could be all wet. That’s for the court to decide, in due course. But it’s not hard to retrace Mr Nazario’s steps and come up with several points where he had better options than the ones he opted for.

He’s lucky he didn’t actually pop the guy — he’d be the next poster child for irresponsible carry, and a nine days’ wonder of the national media.

How One Criminal Got His Guns

Jiminez380coverThanks to the anti-gun animus of the editors of the Palm Beach Post, who are trying to spin the Aaron Hernandez murder trial into an indictment of gun owners in general, we have a pretty good idea of how one gang member and murderer — Hernandez — got his weapons.

Would you believe, through straw purchases by fellow gang members, and other black-market sources?

Hernandez is a member of the Latin Kings gang and a former football player. (Maybe they have football in prison, so maybe not “former.” On the other hand, his jury of sports-addled Bostonians has been out for a very long time as we file this, so he might wind up with the benefit of a hung jury or an acquittal.  But his guilt is established for all except rabid Patriots fans. Update: he was convicted Wednesday morning. Next phase: two more murder trials). You see, unlike most Latin Kings members, Hernandez had talents other than crime, to wit, football; he was a star tight end and a 2009 college All-American. Because of his gang affiliation, most of pro football scouted him and let the idea of signing him drop, but the Patriots organization thought they could salvage him, however mistakenly, and drafted him. Hernandez, after involvement in at least one other shooting, murdered a criminal associate named Odin Lloyd, for which he’s now on trial.

The Post had a Page 1 story on Monday, April 13, about Hernandez’s guns, sharing above-the-fold space with more usual Post “reportage,” a worshipful prose paean to a politician. The Hernandez story, by Joe Capozzi, tells the story of Palm Beach County’s own players in the story, such as Oscar “Papoo” Hernandez Jr., no relation to Aaron Hernandez (except inasmuch as they may have been gang brothers — the news reporting has always downplayed the gang element in the murder).

Aaron Hernandez’s connection to FL is clear — he was a star at the University of Florida before the NFL draft where no one but the Patriots would touch him. Papoo, of Belle Glade, FL, received a $15,000 wire from Aaron Hernandez, and then… shipped him a car. The car, a nondescript used Toyota Camry with its Florida plates still on, was found in Hernandez’s garage. But the transaction wasn’t about the car. The car contained something special for the gangbanging jock: at least three firearms.

The three firearms included two cheap .22s bought at True Value Hardware on Main Street in Belle Glade, a .22 Jimenez Arms pistol (one of the dirt cheap pot-metal .22s once manufactured in Southern California) that was found near Lloyd’s body (but was not the murder weapon). That particular .22 was bought on 15 April 2013 by a questionable character named Gion Jackson, who says…

  1. he bought it for self-defense;
  2. and then he put it in the trunk of his car;
  3. from which it must have been stolen, because when ATF traced the murder-scene gun in June 2013 from manufacturer to True Value to him, he didn’t know it wasn’t in his trunk any more; and,
  4. he often lends his car to random people so he has no idea who might have taken it.
  5. and oh, yeah, one more thing: he was at the store on 15 April and so was his good buddy Aaron Hernandez, at the same time, but they didn’t talk to each other and didn’t plan to be there together. He sure wasn’t buying the gun for his prohibited friend.

As implausible as that story is, Jackson got up on the stand and testified to it. As far as we know he’s not charged with anything.

The other .22 from True Value, also bought in April (although it’s not clear, by whom) wound up in a Providence, Rhode Island street, thrown down after an incident involving Hernandez, a gang-infused retinue, and a heckling Jets fan in May 2013..

The third firearm, a Hungarian AK clone, was also bought 15 April 2013 at the Delray Beach Shooting Center. We don’t know who bought it, because ATF couldn’t find the “James Joseph” who signed for it, but range and store owner Mike Caruso says he wasn’t Hernandez:

I can tell you that Aaron Hernandez didn’t buy it. I’m a big Patriots fan and if Aaron Hernandez walked into my gun store to buy a rifle, I would know who he was.

Well, Mike didn’t get to sell Hernandez (who was apparently a prohibited person anyway, for a record stretching back many years) a gun, but he did have this year’s Super Bowl, so there is that.

In any event, the three firearms were acquired on or about 15 April 13. It is surely the smallest of coincidences that Papoo received a wire from Aaron Hernandez on that day. (For $15,000; maybe the athlete was expecting a big tax refund). It is surely the smallest of coincidences that Papoo then stuffed the guns in a Camry and shipped it to Hernandez. And the least of coincidences that one would be found at an assault scene in Rhode Island the next month, one would be found at a murder scene in two months, and one (the AK) would be found in a black gym bag in the back seat of the Camry, in the accused murderer’s garage. Loaded.

That’s what ATF calls a short “time to crime.” A typical crime gun traveled in legitimate commerce for years before being stolen or otherwise diverted into criminal channels. Guns that turn up at murder scenes mere months from their legitimate legal sale are indicators of potential straw purchases and trafficking. Typically, the straw purchases in this case have not been pursued by ATF and the responsible US Attorney.

If Aaron Hernandez beats this rap, it’s not all roses for him. He’s still facing other charges, including two other murders, and five gun charges (including ones related to these exact firearms). The case has been interesting because it elucidates how criminal organizations like the Latin Kings move firearms in interstate commerce without leaving a trace (unless investigators can break or turn one of the human links in the chain).

It’s also interesting because, for all these weapons Aaron Hernandez was going through in his life of crime, one which has not turned up is the murder weapon he used on Lloyd — that pistol, a Glock .45, has never been recovered.

Marathon Bombing Response Report: It’s Ugly

Other pressure cooker (and containing bag) remains of the bomb planted by Tamerlan Tsarnayev. FBI.

Pressure cooker (and containing bag) remains of the bomb planted by Tamerlan Tsarnayev. FBI.

There’s a reason they held this turkey until Friday night — it’s ugly.

The report also clarifies three things about the critical wounding of transit cop Richard “Dic” Donohue, Jr:

  1. Another cop did it;
  2. It’s a miracle he was the only cop wounded; and,
  3. They’re still trying to cover it up, and protect the cop who did it.

The Donohue shooting is probably the single most ate-up thing of the many wretched failures and blunders that took place during the bombing response. The uncontrolled mobbing, panicked lockdown, and contagious firing of the police response stands in stark contrast to the incredible job done on the medical side of things by a seamless combination of professional responders and citizen volunteers.

Indeed, it was a citizen who located the surviving suspect within a half hour of the time the cops gave up on their lockdown and dragnet-search, which found nothing but did delay the finding of the suspect and did impede the medical response by keeping staff away from the hospitals, and actually impeded the ambulance carrying their own guy to the hospital.

Here’s the summary:

A firefight ensued between the suspects and responding officers. As the shooting continued, additional officers arrived on scene from Watertown, BPD, MSP, Cambridge PD, and Transit PD. Over 200 rounds of ammunition were expended between the two sides.

The report talks about the shooting, but the suspects only had one gun and a few magazines. They did, however, have some homemade explosives, including “grenades” (which were mostly ineffective) and at least two more pressure-cooker bombs, which have to be taken seriously. For example, this was embedded in one of the cars on the scene:

watertown shootout bomb in car

Note that it not only tore through the door but it bent the much stronger structural-steel doorsill/rocker panel, typically one of the strongest components of a unibody. These two Up Brothers might seem like harmless buffoons, until you realize that by this point in time, they’ve shot a cop dead at point-blank range and that was after they killed three people with these bombs, and wounded 200-plus more, including 16 who suffered traumatic amputations.

The Tsarnaevs were violent criminals, terrorists, and they needed and deserved to go down hard. The police response wasn’t always helpful towards that end, and there are a lot of lessons that a cover-our-hiney approach will prevent from being learned.

In the course of the firefight, the first suspect was wounded. When he ran out of ammunition, he threw his gun and charged at a Watertown officer who subsequently wrestled him to the ground in the street. Meanwhile, the second suspect was able to enter the SUV and put the vehicle in gear. While fleeing the scene in the stolen vehicle, he struck the first suspect and dragged him a short distance with the vehicle, compounding his injuries.

tamerlan skidmark

 

Above: the scene. Below: Tamerlan, dead. He’s been rolled and searched by this point.

tamerlan dead again

As the second suspect fled the scene, a responding officer from the Transit PD was shot and critically wounded. The officer was transported to Mount Auburn Hospital, where medical professionals resuscitated him and performed life-saving surgery.

Did you notice that? Let us lay out the facts for you:

  1. The two sides of the firefight were the Tsarnaevs (with one black-market, defaced-serial-number Ruger pistol between them)… tamerlans ruger…and in the other corner, an uncoordinated swarm of cops from at least five agencies.
  2. The Tsarnaev with the gun (Speedbump, aka Tamerlan) shot his gun dry and threw it at the cops, and charged the cops. But the firefight, now one-sided, continued. Because the police were arrayed in a 360º Idiot Ambush around the suspects, they all perceived incoming and returned fire. Fortunately, they can’t shoot for $#!+.
  3. A Watertown cop tackled Tamerlan and took him down. But the one-sided, leaderless, uncontrolled “firefight” continued.
  4. Then brother Dzhokar (Flashbang) got in their jacked vehicle and took off… running over Speedbump and mortally injuring him. (Yes, he was killed by his and his brother’s incompetence, not the random, unaimed contagious fire of dozens of cops).
  5. As Flashbang exited, stage left (in Boston, all sides of the stage are left…), the police drumfire finally connected with someone — Dic Donohue, a Transit police officer. Note the passive voice: Donohue “was shot.” No wonder they’re all gun banners here, they never get the word about the people doing the shooting.

The deeper you drill down in the report, the worse it gets. It wasn’t a planned law enforcement response: it was lawless chaos, reminiscent of the Keystone ineptitude of the LAPD Chris Dorner response.

Take the swarms of cops in Watertown:

Thousands of law enforcement officers arrived in Watertown from across Massachusetts, other New England states, and New York. Many of these law enforcement officers did not come in re- sponse to a mutual aid request, but self-deployed to the area once it became widely known that one of the Marathon bombing suspects was at large in the town. These officers staged at the parking lot of the Arsenal Mall in Watertown; although officers received basic logistical support, including food, water, and toileting, few were provided oversight, situational awareness, or guidance. While most officers did not deploy into the field from the staging area on their own, there were a significant number of occasions when officers responded based on information or calls they heard on their radios, at times placing themselves and the officers with the authority to respond at risk.

Realizing that Donohue was critically wounded and exsanguinating, cops (CWCID) started treating him even before paramedics arrived (which was almost momentary). That part of the response went well… until they tried to transport him.

Officers on the scene tended to Officer Donohue to slow the bleeding with pressure and a tourniquet.

Many had already been en route from the Officer Collier murder scene in Cambridge.

At 12:51 a.m., Officer Donohue was loaded into the Watertown Fire ambulance for transport, but egress from the area was challenging given the numerous police vehicles parked in the vicinity and blocking street access. To circumvent the congestion made by the multitude of police vehicles and allow for the two paramedics to remain in the rear of the ambulance with the patient, a Watertown PD officer drove the ambulance to Mount Auburn Hospital, the nearest medical facility. Mount Auburn Hospital was approximately two miles away from the shooting scene, but did not have a trauma center. Nevertheless, the EMTs aiding Officer Donohue believed he would not survive a longer ride to a facility with a trauma center, and directed that he be brought to Mount Auburn. Officer Donohue had to be resuscitated upon arrival at the hospital, but the medical team at Mount Auburn was able to save his life.

That was a good and nervy call by the EMTs. A hospital that might not save him, now, was a better call than bringing his bloodless dead body to a better hospital that could have saved him if it wasn’t so far away. And more police CWCID, a cop took the wheel of the bolance so both EMTs could work on the patient. That probably broke elebbenty-twelve rules, and they ought to give that guy (and the EMTs) their shiniest medal.

The shooting of Donohue was only the first case of uncommanded, indisciplined, contagious fire. They did it again when they mistook other cops for the suspects, even though neither the cops nor the vehicle (a black full-size domestic pickup; the suspect vehicle was a small silver Mercedes SUV) bore any resemblance to the suspects. (Shades of Dorner, again). In this case the cops had, not quite a mad minute, but a number of mad seconds, and fortunately ceased fire before their eyes-wide-shut marksmanship could hit anybody.

An unmarked black MSP pickup truck is incorrectly reported as a stolen vehicle. The occupants of the pickup truck are a MSP Trooper and a BPD officer, both of whom are in plainclothes. As the vehicle drives down Adams Street in Watertown, a few blocks from the scene of the shootout, an officer on scene fired at the vehicle and its occupants. No one is injured.

But the random assemblage of random, ill-assorted, leaderless and unaccountable cops weren’t done. They collapsed into firearms incontinence again again, when they had the unarmed, wounded Flashbang (Dzhokar, nicknamed because he’d burned himself badly with one of his own IEDs) cornered in a boat.

Officers immediately responded to the home. The first officers on scene requested support from tactical teams and EOD units. A large number of law enforcement officers self-deployed to the scene after overhearing radio traffic about the location of the suspect. Within moments, more than 100 officers had gathered in front of and behind the home.

Note that the cops had eyes in the sky, and the eye in the sky had a thermal image of the wounded Flashbang:

dzhokar thermal boat

 

The boat was engaged from both sides and from dead ahead. However, Dzhokar wasn’t hit.

watertow boat damage

Several moments later, a responding officer fired his weapon without appropriate authority in response to perceived movement in the boat. Other officers then opened fire on the boat under the assumption the initial shot was fired at them by the suspect. Shooting continued for several seconds until a senior officer ordered a ceasefire.

After the MSP Airwing’s infrared camera confirmed that the suspect was alive, law enforcement officials made several attempts to coerce the suspect from the boat.

In both of the last two incidents the report seems to minimize the firing. Audio of the incidents doesn’t sound like one guy or a few guys firing.

One of the findings of the report is, not surprisingly, an absence of weapons discipline:

Weapons discipline was lacking by the multitude of law enforcement officers in the field during both the firefight with the two suspects near Dexter and Laurel Streets, and the standoff with the second suspect who was hiding in a winterized boat in a residential back yard. Although initial responding officers practiced appropriate weapons discipline while they were engaged in the firefight with the suspects, additional officers arriving on scene near the conclusion of the firefight fired weapons toward the vicinity of the suspects, without necessarily having identified and lined up their target or appropriately aimed their weapons. Officers lining both sides of the street also fired upon the second suspect as he fled the scene in a vehicle.

Note what the report said. Cops from both sides of the street shot at the vehicle as Flashbang ka-thump-a-thumped Speedbump and fled. That’s when poor Donohue got shot. But look at this false diagram which was submitted as evidence in the Flashbang trial — it suggests that cops were shooting at Tamerlan when they hit Donohue. Nonsense, they were just firing blindly in the vague direction of a car, and Tamerlan was already down for the long count. This diagram is a complete fraud, yet it was submitted as evidence and widely publicized — that’s how far they’re going to CYA whoever plugged Donohue. A politician’s nephew?

watertown_shootout_enlarged

 

Shortly after the firefight, an unmarked MSP black pickup truck was erroneously reported as stolen. This vehicle, with two occupants in it, was then spotted driving on Adams Street, near the scene of the shootout, and fired upon by an officer. Upon further inspection, it was deter- mined that the occupants of the vehicle were a BPD officer and MSP trooper in plain clothes, both of whom were unhurt.

Weapons discipline was again an issue during the operation to capture the second suspect who was hiding in a boat parked in a residential backyard. An officer fired his weapon without appropriate authority in response to perceived movement in the boat, in turn causing many officers to fire at the boat in the belief that they were being shot at by the suspect. Each of these incidents created dangerous crossfire situations.

Massachusetts police training on firearms is so poor to be nonexistent, or even counterproductive. (Remember Framingham PD, which blew a non-suspect’s head off because they teach keep your finger on the trigger and your M4 off safe?) Mostly, they teach rookies to hate and fear firearms, so it’s not surprising that most of them fail to master them.

Fortunately, their combat marksmanship was even worse than their fire discipline, preventing from doing more than hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage (which has gone unreimbursed: patch your own bullet holes, peasants) and crippling just one unlucky cop.

The biggest failing is that there are no lessons taken on board from this. Despite the occasional words of self-criticism, the report makes no attempt to identify the irresponsible cop who plugged Donohue, probably because the investigators didn’t really want to know. Overall, the report is saturated in smug self-satisfaction:

Overall, the response to the Boston Marathon bombings must be considered a great success.

You keep using that word….

The Instant that Ended a Police Career

In his entertaining narrative of the early US Space Program, The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe writes that, while The Right Stuff couldn’t be precisely defined, you knew who had it — and who lost it. “It could blow at any seam,” Wolfe wrote.

A career in the police or military is kind of like that. While some golden calves get more top cover from leadership than is good for the organization or the nation, for the average guy or gal, it approaches a zero-defects environment. One good screwup — the kind of thing that’s a Major Minus Spot Report in Ranger School, outside the school environment — and the effort you’ve put into your career to date is an irrecoverable sunk cost. This is the story of a patrolman whose single, understandable act of temper ended his and several other careers.

In the denouement of a case we discussed last year, a fired policeman who bounced a mouthy suspect off the wall a couple of times is sitting with a tough decision many who are not policemen face: take a plea and jail sentence, or risk a jury or bench trial and a longer sentence for something that you definitely did?

Nobody knows which way former Seabrook, NH officer Mark Richardson will decide, probably not even Richardson, at this point. It’s a true dilemma.

At first, Richardson got away with the Veteran’s Day, 2009, assault, but in 2014 the victim’s lawyer got hold of the police station surveillance video and the victim put it on YouTube. Reaction was swift: Richardson and an officer who pepper-sprayed the victim after he was down were fired by Chief Lee Bitomski, and two supervisors who falsified records to hide the assault rocketed back down to Patrolman. Here’s the video. Richardson is the big guy (he’s about 6’7″; the suspect weighs about 140 lb, IIRC, roughly half Richardson’s weight):

Anti-cop activists went wild with the video, making it a key scene in the refrain of a rap video, “This is what happens when you call the cops.” (Actually, what happens when you call the cops is that the cops come, which can be good or bad. At a minimum, it’s a good time to lock your poodle in the basement). Here’s that video, you’ll recognize the Seabrook footage when it comes up:

The court raised the stakes for Richardson by handing him the plea in the same session in which it passed sentence on another cop for an unrelated, and less violent, assault. That guy will spend a month in the jug and 11 more on an ankle bracelet, assuming good behavior.  The nine-month sentence Richardson has been offered is likely going to be served the same way, but he can’t know that before he makes his decision.

There’s scant sympathy here for the suspect/assault victim, a crumb who was spitting at cops, except for this: no one deserves to be beaten by police, and as a society you can’t let police get away with it. The officer was, at once, creative in using the wall as a weapon (remember, everything is a potential weapon if you let your imagination free), and tragically mistaken to lose his cool with a mouthy crumb of a suspect. Is that sphincter muscle worth losing a job over? Worth going to jail for?

We believe NH is the only state in the country that makes assault by police a specific crime. The legal theory is that it helps to hold Granite State police to a higher standard than mere citizens. The immediate fact is that it leaves Mr Richardson with a tough decision. But the dilemma was of his own making.

Shooting Went Well, We Joined the Range

plastic_targets_fig_fmIt’s an hour drive (hey, you Westerners, before you start telling us how far away your range is, remember we’re in New Hampster, where everything is in everything else’s pocket, and the map usually has a call-out for the NH line, like all the other snack-sized states in the Northeast.

Anyway, the range is Granite State in Hudson. We could tell it’s near the end of the month from the sheer quantity of Staties out harvesting speeders on Highway 101. We like it better than our old indoor ranges, Bob’s (which is in MA, and therefore a non-starter with NFA stuff) and Manchester FIring Line (a similar set-up to Granite State, which is new). We were previously members at Manchester but very seldom saddled up and went. We have bought a life membership in Granite State, so we hope to shoot more in future winters. We also belong to a local fish and game club that has outdoor ranges.

Still, we have to doff our cap to Manchester Firing Line for this note-perfect FAQ entry:

20. May I shoot two guns at the same time, like I see in movies?

No. The gun-handling that you typically see in movies is unrealistic and unsafe, and we do not allow it here.

Amen.

And at the Firing Line, the owner’s impressive (really) Class 3 collection is on display.  But they can be standoffish sometimes. (Not always, mind; they can be great, too). Still, at Granite State, one of the staff, John, had a father who was in 10th Group when we were in that unit in the 1980s. Another staffer is a guy who hooked us up with some 416 mags when those were hard to find, years ago. And Granite State has the nice lounge where we can plan, brief, and later, debrief a shooting session. All in all, we liked Granite State better.

That’s the Where. But What did we shoot?

Our mission today was threefold, with a fourth “extra”:

  1. Do a little pistol shooting with the M9 (actually a commercial 92FS, but near as dammit to an M9);
  2. Check Kid’s first AR lower build for function (we attached it to a proven and zeroed 16″ upper with an M68 CCO on it);
  3. Check the M4 SBR (the Afghan build gun) for function and perhaps sight it in.
  4. Function check some Magpul PMags that had been sitting around in their wrappers for a couple of years.

Goal was to fire no more than 100 rounds of 9mm ball and 200 rounds of M193. (Granite State has a restriction on steel-penetrator rounds). We didn’t even fire all the 5.56. We shot till we were ready to move on and enjoyed the ride home.

Kid shot very well with the Beretta. (Why did we choose the Beretta, and not the CZ or the Glock? Spare mags. We knew the Beretta had its three factory mags in the case; and the other handgun mags are “God knows where.” We gotta get a Job Box or something like that for mag storage). In fact, he shot better than we did. And one of the range staff gave him some light coaching, and he shot better. (He’s the Ex’s kid, not ours. We wish he was ours — he’s that kind of young man).

The Beretta, though, put him through a number of malf drills. It has never jammed before but it is a relatively recent one with all the cheesy plastic and pot-metal MIM parts.

Conversely, both of the ARs ran like they’re supposed to. Zero malfunctions. Likewise, no squawks on the PMags. Kid enjoyed firing his own build. It wasn’t necessary to adjust the zero of the new Colt SBR; it seems to have been adjusted, if it needed to be, at the factory.

Bottom Line:

We had fun, we converted money into noise and small holes in paper, we learned what we went to learn, and did we mention we had plenty of fun?