Category Archives: Weapons Usage and Employment

Rimfire Challenge Ammo Guaranteed by ATK

ATK, a major defense and ammunition firm, likes to support the NSSF and the shooting sports. When they heard that the ongoing tightness of rimfire ammo supply was threatening Rimfire Challenge matches, they acted in the way you might expect, knowing the above, and that they’re the largest rimfire ammo manufacturer, under their CCI brand:

Adding to its Platinum-level support for the NSSF Rimfire Challenge program, ATK Sporting also will participate in the Rimfire Challenge Ammo Roundup, which will help ensure the program’s target shooters have a reliable source of ammunition.

The Rimfire Challenge Ammo Roundup will serve as a fulfillment center for match directors to purchase ammunition for events.

The company will provide 600,000 rounds of CCI rimfire ammunition to the Ammo Roundup program.

“Action rimfire sports like the NSSF Rimfire Challenge are paving the way for a whole new generation of shooters,” said Ryan Bronson, Senior Manager of Conservation and Public Policy at ATK Sporting Group. “We are happy to provide CCI ammunition to help support a program that is promoting exciting and safe trigger time for both the new shooters and folks that have been shooting for years.”

The Rimfire Challenge was the Ruger Rimfire Challenge until Ruger bowed out, claiming it had gotten to big to handle, and risking the future of the matches — sponsorless, they couldn’t survive. NSSF stepped in and the Challenge continued seamlessly.

The Rimfire Challenge combines .22 rifles and pistols, new shooters, and steel-plate targets to make appealing and fun matches. Here’s an FAQ in .pdf form. Here’s a schematic of a typical stage:


The shooter and’s with a firearm loaded, aimed at the start steak. On audible signal here she begins to engage the plates, usually in any order, except for the stoplight. The stop plate is engaged last. (If you shoot it first, “stage over” and you’re going to do lousy on points). The scoring is based on the time to hit all the targets plus any penalties (penalties are assessed for each miss, encouraging accuracy).

The stages are relatively easy and that, and the audible clang of slug on steel, makes them rewarding for a new shooter. It would have been a shame if they ran out of ammo. Well done, ATK!

Cop Murdered: Family, Press Blame the Dead Cop

Murder victim Perry Renn

Murder victim Perry Renn. This is the guy the perp’s family and WISH-TV blame for his ambush murder.

One thing that’s extremely rare these days, or any other, is criminals engaging police with rifles, especially so-called “assault rifles.” But it does happen. In this case, a career criminal, Major Davis Jr.,  ambushed an Indianapolis police officer with a civilian AK, which was legally purchased by his mother, who lacks the rap sheet that’s the pride of all the men in the family.

It’s not clear whether he was laying for this particular PO, or just any cop in general. He blamed the police for the death of his career criminal father, and the officer he murdered was one of the arresting officers in the incident that ended in his father’s death. Renn, a career cop with a good reputation, and other police officers were responding to a shots fired call.

Most people have no idea what the criminal class is actually like. Fortunately. Here is a glimpse of it; it is one of the more than half of Indianapolis murders this year that a ten-year sentence for murderer’s previous felony would have prevented (or at least, delayed).

Officer Perry Renn, a 22-year veteran who served on IMPD’s North District, died after a shootout with Davis Saturday night.

Probable cause documents show Officer Nicholas Gallico was on patrol in the area of 34th and Forest Manor Avenue around 9:30 p.m. Saturday when a civilian who was riding along in his patrol car noticed Davis appeared to be flagging the officer down. Gallico got out of his car and saw Davis walking toward him, with his hands behind his back. After ordering Davis to show his hands, he replied “no,” and began walking backwards. Two women were at the scene with Davis, one appeared to try to get him to back up, the other told the officer everything was okay.

Renn, 52, arrived at the scene a short time later, on the opposite side of Davis from Gallico on an alley. Gallico said he heard Renn say something to Davis after the suspect raised an AK-47 rifle in Renn’s direction, but could not make out what was said. Gallico told investigators he was sure Davis fired first and that Renn returned fire immediately.

via Murder charge filed against suspect in Ofc. Renn’s shooting deat – 13 WTHR Indianapolis.

That story says that the murderer flagged another cop car down, but the Metro Police statement said they were responding to a shots fired call. As is usual soon after an incident, it will take a while to sort out who said what, and some of the testimony will conflict because (1) human memory is imperfect and (2) a lot of the witnesses appear to be members of the Davis crime family, which guarantees bogus testimony.

It’s very rare for a cop to actually be outgunned, but this was one of those cases. Poor Renn was in a rifle fight, armed only with a pistol. Despite that, he put Davis down, dead; unfortunately, paramedics resuscitated Davis. They worked just as hard on Renn (if not harder), but one of the AK rounds had sliced through Renn’s vest and then through his heart. There was no saving the valiant cop.


Murderer Major Davis Jr., a career criminal (this is a mugshot from a previous felony). This is the guy we blame. 

Major Davis Jr. is a career criminal, mostly as a drug dealer, although he’s also been busted with weapons before. Davis Jr. was dealing crack from his car before he even had a driver’s license, and he never in his young life (he’s 25) has gone more than a couple years without a felony. Drugs and crime are the family business; while Jr. only has a couple pages of arrests, his father Major Davis Sr. was lugged 12 times before finally getting vapor lock on his lucky 13th. (Or maybe it was, Indianapolis’s lucky day).

Naturally, Davis’s family were quick to condemn the police for shooting their little bundle of joy (and death), and a local TV reporter, Jessica Smith of WISH-TV, was quick to give them a platform. A Davis relative complained that Davis is “scarred for life.”

“Major is not a bad person, in spite of what happened,” she said, a few bullet holes in a room-temperature cop notwithstanding. “Things happen,” she said, as if the murder of Perry Renn was just some inexplicable burden laid upon the Renn family by cruel and distant pagan gods, or the arbitrary finger of fate.

But things like ambushed cops don’t just happen. People make them happen. Specifically, criminals make them happen. What sort of definition can one possibly have of “a bad person” that cannot be stretched to accommodate Major Davis Jr.?

The one-sided WISH-TV report drew such a barrage of negative comments that News Director Steve Bray prepended a long, self-serving editorial note to the piece, defending the station’s complete impartiality between cops and cop killers, and defending Smith:

We wanted to give insight into the mind of the people/family who were involved so there was some context and exposure for you into this world….. It was difficult for many of us to watch and understand mostly for the reporter who did the story. Her father is a veteran of IMPD.

But that professed above-it-all impartiality manifested itself in sentences like this, which is Smith talking, not some skell from the Davis crime family:

Now, the Davis family is worried about their son’s reputation and again, questioning police tactics.

What reputation? Reputation, my eye. The kid was and is a complete waste of protoplasm. That’s his reputation. That’s the whole freaking family’s reputation.

Smith gets another, “And again, questioning police tactics,” in after that. Her father was a cop on this force? Maybe she has some daddy issues.

Hey, we’re not condemning reporters. Just questioning news tactics.


Editor’s Note: We usually try to start with a weapons technical post before going off on a rant like this. But our tech post today is hanging fire a bit. That’s troublesome, because it’s nuclear (just a little one though). We’re going to give it a few kicks and see if we can get it loose this afternoon, OK? – Ed.

Three Reasons Not to Use the Blackhawk Serpa Holster

100 of these wound up in a landfill. Not doing that risked a lot more of the taxpayers' money.

100 of these wound up in a landfill. Not doing that risked a lot more of the taxpayers’ money.

It is our considered opinion that you should not use this product. Last SF company before retirement bought 90 or 100 of them circa 2003 (an SF company has 84 officers & men if at full strength, plus operational floats) and we discovered the same thing everybody else has: the Serpa has three serious safety-of-use problems, either of which alone would be enough to recommend retiring and destroying the holster and using anything else. Even Mexican carry.

We understand why the Serpa holster was designed. Pistol retention is a serious problem for anyone that tangles hand to hand with hostile persons. The police are more likely than armed forces to throw down mano a mano, but any soldier or Marine in ground combat can wind up in that place, the good old unsought fist fight or grapple-for-the-gun game. Many police forces, and some military units, specify a retention holster for just that reason. But there are a number of ways to design a retention holster. There are three reasons that the Serpa is the wrong way:

Safety of Use Issue #3: Stuck Pistol Syndrome

The Serpa does provide positive retention — sometimes too positive, especially if grit, sand, gravel or mung in general gets into it. If it gets into the retention release mechanism, Jesus Christ Himself isn’t getting that thing open. That’s rather a problem, because if you’re like us, you don’t generally go to unholster a gun until the situation has already gone uncomfortably nonlinear. The only thing worse than pulling your gun too soon is pulling it too late. The only thing worse than pulling it too late is attempting to pull it, and then failing to pull it at all, after signalling that you were going to. This problem by itself should be enough to disqualify this holster family.

Safety of Use Issue #2: It’s Slow

No matter how much you drill, the trigger-finger release is going to be slower than some of your other options. Worse, it’s going to be less consistent, because from time to time you may address the holstered firearm a little differently, and it doesn’t take much change in alignment to miss the flipping catch. If you miss the catch, you have to grope around, all while the clock is ticking. There are holsters that don’t make you do all this, so this problem by itself, also, should also suffice to disqualify this holster family.

Safety of Use Issue #1: Increased ND Risk

This is the biggest Serpa problem that people talk about. By using your trigger finger to disconnect the gun, and then having that finger fall on your trigger you great we increase the odds you’ll touch off a round with the pistol aligned somewhere other than at the proper target.

This video (NSFW but understandable language) shows an experienced shooter having a very typical Serpa ND. In the slo-mo at about 0:57-59 you can see exactly how it happened.

In this case, there was a combination of negative transfer of training from the more conventional 5.11 holster that this shooter used with another pistol, and the Serpa putting his index finger too close to the projectile initiator, too early in the draw sequence. Tex says he doesn’t blame the holster, he blames himself; fair enough, you can’t have an ND without human input. But his tools made the ND easier, instead of raising obstacles to an ND.

As we’ve said, every one of these issues is serious enough to warrant discarding the Serpa holster (and any holster that works like it, with an index-finger release paddle). But the increased ND risk with the Serpa is, in our opinion, the most consequential of these issues and the one that, even if you dismiss the other two, needs to sink in before you have a mishap like Tex’s.

We’re not sure even he knows how lucky he is. Mere inches from the channel that .45 slug dug in his thigh is one of the superhighways of the circulatory system, the femoral artery. A bullet in that artery would have led to his incapacitation in minutes, and ultimately, death, unless the right first aid was available extremely rapidly. He seemed to us to be alone on the range. How often have you shot, alone? It’s a calculated risk.

Doing it with a Serpa makes the calculation all wrong.

It’s not just us

We aren’t the only ones who just say no to Serpa. For example, Paul Howe wrote in 2005:

Another problem … a recent student …. exerted excessive pressure from his trigger finger to the unlock button and when drawing the weapon, drug the finger along the holster and into the trigger guard, discharging the airsoft weapon prematurely into his leg during his draw sequence.

Trigger fingers are just that, for the trigger. I think it should remain straight and have one function, to index the trigger.

Larry Vickers says:

I have banned for almost two years now Serpa style (trigger finger paddle release) holsters from my classes – several other instructors and training facilities have done the same. …. I understand many shooters use Serpa holsters on a regular basis with no issues whatsoever. However an open enrollment class environment has its own set of challenges … and a trigger finger paddle release holster is asking for trouble.

Todd Green in 2011:

At this point, is going to follow the lead of other instructors such as Larry Vickers and ban the SERPA (and the various cheap knockoffs on the market) from classes beginning in 2012. I have been suggesting to students that they bring something else to classes up until now and will continue that for anyone who is already registered for a class in 2011.

And earlier that year, in reference to the Tex Grebner accident video posted above:

[T]he SERPA retention mechanism certainly lends itself to such accidents more than most other holsters. Instead of keeping your trigger finger well clear of the gun during the initial part of the drawstroke, the SERPA and its clones require you to press your trigger finger toward the trigger as you draw.

A lot more instructors say about the same thing. Travis Haley, Chris Costa, and a lot of guys you never heard of but that have seen these things cause one problem after another even on what should be a routine flat range. Rational Gun has a list of some of them, but Google will find you even more. (For example, RG has a link about the FLETC ban, but we don’t believe he mentioned the IDPA ban on the Serpa).

Yet this thing is still on the market, and people (and worse, agencies) are still buying them. Don’t Be That Guy™.

Does a Bear Get Shot in the Woods? Not always.

This picture's from Colorado, not NH, but it's a rare pic of a mother and her cub pilfering a chicken. Story here.

This picture’s from Colorado, not NH, but it’s a rare pic of a black bear sow and her cub flagrante delicto pilfering a chicken. Story here. They yelled at ‘em; up here, we blow ‘em away.

New Hampshire is seeing a surge in agricultural and residential bear shootings, and the spread of hobby  chicken farming and the backyard coops that have grown popular in recent years are being fingered by wildlife biologists. It isn’t the scent of the chickens that draw the bruins, but the scent of the feed; for some reason that’s irresistible to the bears.

Of course, once they’ve eaten the feed, they turn to the birds. If the farmer hasn’t shot them — and shootings this year are up 25% already over historical annual numbers, with months of bear activity left to run. We could actually see a doubling of bear shootings.

Fish and Game bear biologist Andrew Timmins said that in June alone, homeowners shot and killed at least 12 bears, usually the state’s annual average total.

“We’re easily at 15 now, and we still have two more full months of what we consider bear conflict season,” Timmins told the Concord Monitor.

About 75 percent of the bears shot and killed so far this year were getting into coops when they were shot by the owners.

The number of complaints about bear-chicken conflicts has dramatically increased over the last decade, from a low of 12 in 2001 to a high of 127 in 2012.

“It’s pretty eye-opening,” Timmins said. “These are the ones we have documented — not everybody calls.”

via New Hampshire sees high number of bear shootings |

No one (PETA nut jobs excluded, we suppose) questions the propriety of the farmers defending their stock. For one thing, if you let Bruin go after making a meal of your birds, he’ll be back to see if you’ve restocked.

We’re wondering if it was a bear that got Khalid bin Mahfouz the cat last year. He was a trusting soul, which was why we didn’t let him out much. We initially blamed fishers as we have a robust population of those, too, but the wildlife biologists assured us that fishers don’t normally predate cats, preferring rodents. There are bear (and other large mammals, especially whitetail deer) around even here on the seacoast, but they are shy and timid, and their preferred strategy vis-a-vis homo sapiens is to bug out before the human can see them.

The bears in New Hampshire are common black bears. They are not endangered (indeed, they may be at record population levels) and they are not aggressive towards humans. In addition to the farmers’ shootings of invasive bears, there is a bear hunting season here and in the neighboring states of Vermont and Maine. In NH, at least, you may hunt with dogs or bait the bears. (Fun fact about government statistics: that same page lists the 2013 bear harvest as 569 and 570. Did somebody bag Schrödinger’s bear?)

Maybe that’s why so many otherwise rational folks in the Granite State are putting chicken coops in their back yards?

She looks like a naughty girl, doesn’t she?

Meet Dallas Archer, a Tennessee woman who’s taken Mexican carry to a new, er, place.


A Kingsport woman arrested for driving on a suspended license is now facing more charges after jailers say they discovered a hidden gun.

Kingsport Police say Dallas Archer, pictured above, had a loaded .22-caliber revolver hidden inside her body.

They’re not more specific than, “inside her body,” which makes us curious, but not really all that curious, if you know what we mean, and we think you do. At least it was a .22, but then, that’s probably a function of her youth. When she’s 45, the gun will be, too.

It was found by jailers who were searching her while booking her into the city jail.

It’s never a good idea to hide a firearm inside one of your standard-issue biological orifices. For one thing, the lady warders at the women’s lockup always seem to include a few women who like poking around in other women’s orifices. It’s most unlikely that your hideaway gun will go undiscovered by prurient visual and digital examination.

After checking the gun records, officers discovered the gun had been stolen in 2013.

No idea what kind of “gun records” they have in TN, but we’re kind of thinking it was just a list or database of stolen guns, possibly the ATF’s.

She’s now facing additional charges for possession of stolen property and bringing contraband into the jail.

via Jailers: Woman had stolen loaded gun hidden in body | News – Home.

If she hadn’t been doing the basic Dumb Criminal Thing of driving while suspended, she probably could have continued tooling around Kingsport indefinitely with all kinds of hardware jammed into the folds and recesses of her body. But then, criminal masterminds are the stuff of fiction. Real criminals seem to come in “Dumb”, “Dumber”, and “TSA Potential” degrees.

Cops (etc) Behaving Badly

We hate reading these things, don’t you? If only the cops hated doing these things, we wouldn’t have to write anout these things. But the cops gotta do ‘em, we gotta write ‘em, and you gotta read ‘em: that’s the way the world works.

  • ITEM 17 Apr 14: Cop assaults Air Force officer in his own home. A Monterey County Sheriff’s Office deputy responding to a suspicious man call walked into a home uninvited, and seeing a man there, beat him into submission. He was Air Force captain Nicolas Aquino, the legitimate renter. The cop left, albeit without an apology. Weeks later, the cop and the DA charged Aquino with, we are not making this up, obstruction of justice.

At least seven weapons, large amounts of ammunition and firearms magazines were purchased over several months, with orders often placed in coded conversations over jail telephone lines, according to an investigation by a task force led by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The weapons turned up in local crimes, and agents said they are not discounting the possibility that more guns will be traced back to the straw purchasers or another cell of buyers associated with the group. Federal authorities said Wednesday this is the first large-scale conspiracy case involving the straw purchase of firearms to be prosecuted in Minnesota. They described it as unique because of the specific and repeated purchase requests that gang members passed along to the school employee and the corrections officer, who is now a fugitive.

As a rule of thumb, if your prison guard is a fugitive, someone’s not doing it right. It turns out she did it for luuuurrve. Details:

The corrections officer was identified as Jacquelyn Burnes, 29, of Maple Grove. ATF agents served an arrest warrant at her parents’ home in Osseo on Wednesday morning but didn’t find her there. She was fired in late March after authorities were alerted to her involvement with the gang members. Burnes allegedly purchased three firearms in January and February for her boyfriend, Diontre Hill, whom she met while working last summer as a guard at the county workhouse in Plymouth, according to authorities. Burnes and Hill developed a romantic relationship while he was in jail and it continued after his release.

As a rule of thumb, again, felons aren’t supposed to have access to weapons. When they’re getting gunned-up by the “only ones,” it kind of makes the gun controller’s bleats about the doings of legit citizen gun owners look pretty weak. The two indicted straw buyers were buying for boyfriends who were already felons. One of them had an 8 year old daughter who survived being shot in the eye by Diontre Hill.

(Helpful hint: if your boyfriend is shooting your kids in the eye, it’s past time to pick a new guy. Maybe this needs to be an Ad Council PSA or billboard campaign).

While the ATF argues that most gun crime is driven by the law-abiding gun owners, the average “time to crime” — the time between first legal retail sale of a firearm and its use or recovery in criminal hands — is a matter of years. The guns these airheaded women bought their thug boyfriends were used in crimes in as little as eight days from the girl signing for them.

Not to get all nautical (or at least joint), but BZ to the ATF for this one. These are the busts we like to see them doing. Hell, talk to the field agents, these are the busts they like to be doing.

Proof positive that even if you’re a cop, you ought to read Andrew Branca’s The Law of Self-Defense. If you’re not going to do that, take a word from us on when is the best time to fire a “warning shot”: never. And this Deputy reportedly fired the shot because local JD’s rang his doorbell and ran off. Proportionality, amigo. It got a bad rap thanks to Macnamara and Rusk and all those clowns, but it’s not just a good idea: in most jurisdictions, it’s the law. He’s suspended, charged, and might even be fired, all because of the dumb-ass shot he fired when he let his temper override his prefrontal cortex.

He’s damn lucky he didn’t hit one of the kids. He’d be another one of the self-defense Thou Shalt Not stories even more than he already is. With great power comes what, again?

  • ITEM 15 May 14: Let’s blow up a baby!

burned baby Habersham county(Because this post sat in the queue for weeks, this is old news. Still….) The Habersham County, GA, SWAT team had the right address, at least according to the criminal they were running as an informant. (They made no effort to cross-check his information). But they now say that they didn’t know the suspect had moved on to another residence. Because he was a meth dealer who might flush the drugs if he was given any warning, and he had a history of carrying guns (in fact, he was on bail on a felon-in-possession charge) they made a combat assault at 0300 — rounding up the family that had moved in after their house burned down. Unfortunately, their fangs-out approach led one of the less astute among them to throw a flash-bang grenade inside a baby’s folding crib. The 18-month-old is in an induced coma, and may or may not survive, but if so is likely to have crippling and disfiguring injuries. But hey, all the cops made it to Miller Time unscathed!

At first, Sheriff Joey Terrell suggested that his men were upset about this outcome and didn’t want it, but within hours, cursory “investigations” by the District Attorney and Georgia Bureau of Investigation had cleared his men, and he changed his tune: the baby had it coming. Because it was in a “known drug location.” And now he wants your prayers — for him and his cops, as well as the baby. True, nobody has blown any of the cops’ faces off, unlike what the cops did to the baby, but people are saying mean things about him on the internet.

Terrell didn’t find any drugs. The suspect was arrested with no drama at his new home — in daylight, without grenades. Now they want to charge him with the injuries or death of the baby, because their overreaction was a predictable consequence of his dopery.

They have more than one kind of dope in Habersham County.

(To see the best reasonable case for the cops, see this post by Patrick “Patterico” Frey, a Los Angeles area ADA).

Flash-bangs were developed for extremely-well-trained SOF to use in counter-terrorist hostage rescues. Can a small-county band of Deputy Dawgs deploy them safely? Doesn’t look that way. A lot of things are very, very different in a CT raid. One of them is that you go in with intent to kill all the terrorists, and ideally none of the hostages. (And we’re not always successful. A JSOC element inadvertently killed a captive reporter with a frag in Afghanistan, in a confused night operation).

  • ITEM 27 May 14: The city of Bridgeport, CT agreed to pay $200k to an incarcerated felon (who’s doing time for drug dealing and felon-in-pos-of-firearm) for the violent stomping three officers gave him while he was tased and down on his arrest three years ago. The city, the department, and the three officers, Joseph Lawlor, Elson Morales, and Clive Higgins, denied any wrongdoing until someone brought to the city’s attention citizen video of the incident in January, 2013. The video demonstrates conclusively that the felon was telling the truth about the beating. (Hey, it’s rare but it happens). The officers have not been reprimanded or otherwise disciplined, and at first remained on the beat, but they have been on free fully-paid vacation since the video was posted over a year ago.
  • ITEM 30 May 14: Ardmore, OK sergeant Barry Antwine is charged with poisoning dogs in his neighborhood with anti-freeze. 6 dogs died and others were injured. (Apparently he’s not the K9 handler). He’s on the usual extra vacation. Amazingly, he was a school resource officer until last year, when his 1996 record for rape and child molestation was discovered (the case was handled by pretrial diversion. He got hired after that, how?). This video, shot by a neighbor, shows one of the dogs — a little puppy — expiring at a veterinary hospital, and the anti-freeze left in Antwine’s driveway:

It defies description, just how wrong that is. Helpful hint: if you’re thinking of hiring a kiddie diddler as a sworn officer, keep thinking forever so long as you never get to doing. Repeat after us Hognose’s Five Laws of Criminality:

  1. For some men, “crime” is just flat their job. For others, “criminal” is their identity. Good luck expecting anything different from them.
  2. The best guide to future behavior is past behavior. (Exercise for the reader: What 8-year-old in your third grade class was definitely destined for prison? How old was he when he first went?)
  3. The only thing that has ever made a child molester stop doing it is sustained cessation of respiration, blood flow, and brain wave activity. This is true for a lot of sex criminals, too. (Real ones, not guys who said something nasty about a fat chick at their college).
  4. No one ever stops after one crime. He only stops when he is stopped.
  5. Most crimes go unsolved, but all criminals get caught sooner or later.

If you consider those to be immutable laws, as we do, you would organize a criminal justice system rather different from the lawyer- and judge-conceived loony bin we have today.

Holstered gun fires itself? How is this even possible?

ND-shot-in-footThat’s the way the AP, no doubt retyping a press release as is their usual wont, reports it:

A South Florida police officer is recovering after his holstered gun fired while he was chasing suspected thieves, wounding him in the leg.

Authorities said Monday that Officer Joel Basque of the Sweetwater Police Department was responding to a report of shoplifters at the Dolphin Mall near Miami. Basque and another officer tried to chase down the four suspects, who fled in different directions. They did catch one 18-year-old man.

via South Florida officer shot with own holstered gun.

But he has company walking the Limp of Shame, as a Columbus, Ohio cop also managed to shoot himself with a holstered gun on the way to work this morning.

Police say the officer was struck in the leg by a bullet around 6 a.m. in northwest Columbus, near I-270 and 33.

“He was on his way to work, was in uniform and the way our duty belts fit, if you have a car with leather seats, you won’t want to wear the duty belt while driving – because it will really mark up your vehicle. So a lot of officers will just take the belt off and put it on the seat or the floor,” said Sgt. Rich Weiner of the Columbus Police Department.

Weiner adds that the weapon – a Smith & Wesson MP40 – did not have a safety.

The Columbus officer, an 18-year veteran of the force, drove himself to the hospital and was not expected to stay there overnight. If he was not violating department policy, he won’t be disciplined for the ND.

We’ve heard of a few freak accidents with Glocks (and such Glocklike pistols as S&W M&P’s) and the pull-tabs on jackets, but the first incident was in South Florida in July — nobody’s wearing a jacket unless he’s a gangster trying to conceal a Desert Eagle or something. And we’ve heard of some accidents involving exposed-trigger and other badly designed holsters (cough Serpa cough). But generally it takes an application of force to the bang switch to produce a bang (and, in this case, a limping, and we suspect cursing, policeman).

We understand that the reporter in the first story wrote, “his holstered gun fired.” (The second story’s reporter got it right, describing what happened as the unlucky officer, “accidentally shooting himself.” True, that). Now, reporters may believe that holstered guns can just up and fire themselves, given the general level of hoplodementia in the trade, and the fact that what they think is the great education they got in J-School was shallow, narrow, and tendentious. Reporters can believe dumb crap like that, but for those of us in the physical world where Newton’s Laws remain, well, laws, guns don’t exercise their own designs on their own volition.

If they did, they’d probably clean themselves, like cats.

Amateur SWAT is Worse Than Regular SWAT

Fly SwatterA post at Extrano’s Alley reminds us that we’ve been remiss in following up the issues with a Georgia SWAT wrong-house raid that left a child hovering near death for days. The Stranger quotes a gut-wrenching paragraph from an article by the kid’s mother, in Salon:

I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth. It was only hours later when they finally let us drive to the hospital that we found out Bou Bou was in the intensive burn unit and that he’d been placed into a medically induced coma.

via Parents Report On The Child The SWAT Team Blew Up With A Grenade | Extrano’s Alley, a gun blog.

There are some serious training deficiencies evident with these County Mounties from Gaptooth County, GA, and their Good Ol’ Boys SWAT Team an’ Mixed-Race-Kid Huntin’ Club.

Flashbang 101

Let’s begin with what a flash-bang is, what it was invented for, and how to use it. It is an offensive grenade providing a disorienting less-lethal (as we’ve seen in this case, not necessarily non-lethal) explosion that is intended to distract a hostage taker long enough for a CT team’s assaulters or snipers to kill him before he can target them. It was developed for national-level CT assets and Is the sort of weapon you use as an alternative to seeing hostages murdered — it’s a lesser evil.

Here’s the employment scheme for a flash-bang.

  1. With eyes on target, locate an area to throw the grenade in that does not have anyone in it (except perhaps a hostage-taker).
  2. Arm and throw the grenade at that exact spot, while maintaining eyes on target.
  3. Take eyes off target and shield them for blast.
  4. Instantly after blast, make entry. Locate the hostage taker and kill him before he reorients himself.

The weapon was never designed to be used in a case where you are trying to take your opponent alive. Those safety measures (eyes on the place you’re throwing the flash-bang) are there because of the probable presence of individuals who are not your opponents (the opponents are designated to die in any case).

To pass flash-bang certification (required in ethical units/departments to be able to throw the things “for real”), an assaulter has to run that cycle or something very similar, usually involving an instructor on the target making eye contact and seeing that the student’s eyes are searching the room. Throw a flash/bang blind? Never get certified.

Team Operations Require Team Training

Here’s the key to clearing buildings and/or rescuing hostages: it’s a team sport, and apart from individual skills, the team needs the kind of teamwork that only high-intensity and frequent drills produce. The drills only work with the same guys in the same position — the position you play is as important here as it is on, say, a football team or rugby side. You can’t be a lineman one day and a receiver the next, and quarterback some other time. Not if you aspire to membership in the ranks of the professionals.

And Here’s What You Get When You Skip That:

Here’s a few fun facts about the incident that wounded “Bou-bou” Phonesavanh.

  • The individual who threw the grenade in Georgia had no such flash-bang certification. Neither did any of the SWAT members.
  • The thrower had not had any formal training on how to use the grenade, or its capabilities.
  • He’d never thrown one before.
  • The individual never looked in the room, but threw the grenade blind into the toddler’s crib.
  • The SWAT members didn’t just lie to the child’s stressed-out mother, Alecia Phonesavanh. They also lied to their superiors about the incident. Many departments will countenance the former, but not many have much toleration for the latter. (There’s also some question of the integrity of the officers in charge, who have previously been found to falsify records in other cases).
  • The SWAT team was all new and had conducted almost no individual and collective training.
  • They claimed they “knew” there were no children in the house, but no policeman had been in the house, and even their informant had not been inside. They actually had to move a baby stroller and walk past a minivan with four child seats to stack up on the house. Four child seats and a stroller are what an intelligence officer might call “indicators.”
  • News stories say the target of the raid was arrested “later,” but supposedly the investigation has uncovered that he was already in custody when the raid initiated. So the raid took place to grab a guy who was already in the back of a cruiser elsewhere. “Why waste a good (?) raid plan?” seems to have been their rationale.

A previous team with some of the same officers shot an innocent man in 2009, and investigation then determined that some of the officers had had no training but did have pencil-whipped training records. That one cost the taxpayers $2.3 million despite DA Brian Rickman’s efforts to cover it up. He was working to cover this one up, too, so the investigation has been taken out of his untrustworthy hands. There were no consequences to Rickman or county police leadership over the falsified records and cover-up attempt. In retrospect, that was probably one of the errors that led directly to the grave injuries visited on this innocent kid.

Now, the system is going all-out to protect these guys, who are enjoying the traditional non-charged vacation. But if you’re a serious cop who doesn’t want your department to star in a story like this, here are a few pointers:

  1. Know your limitations. If you’re a rural, small department with a tight budget, maybe a SWAT team is not for you, and you’d be better off relying on regional assets or coming up with more creative ways to collect your fugitives and serve your warrants,
  2. Don’t let your desire for shiny war toys from the Pentagon write a check that your training budget can’t cash. Bare minimum proficiency at clearing simple, small buildings can be achieved in three weeks of 16-plus hour days, with the same guys in the same positions. And that assumes that they’re already proficient with the guns they’ll be using. Any more than bare minimum proficiency requires more than this bare minimum training schedule.
  3. Never, ever, turn an officer loose without him having documented and complete training on his weapons systems. Trust, sure, but verify. Not having done that is about to bite the taxpayers of this jurisdiction in the wallet for the second time in four years. At some point, they’ll get tired of writing checks and shake up police leadership.

If you read #3 above and your approach is to make up fictional training and write it in your officers’ personnel jackets, you’re doing it wrong — you’re doing what these clowns did. Don’t be that guy.

Road to Precision

This YouTube playlist documents at excruciating length (the whole playlist is hours long) Canadian Ryan Pahl’s four-year effort to break into F-Class high-power rifle competitive shooting.

Spoiler: in the end, he decides he just doesn’t have the resources (human or capital, we’re not really sure what his problem is) to get to the next level. So he decides to take his shooting in a different direction, at the end of the playlist. But if you hang in for the whole thing, you’ll learn a lot about rifle competitive target shooting and the level of competition that’s out there these days. You’ll also learn quite a bit about what it takes to put lead on target, when “on target” is defined as very small and quite far away.

The fact is, Ryan shot better than many elite military unit snipers, and he was still, at the end, disappointed in his performance, measured against the real high-power competition gravelbellies.

And benchrest shooters look at high-power shooters’ best groups, kind of like physicists look at psychologists – “they do interesting stuff, but is it really science?” — and they have the groups to justify that attitude.

There are two sets of things that competitors do. The first is a variety of things that actually improve shooting performance, including such things as handloading with extreme uniformity. These things are mostly unchanged from competitor to competitor and year over year. Then there are the superstitions, which do tend to change: they get swept up as enthusiasms or fads by the community for a while, then they’re all on to the next fad. But an outsider has little hope of figuring out which is which. (Best guide to a fad is the absence of a plausible physical explanation of why it helps, but that’s not perfect as some useless superstitions sound perfectly plausible).

This could be edited down into a single, shorter presentation, that would be worth buying as a DVD or download. We’ll admit we fast-forwarded past the many groups that were recorded in apparent real-time. Shooting holes in targets is one of those things that’s much more interesting when you’re doing it than when you’re watching the other guy do it.

Good luck to Ryan, and thanks for the video tour of a short career in high-power.

Jerry Miculek on Open Carry — and Weaponsman, too: less politely.

Champion shooter, pro competitor, instructor and all around good guy Jerry Miculek has his own take on the bizarre phenomenon of attention-whoring “open carry activists” who go ditty-bopping into various unsuspecting businesses with TAPCO’d out ARs and SKSes carried at the ready. He gets the editorial comment out of the way — gently, and with humor — with his appearance in the first few minutes of the video, and then he spends the rest of it discussing when carrying what is appropriate. His advice is thoughtful, practical, polite to the point of courtliness. And certain to be ignored by certain perseverating camera hounds in Texas.

Do make time to Watch The Whole Thing™ because it’s nothing but solid advice from a guy who stone-cold knows shooting and knows how to prepare for self-defense. And his gentle gibe at some of the guys who disengaged brain before engaging in open carry is frontloaded and over fairly quickly, while the whole video is a pretty good cross-check on your own carry plans and preparedness.

Now, Our Two Cents’ Worth

We do not get the fascination with rifle open carry. (And yes, we know that that’s their brain-dead way to protest the absence of handgun open carry in the Lone Star State). And we do not get the calculus where, if a bunch of weird-looking bozos brandishing guns are seen as threatening by a lot of not-weird-at-all people, the way to resolve that problem is to make the sight bands of bullet-headed bullet-launcher-bedecked bozos drearily commonplace.

We’ll tell you right now: ain’t gonna happen. What these guys have already done is torpedo Open Handgun Carry in Texas. On what they’re trying to do, they’re not only not helping, but their efforts obstruct and hinder the people actually working on the problem. Who could probably use plenty of help, but not this kind.

The activists’ idea of Tactical is more Tacticold, too. What’s next, a Mosin-Nagant in a plastic “sniper kiddie” chassis, with a Walmart Special scope?  If you want cool optics, nifty accessories, and to walk around with your rifle at the ready, the recruiter’s number is in the phone book, and he or she will get you together with a rifle that is not a pathetic laughingstock. For the sort of sedentary geeks we’ve seen representing Open Carry Texas in social media, there may be some problems with such hurdles as height & weight standards and drug testing. Think of it as an opportunity to excel.

This is particularly sad because one of the heads, if not the head, of OCT is a soldier, who ought to know better. But clearly doesn’t. Because his troopies keep doing dumb stuff.

Anyway, Jerry says it all with more tact and style. But they’ll ignore him just as much as they ignore our ruder attempts to transmit the message.

Negative contact with intelligent life in the OC activist community. Weaponsman, out.