We’ll tell you why. It’s because things like this happen. Indianapolis’s Rod Bradway acted boldly and decisively — and received a fatal wound for his efforts. The guy who shot him was shot dead by Rod’s backup. The victim, who’d called for the cops’ help in the first place, was apparently not all that wonderful a person either: her kid wound up in the hellhole that’s Child Services, in Indiana or any other state.
Bradway forced his way into the room as the woman screamed for help. The man assaulting her — Steven Byrdo, 24 — shifted his target to Bradway and fired two shots. One knocked Bradway’s cap off, but the other enterd his chest above his body armor. He returned fire, wounding Byrdo, who was killed in a further exchange of fire with other cops.
Bold action was not out of character for Bradway. He’d received the Indianapolis PD’s Medal for Bravery. The impulse to help was strong in him, and he and his family were noted for their assistance to the lost pets of Moore, OK in the aftermath of the Moore tornado; they gathered supplies and brought them to shelters that were trying to reunite the storm-tossed pets with their storm-displaced families.
The officer killed, Rod Bradway, and at least one other officer went to the apartment complex on the city’s northwest side about 2 a.m. after someone called 911 to report a disturbance.
“When he arrived to the apartment door, he heard a woman scream for help inside the apartment,” Bailey said.
Bradway forced his way inside and was shot, Bailey said. The 41-year-old officer was taken to Wishard Memorial Hospital, where he died a short time later.
Investigators were still working Friday morning to confirm the gunman’s identity and the circumstances surrounding his death. The child was taken by child protective services, said police spokesman Officer Kendale Adams, who had no other details on the child.
This letter was left in the window of a cruiser at the Bradway memorial. It had better be from his wife!
Rod Bradway and his backup officers were not the only stand-up guys in Indianapolis. The mayor was on an overseas junket when this happened; he cut it short and rushed home. That’s the right thing to do, but how many politicians do it? One can’t help but compare to the Congresscritters, including vets’-issues-diva Tammy Duckworth, who walked out on the family members of the Benghazi KIAs last week — that last is more typical pol behavior.
The politicians aside, the people of Indianapolis have poured out a stream of grief and affection for the slain policeman, much of it left at a memorial.
A pretty solid percentage of cops would have done exactly what Rod did, even though it’s not the textbook answer (that would be, “wait for backup on a domestic”). He died trying to prevent a helpless woman from being further injured. The only good news is that Byrdo has committed his last crime: where he’s gone, the recidivism rate is zero. Rod’s backup officers (assisted by the wound that Rod himself laid on Byrdo) did what the courts and laws could not, stopped a criminal career dead in its tracks. There is that.
PDB has a post that is absolutely brilliant, in its skewering of the pervasiveness of “tactical operator fashion” in gun ads:
…advertising is the sincerest form of psychology because the livelihoods of everyone involved depends directly on the accuracy of the assessment. The advertising agency / client feedback loop is nearly instantaneous and completely unforgiving, and therefore the manner in which the products are hawked to a particular demographic is a harsh and sometimes magnifying mirror.
So what does recent firearm advertising say about us shooters?
Read The Whole Thing™, but it sort of suggests a certain strain of wannabe-ism is rampant in our ranks. The ads he cites mostly have guys dressed up like SEAL Team 666™, and more brandishing than firing their weapons as they kick doors or clear tire houses.
Of course, while PDB is checking this out one way, others are mocking it. Here’s a favorite of ours. Sara’s contribution is the best bit in our humble opinion (some salty language):
OK, returning to PDB’s analysis of the ads. Let’s get serious, operators and operate-ettes.
In a way, this kind of ad is a classic Appeal to Authority, psychologically no different from the TV spot where the guy or gal in a white lab coat urges you to buy some useless dietary supplement, or the more direct one where “four out of five dentists recommend….” It’s saying, basically, “A shortcut to your carbine decision is to rely on the decision that guys like the one in the photo have already made.” To put it even more briefly, “Choose Colt. The Army did.”
“Sarge, I wanna 416!” “What’s your major malfunction, Private Pyle? Shut your %$^!! face.” (Where’s this image from? Check it out).
There’s a bit of irony in this, because SWAT cops and military special operations troopers have a rather limited amount of choice in their own weapons. (Exercise for the reader who is still in: go to your CO or Sergeant Major and tell him you think your M4A1 sucks and want to carry an LWRC or Daniel Defense carbine instead. Report his response, verbatim). In SF we had quite a wide range of choices, for a gaggle of Army guys, but it was from the stuff in the arms room. (Carrying a personal sidearm was what we called a “catch me, **** me” rule. Technically forbidden, but tolerated as long as you didn’t rub the command’s nose in it). But in most of the military, your personal weapon is assigned to you and you have no more ability to change it than a green plastic Army guy toy.
The stuff in the arms room was either what Big Green bought for us (which we, or our senior staff, liked to use because it came out of Big Green dollars and not our limited MFP-11 money), or stuff selected, usually, by a team of experienced guys. These testing teams were always good guys, good shots and experienced field guys, but their decisions were always controversial. Sometimes they labored and brought forth something and it was good (The M24 sniper weapons system, for example, or the adaptation of the M203 to the 14.5″ carbine), and sometimes it was good and still didn’t make the sale to get adopted. (The 6.8 SPC cartridge). If SF or SOF cooked up an idea and it was really good, Big Green came around to it — pretty quickly when there is a war on.
Likewise, if Big Green has a good brainstorm on weapons, we’re all over it. Many of our guys (not just the MOS weapons men) stay abreast of what’s happening in the world, and new blood is coming in all the time from the Ranger Regiment, the line infantry divisions, and every MOS in the Army. (Even cooks, bandsmen, electronic-warfare aircrew, and heavy-equipment operators have tried out and made it into SF since the requirement for having a “feeder MOS” was eliminated decades ago. And we always find a use for their prior skills).
The runaway arms race of military and police legitimacy probably achieved critical mass in the open-enrollment firearms training market, where relevance to uniformed service became a shortcut to a convincing marketing pitch. If it’s good enough for SEAL Team 6, it’s good enough for me, right? Well, what if what’s good for Operators Operating In Operations isn’t good for the rest of us? Have we considered that perhaps much of the gear, doctrine and technique only works for those guys because it’s their job to practice them every day, and they put them into practice with a bunch of other guys who also practice them every day, with each other?
He has a point there. Absolutely zero military training is designed for a scenario in which an individual stands his ground alone against multiple assailants, confronts a single assailant Dodge City style, or clears his own house against an unknown threat. Certainly things learned in military training can be applied to situations like these, and skills acquired in advanced military training are very comforting to have, but training for these exact scenarios isn’t part of the schools. For most military units, the irreducible element is two to three men; the people who are trained to operate alone are very few, very narrowly applied, and usually work both under cover and unarmed or lightly armed. If they fire a shot, they are at mission failure; and it is a rare cover indeed that gives one of these folks plausible reason to carry a firearm.
He goes on further:
In particular, I’m going to point out the preemptive prophylactic (I refuse to use the t-word) reload, where one switches out and retains a partially expended magazine for one that’s full, while there are still hostiles around. This makes sense in the military setting, as you can count on several friends nearby with fully loaded rifles looking in the same direction to keep the baddies from taking advantage of your temporarily useless rifle. In the civilian context, which I assume the vast majority of my readers are preparing for, and the vast majority of firearms customers are as well, one cannot count on ever having backup and thus you should not only put off reloading until you are convinced that all is clear, if you have an empty mag you should probably toss it and not waste time finding a place to stow it. Yes yes, I know in various disaster scenarios we can’t assume FedEx will be delivering fresh PMags straight from Brownells etc etc, but this is rapidly getting into prepping to fastrope from the space shuttle territory, and for the current domestic situation, tossing your empties (or even lightly loaded partials if you have more full magazines available) is the smarter play.
It’s interesting that while his points are primarily focused on the irremediable Walter Mitty nature of such advertising and training, his first commenter, in full Walt mode, starts arguing arcana of the “tactical reload.” Talk about missing the point.
For what it’s worth, we were taught to count rounds, and change mags when out, when in a moment of downtime before we expected to fire a lot (i.e., just before clearing a new building or room), or whenever we lost count. It was doable, and becomes a habit, with sufficient discipline. Most “tacticool” shooters and trainers aren’t that disciplined. SOT School was one of the best combat schools in all recorded history, and it materially improved the shooting and combat mindset of everyone who attended. So the Army naturally closed it. (It was a spinoff of the former Blue Light interim CT capability, and actually provided the basis for two courses that still run, SF Advanced Urban Combat and another closer to the original spirit of SOT, but expanded).
And — referring back to my comments above about solo practitioners — all of the above are team schools that entire organic units, like SF Teams and Ranger squads, attend together. These days they are organized so that primarily only shooters attend, which is probably a mistake. SF support elements that deploy with ODAs or like ODAs should probably attend these schools, also (which was done in the era of SOT).
Bringing it back to PDB’s commentary:
So in case you didn’t notice, it sure looks to me as if almost every seller of ARs and even slightly related equipment is selling them at SWAT teams, the military, private military contractors, or people who fancy themselves to be, but are not.
Emphasis his own.
But we’d like to know that it’s only the wannabees that run these three types of “operators” together in the mind. There are some critical differences:
SWAT teams comprise sworn law officers whose mission is always to protect the public and to contain and reduce threats in the most restrained manner practicable. They want to arrest the guy and let him face a jury, and only whack him if that’s what protecting the public is. They don’t go in “fangs out,” looking to kill.
The military covers a wide range of skills and organizations, all of which are necessary for victory. (Ask us sometime about how much we appreciated the Finance Corps and the food service bureaucracy in the early days of Afghanistan). But the door-kicking, tricked-out-AR wielding end of it is principally contained in the combat arms branches (infantry, armor, artillery) and SOF. And an infantry or Ranger squad or SF ODA does not come through the enemy’s door looking to read him his rights, but to leave him needing a priest or mullah to read his rites.
Private Military Contractors are extremely variable in quality, even within the same company on a longitudinal sample of time. For example, Blackwater once was noted for employing extremely select personnel. They responded to growth and competitive pressure by essentially zeroing out selection and training, and became so notoriously inept that they had to change their name — twice. Kind of like the cheap Chevy, which has been a Nova, Chevette, Cobalt, Cruze and a bunch of other names as each of the old ones gets burned to the public by the low quality of the product. There are high quality contractors out there, but there are a lot of bozos. A lot of the bozos think they ought to be running training academies. At least one of them is.
If a guy’s “combat experience” was as a PMC and he was not previously in a military combat arms or SOF job, odds are he’s just another gunshop commando at best, and a hazardous bozo at worst. And even if he knows how, say, to conduct executive protection in a high-threat combat environment, the skills he knows may translate very poorly to what you need to master.
How can we say they’re bad shootings so soon? Sure, all the facts are not in, but the facts that are in suggest that this was not the Thin Blue Line’s finest hour. First, in New York City, a couple of rookies were being frustrated by a ‘noncompliant’ nutjob — one with 13 priors, some of them for violent felonies — when Mr Nutjob pulled out his hand and did the finger-gun trick. One of the cops lit him up — or tried to. Nutjob had one insignificant wound (some sources disagree, and insist he was not wounded at all), but two women who had the poor fortune to also be in the AO stopped a couple more rounds.
In the second incident, it seems reasonable to us that the cop mistook a guy acting crazy for a criminal home invader, but it didn’t seem reasonable to the chain of command — the cop who shot him dead is already charged with voluntary manslaughter, which has to be some kind of a speed record. Turns out the guy was probably a distressed motorist from a nearby accident scene: he may have been running to the cops for help, not to threaten them. The mishap shooter is reportedly taking it very badly.
Cops trying to subdue an emotionally disturbed man with a long rap sheet accidentally shot two female bystanders outside Port Authority Bus Terminal on Saturday night, source said.
Theodora Ray, 54, was struck in her leg — breaking two bones in her calf — as she stood leaning on her four-wheeled walker across from the terminal; Sahara Khoshakhlagh, 35, was grazed in her buttocks.
Ms. Ray was knocked clean off her walker. And out of her crocs. Twitter.com/ Kerri Ann Nesbeth
Two cops pulled off a total of three shots in the mistaken belief that the deranged Glen Broadnax, 35, was armed after he reached into his pocket as they approached him, officials said.
Broadnax took his hand out of his pocket and “simulated shooting the officers,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters.
The incident looks bad all round. It’s hard to blame the officers for shooting, but the missing needs some explaining.
Glen Broadnax, however, is only outside because New York, like most states, stinks at locking up the mentally ill, and because New York, unlike most states, really stinks at locking up violent criminals. Broadnax has a bakers-dozen priors, almost all for violent crime, including assaults, and two robberies that sent him to prison.
(GunsSaveLife snarks, “NYPD Marksmanship Unit Scores Again,” and reminds us that NYPD deliberately outfits its Glocks with an accuracy-reducing extra-heavy trigger, to avoid having to conduct proper safety instruction).
An unarmed man who may have been looking for help after a vehicle wreck was shot and killed by a police officer Saturday as he ran toward him, police said. The officer was later charged with voluntary manslaughter.
A statement issued by police said officers responded to a breaking and entering call on the city’s east side around 2:30 a.m. Someone had knocked on the door of a residence, and the homeowner opened the door, thinking it was her husband. When she discovered it wasn’t, she closed the door and called 911.
When officers arrived, they found Jonathan A. Ferrell, 24, a short distance from the home, and he matched a description given by the homeowner, police said.
The statement said officers approached Ferrell to investigate the original call. Ferrell ran toward the officers and was hit with a Taser. Ferrell continued to run toward police when Officer Randall Kerrick fired his weapon, hitting Ferrell several times. Ferrell was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators said they think a wrecked car discovered down an embankment in nearby woods may have been driven by Ferrell, and investigators say he may have been trying to get help from the resident who called 911.
The police chief says he’s talked to Officer Kerrick, and Kerrick’s all busted up about having shot someone who turns out probably wasn’t a criminal. It seems over the top to charge him, but it’s possible that (1) media reports are not complete or correct, and/or (2) the higher-ups of Charlotte-Mecklenburg are the antonym of stand-up guys, from a subordinate’s point of view, and the Blue Falcon is flying over North Carolina.
(Update: Here’s a report in USA Today which has more details on this shooting and the cop’s booking, including the fact that two other cops were present at the scene. It answers a few questions, but raises even more, and the ones it does answer aren’t the big ones. –Ed.)
Still, whatever the reason, when a bystander winds up wounded or assuming ambient temperature, the public is going to expect to be served up some rolling heads, and the public (and particularly the press, who inform the public) are not going to be interested in or capable of grasping long or complicated explanations.
Backstop. Marksmanship. Drill. And the brain and all six senses need to be fully engaged before you start taking up the slack in the trigger.
Would you trust this kid with a gun? (note: these are all file photos we grabbed off the net. Not our kids).
Not far from where we live, a police chief came home to horrible news one day. His teen daughter’s boyfriend had killed himself. Worse, he did it in the chief’s house. And worst of all, he did it with the chief’s service pistol, which the cop had placed on top of, not in, his weapons safe.
Think the chief felt indescribably bad? And that was before his legal problems began.
Many people in the gun culture feel that they ought to have a rule, or at least a rule of thumb, for how they child-proof their guns, and more importantly, gun-proof their children. People out of the gun culture, conversely, are all over the place — some want to demystify guns to their kids, and others, who tend to be anti-gunners, ascribe mythical powers to guns and want their children shielded from their very existence.
NYPD’s ace gunfighter Jim Cirillo addressed this in his book, Guns, Bullets and Gunfights. Jim was a strong believer in the “demystification” approach:
My personal method, and one I pass on to my trainees, is to totally familiarize the whole family with the weapon, especially children who are old enough to comprehend. Any child who can fire a weapon should be familiarized with it. I feel that if you satisfy the curiosity of the child and then go a step further and instruct that child in safe weapon handling, then he or she should be allowed to see and handle the firearm under supervision whenever he or she wishes. This can be a bother in the beginning, but the novelty will soon wear off as the curiosity is alleviated. The child will probably break your horns for about a week asking to see the weapon, but after that the gun, which is available to handle and see, is no longer a mysterious thrill. It now becomes more like a piece of furniture, about as interesting as a table lamp.
This is as clear and concise a statement of the theory and practice of gun-proofing kids that you’re likely to see. Jim goes on to tell two stories of gun-handling kids, one that ended in laughter (and a paddling for the boy) and one that ended in tragedy (not at the hands of the kid, even though he was the one who initially removed the gun). The amusing case involved a kid who was gun-proofed, and didn’t obey the strict rules that came with the lesson. He got “Lesson B”. The less amusing case resulted from trying to child-proof the gun, and failing (if you remember from your own childhood, kids can be resourceful critters). Cirillo remembers:
The second incident was a terrible tragedy. In this case the law enforcement officer was taught the standard “hide your weapon and never show it to anyone,” including family members. But the officer’s wife found his revolver in her 7-year-old son’s drawer, and it was cocked! Not wanting her son to touch it, she picked it up immediately and went to find her husband so he could disarm it. He was napping on the couch in the living room as she approached him, cocked gun and fresh linen in her hands. Struck with the clumsiness that overtakes some people in fear, she dropped a pillowcase, reached for it, and at that instant the weapon discharged. The police officer never awoke from his nap.
One of the take-aways here is that not only kids need to be gun-proofed. “Family familiarization with the gun would have prevented this tragedy,” Jim writes, and he was absolutely right. For Jim, it doesn’t end with familiarization, either:
Once the family is totally familiarized with any weapon in the house and is given the same safety lecture that the law enforcement officer received, and once each member can handle the weapon with utmost safety, it does not mean that the officer can now leave his weapon accessible and lying about. He must still take steps to safeguard it. Familiarization is only a safeguard in the event that the weapon, perhaps out of haste or forgetfulness, is left in plain sight of family members. Now they will carefully-not carelessly or curiously-handle it.
They trusted this kid with guns and look what happened….
Apart from the fact that we hope you give your family members more and more complete safety instruction than “the same safety lecture” law enforcement officers receive, we agree, to a point. The point is that it depends on the kid.
Prior to having kids in one’s life, it is easy to make hard and fast rules about when you should start teaching them about guns and safety. The presence of real, live, individual, kids should disabuse you of this notion in a hurry.
Consider Kid A and Kid B. They are close to the same age chronologically, but have disparate levels of gun-readiness. Kid A was born 12 years ago (after an arduous and risky, technologically-assisted pregancy) to a couple who were on the older side for a first child. One recalls with wry amusement making plans with the father for his son’s — for they knew well in advance their long-sought baby would be a boy — gun training, as the father is one of the many who is not one of the gun-culture, but a non-participating supporter, as it were.
Kid A defeated our plans, because of who he was – is. He is very intelligent, but has extremely poor motor control; he moves with jerky motions, is given to spasmodic flapping of the arms, and has both a low degree of what you might call common sense, and absolute-zero levels of empathy and of concern for social or societal norms. “He isn’t near the mean in anything,” his father says. “In every measure known to science, he’s either in the fifth percentile or the 95th percentile.”
He’s an interesting kid, and the quacks and the school folks quibble about where along the autism spectrum he is, actually. (In our day, he’d have been crucified by his schoolmates. Today, they protect and shield him. Times change, apparently). Lately he has been expressing an interest in guns. He knows his uncle is a war veteran with a number of guns, and he’s fascinated. It’s about time to attempt to gun-proof him, Cirillo style; but his parents would no more have a gun in their house than they would turn him loose in a Sherman tank or throw him the door codes to Los Alamos National Laboratories. Knowing their son, I can’t blame them.
She played with toy guns but it never influenced her.
Kid B is almost the same age — 14. He’s an introspective kid, and has the interest in guns and war typical of boys his age. He’s not as smart as A, normal to bright normal, and he’s obedient in a way that’s not typical of boys his age. He does have his own handicap — serious dyslexia, which demotivates him from reading anything. Mechanical stuff, though: show him once and he’s got it. So far, gun-proofing Kid B seems to work. He’s more than interested, but never has shown any inclination to pick up a gun outside of supervised activities. (We’ve even done a couple of tests, to see. We’re devious that way). He has never touched the office safe. He doesn’t have a key to the gun room yet, but he knows where other guns are and never goes there unaccompanied.
Kid C, whom we mention as an afterthought, is 10 and she has never shown any interest whatever in guns. She’s Kid A’s little sister, and was adopted into the family. She is in many ways more mature and sensible than her brother. Although she lacks his quick mind and grasp of abstract ideas, she is, despite being the archetypal “girlie girl,” athletic and a natural leader. she is assertive (you could say bossy) and very protective of Kid A, who should be the protective big brother but just doesn’t have it in him. She takes it on herself to buffer him from the world, and will be part of any gun-proofing we plan (for the same reason that Cirillo’s cop example should have taught his wife as well as his son about his revolver).
These personal examples are put forward for no reason but to illustrate the wide range of children’s personalities and abilities, even in a single family. And there are other examples — one can go too far in imparting gun knowledge to a kid, but that’s another story (as this post is already long). The bottom line is: the time and lesson plan for teaching your kids about guns varies. And it doesn’t depend in the slightest on the gun, but it sure does depend on the kid; you need to be attuned to his or her inherent qualities.
We tend to believe what we see with our own eyes, and we tend to extend that belief to what others saw with theirs. But there are several problems with this: one of the major ones is that we don’t always see what’s right in front of us.
That’s a pretty famous video by now, and you probably know what to look for. But many others have replicated Simons et al’s research. For example, a couple of high school students’ version of this test of perception and cognition is less polished than the Simons group’s, but they note that only 50% of the viewers catch the changes and discontinuities in the video.
Of course, brainteasers depending on this kind of thing: “What seven items are different in Picture 2?” — have long been a staple of activity books for children. But as adults we forget how hard it was to find every missing cufflink or changed shoelace in a sketch. (Or we assume that we could do it now that we’re grown-ups a lot easier than we could at Age 9. Exercise for the reader: next trip to the dentists’ office….)
Simons and other researchers have gone on to note that if the change is gradual, humans are remarkably blind to it:
We can’t go into all the details here, but in the 1930s the world’s militaries developed sophisticated tenets and tools of imagery analysis. From the 1960s, overhead imagery of even the most aggressively-denied areas became possible with artificial earth satellites. Beginning in the 1980s, the cascade of data emerging from these satellites was more than humans could process unaided, even in the wealthy nations that could afford to launch and maintain satellites on station over points of interest.
So the first, halting steps towards computerized analysis were begun under very great secrecy. And one development that shocked the analysts was that the computers, using change analysis algorithms, were finding changes on sites, the imagery of which had been thoroughly examined by human eyes.
What does this mean to you as an operational soldier, working cop, or armed citizen? It means you need to be humble about the quality of your perception, and cautious about not only the “known unknowns” but also the “unknown unknowns.”
A bunch of innumerate, credentialed but uneducated reporters beat up on Donald Rumsfeld 10 plus years ago for using those terms, but they’re venerable engineering concepts that need to be part of your constant self-assessment of your situational awareness. Known Unknowns are things that you don’t know, but at least know that exist, and so that you’re able to plan for. A Known Unknown might be: how hazardous a particular street in Philadelphia is if the Sixers are playing an important playoff game tonight, or how hazardous the registered sex offenders in your community are to your kids. And Unknown Unknown might be: whether there is an uncaught, unsuspected sex offender in your community (like the creepy general this week).
The thing is that, while Unknown Unknowns are obviously unknowable in detail, what Rumsfeld’s point was, was this: they can be anticipated as a group or as a concept. You need to know that they’re out there, even when you can’t tell what they are. Insurance companies are good at this. They have learned from long experience to include on their balance sheets, not only reserves for known claims, even when the amounts of the claims are unknowable; classic known unknowns. But they also include a reserve, the setting of which is more actuarial art than actuarial science, for claims that are “incurred but not reported” — classic unknown unknowns.
As good as the insurers, with in some cases centuries of experiential records, are at this, Beltway public policy intellectuals, particularly the young wunderkind sort of baby duck for whom every event is an unprecedented novelty, are hopelessly bad at it. Hence the excoriation of Rumsfeld. They didn’t see any gorilla, so there is no gorilla.
Unlike the Beltway intellectual set, we play real-world games for real-world stakes. A very high percentage of losers at the games of gunfight and ambush make that same mistake — and die complacent, or if they last a second or two longer, surprised. Don’t make that mistake. Broaden your palette of information sources. Question your own assumptions. Expect the gorilla.
The Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless is a classic Browning-designed pocket pistol and is readily concealed and reliable as sunset. It was carried by OSS agents behind Nazi lines.
Or, at least, to pocket carry.
Kevin Creighton at Shooting Illustrated and instructor Jim Neff ran through several different scenarios for office carry. No surprise, they found out that starting with your hand on the gun greatly reduced your draw-and-fire time. Not exactly shocking.
And an ankle holster was a very slow mode of carry, adding seconds to the draw. No shock there, either. Everyone knows that with an ankle or leg holster you’re trading speed for stealth.
What was shocking was that pocket carrying — these guys were using a pocket holster, which helps both concealment, by breaking up the outline, and the orientation/presentation of the weapon — was substantially faster than a tucked IWB holster, and even a little faster than gimmick holsters like faux day-planners or computer bags.
Pocket carry won’t work for a service pistol, or even a compact service pistol like a Glock 26. But it’s adequate for a small pistol designed for that kind of service — and concealment. Many small 20th Century pistols, like our summer Condition Green carry Walther PPK, or the many Colt/Browning .32 and .380 guns, are designed for that exact mission. (Even more so, very small pistols like our swimsuit-carry .25 auto). Of course, today there are newly designed pocket pistols that take advantage of improvements in computer design, metallurgy, and other materials sciences to pack the power of a service pistol cartridge like 9mm or .45 into a package comparable to the pocket pistol of 100 years ago.
Another thing that Creighton didn’t comment on, but that we think is worth noting from his data, is that the difference between fastest and slowest option was a matter of two to three seconds. He and Neff did not practice with the holsters before the test, to ensure that they were equally unskilled with each holster. Two or three seconds could easily come off a draw time with a lot of drill, but… we still have a fondness for pockets.
The First Rule of Gunfights is, always: Bring a Gun. And you always have pockets (well, unless your swimsuit is a speedo or a bikini, depending on your sex. Those who know us in meatworld will be relieved to know we own no speedos).
There are several other points on office carry in the Creighton article, along with the raw data from their quick-draw experiments. As we’ve often said, we think quick-draw is much overemphasized in handgun training — being second to fire is OK if the first guy is firing wildly, and #2′s motto is We Try Harder (specifically, by aiming). If you have time to observe a threat coming, you have time to flee, if possible, and to raise your defensive posture, which is a fancy way of saying get the gun ready.
A state of readiness in his selected “victim” is sometimes enough to deter or divert a malefactor. A state of armed readiness is often enough. Situational Awareness is a more fungible, practical, and vital skill that quick-draw speed ever could be.
They might not have found the fire right away, but the officers’ lockers are nearby, and one officer at least had just been shooting. The range is in the basement of police HQ in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and while city firemen were able to knock it down — leading, no doubt, to lots of the usual badinage between any police and fire guys — the cops couldn’t get back into their lockers for a while, and the department’s ops and dispatch had to displace to a backup location.
At about 7:45 p.m., a police officer in the range contacted the Fire Department via radio and reported he could see black smoke in the area. Deputy Fire Chief Carl Roediger said the presence of rubber in the firing range was responsible for much of the thick, black smoke that filled the building.
Dispatch operations were moved from the first floor of the police station to a backup center at the city’s public works facility on Peverly Hill Road. City Manager John Bohenko, who arrived at the fire scene, said it was the second time the redundancy center has been utilized. The other occasion was also a fire, which occurred at the adjacent City Hall, he said.
Fortunately, the department was prepared with a rehearsed “Plan B”, and citizens were never inconvenienced or placed at risk. The Portsmouth Herald notes that the range is very heavily damaged, possibly totaled; and there’s nothing but speculation about the cause at this time (the speculation they chose to print is that potential causes include unauthorized use of tracer rounds by some officers, or damage to electrical wiring by the building’s resident rats.
The department is looking to borrow time at another agency’s range for proficiency and qualification. Chief Corey McDonald promises his men will leave the tracers, if any — and the rats — at home station.
…say whaaat? Well, don’t. Not if the fists belong to a pensioner who happens to be a former national champion amateur boxer who’s kept himself fit. Here’s the before and after of would-be home invader Gregory McCalium:
Mangled Mac here ran into a buzzsaw named Frank Corti, who in his youth was a boxer and has the shelf of trophies to show for it. In his old age (he’s 72 to McCalium’s twenty-something) he has kept fit. But he’d like to get a bit of rest, and McCalium likes to party all night long.
During the trial, Mr Corti described how he had been woken during the night by noise from next door for several months before the incident.
Gregory McCalium had become involved in a long-running dispute with Mr Corti about noise
He told the court: ‘They would slam the doors, then they would start partying. You could hear shouting, screaming and music.’
Mr Corti said he called police when he found McCalium banging on the front door of his house at about 6.30am.
Two hours later, he said, he came downstairs and saw bar worker McCalium in his hallway.
Mr Corti said: ‘The accused produced a knife. It was no ordinary knife, it was more like a six-bladed knuckle duster.
‘He made a slashing movement at me. I stepped back. He missed me, fortunately.’
McCalium, for his part, was drunk enough — apparently his normal state — that he has no recollection of the incident. His wounds will have plenty of time to heal, because even in gun-hostile, anti-self-defence (as they spell it) Britain, the courts couldn’t overlook his behavior: he’s in the nick for four and a half years.
Corti and his wife can put the incident behind them — after they clean up the blood that McCalium left, so much that his lawyer complained that it “looked more like a murder scene.” Hey, it was his boy with the knife.
The judge told McCalium at sentencing, “The jury might well have concluded you got what you deserved when you entered that property and took a swipe at him with that weapon.”
Corti noted that, “I had to subdue him by punching him, which I did not take a great deal of pleasure in…. If needed to, I would do it again.”
Well, he won’t need to. Not for 4 1/2 years, anyway.
Yep, you can hit a guy with plenty of these and still not take all the fight out of him.
Timothy Gramins thought he was well armed, with a Glock 21 and 2 spare mags, and a backup Glock 26. All in all he had 47 handgun rounds, plus an AR in the trunk and an 870 in an overhead rack. Armed for bear, right? Then he stopped a bank robber who had sworn to his gang that no policeman would take him alive. The robber had a 9mm Smith, a .380 Bersa, and an SKS, and came out of his car firing. Gramins put lead on target — at the critical point of the fight, he’d fired 30 rounds and hit the skell 14 times, including six mortal wounds (that didn’t slow him down, yet). The robber had fired 21 rounds from the two handguns, showering Gramins with window glass in the opening seconds of the fight and tagging him once in the leg. Gramins couldn’t get his long guns without exposing himself. But he finally got an angle on the robber, and fired three shots.
Head shots. The robber went down, shot three times in the head, plus his previous mortal wounds: one in the heart, one in each lung, the diaphragm, liver and one kidney — plus eight more that weren’t in vital spots, all of them .45 ACP warshots. The robber, every bit as tough as he was evil, still had vital signs but expired in the ER before surgeons could restore his thoroughly ventilated circulatory system. Repeat after us: Awwwww….
Key takeaway: carry more ammo. Nowadays, Gramins does.
ITEM: Rookies Did Good
In the 40 Precinct of New York City, a somewhat rough South Bronx locale, two rookies so new that they were still telling Academy stories heard gunshots — and ran towards them. They saw a “youth” named Shaaliver Douse running down the street, firing a pistol at another man, who was running away (sensibly enough). They did it exactly by the book: “Police officers! Drop the gun!” Douse didn’t, and one cop fired. Douse was dead on the spot with a jaw wound.
Douse’s gun, with Douse’s blood. Tough to be him, eh?
Turns out that Douse had a number of reasons not to be carrying an Astra pistol and blazing away. He was out on bail from attempted murder charges from May, in which he shot a 15-year-old, and on firearms charges that he was to answer in court on the 23rd of this month. (That an attempted murderer is back out doing it again in a few months might suggest to anyone but the Mayor of New York that the problem isn’t some gun collector in Wyoming, but New York’s criminal-friendly injustice system). Douse, by the way, was 14 years old: Trayvon was a late bloomer.
Anyway, this story is densely packed with purest win. The next group of Shaaliver Douse victims is now a null set. That worthless waste of protoplasm is now in a drawer somewhere, on his way to disposal as medical waste. No bystander, nor Douse’s intended victim (probably another young criminal) was harmed in the process. The shoot was a righteous as righteous gets. And a couple of young cops now have something to talk about besides Academy hijinks. The New York Post has more details and images of the scene
ITEM: Routine Prisoner Transfer Goes Nonlinear
Here’s a story that could have gone the other way. In Massachusetts, Sheriff’s Deputies staff the county jails and move prisoners around. While everyone likes to stop thinking of prisoners when they get locked up, the Deputies still have to haul them on their appointed rounds, mostly to court appearances or medical appointments. The cons are generally cooperative — until they aren’t.
At a routine appointment in a Boston hospital, a con, Raymond Wallace, went to the bathroom. Wallace had been planning an escape. When he came out his shackles were off (turns out, he had swallowed a handcuff key) and he grabbed the nearest deputy, Jonathan Persson, trying to wrestle his firearm out, and shooting poor Persson in the leg. Whereupon the other deputy shot Wallace in the chest.
We can’t remember the last time a deputy had to fire his gun during a prisoner transfer. But when this situation went very bad very fast, the unengaged deputy acted swiftly and correctly. Another righteous shoot, ruined only by the survival of the criminal.
But an interesting fact emerged in the days after the shooting. This same con had done the exact same thing before, with almost the same result. (He took one in the boiler room, at least, and another in the leg). You think he’d have learned, but people don’t generally become violent criminals as an outlet for world-class brilliance. The Boston Herald:
[Convict Raymond] Wallace, of Marblehead, has a long rap sheet including a 2001 incident in which he was shot multiple times by a Waltham police detective who foiled a robbery at an ice-cream shop. In that incident, Wallace grabbed a detective’s handgun, before a second-detective unloaded his weapon striking Wallace in the chest and leg.
It’s the nature of criminals (or enemies in CQB) that they will try to get your gun. The outcome you want is the one from this incident: good guys alive and bad guy hors de combat. It could have been better, and we’re sure there’ll be a lot of second-guessing going on, but we’re calling this a righteous shooting.
One thought: have a look at your retention holster. You need it not to be a hazard to yourself (Serpa, we’re lookin’ at you) but you also don;’t want an assailant to be able to fire your weapon while it’s in the holster. If he can’t get it out, but can still break a round and it goes into your thigh, advantage assailant.
The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.
Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.
Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
There’s an awful lot of insight packed into those principles. #s 2 and 6 seem particularly on point give our recent discussions about shooting dogs.
Of course, as we’ve demonstrated, in Sir Bobby’s day, cops could and did die of dog bites.
Principle #9 should be tattooed on the forearm of every public servant (not just police). One thing that drives our inner MBA insane is the degree to which Government and other third-party-paid entities measure their activities by effort rather than results. In the real, physical world, only results count. (Yes, kids, John Dewey and the nice ladies he sent to staff your grade school were all wrong about that. Your football coach and drill sergeant were right: only results count).
But back to Sir Bobby’s laundry list, what’s most interesting is the degree to which these general principles, drafted in the 19th Century, still have their applications today, and not just to police work.