Category Archives: Weapons Usage and Employment

Badge Stops Bullet — Twice in One Day

In two separate incidents Sunday, would-be cop killers were thwarted, not by body armor, Stingray mass-surveillance boxes, the FBI’s PR budget, perfect police training, or any of that jazz.

Their bullets ricocheted off the cops’ badges, leaving the cops safe at home at the end of the day despite the criminals’ kinetically expressed intent.

The outcome for the would be cop killers was a bit different. The guy who shot a Nevada Highway Patrol officer was killed by gunfire from backup officers, and the other guys from his car sit in cells; while the domestic-abuser-turned-cop-attacker from Anaheim, California let cops and Highway Patrol troopers on a merry 85-mile chase before losing control of his car — and burning to death in the wreck.

Good preparation for his eternity, that.

About once every five years, a policeman in the US is saved by his badge, when the badge deflects a bullet. The last time was in New York City in 2010, reporte the New York Times. Last night, however, it happened to two different policemen in two states.

In Huntington Beach, California, officers were involved in a high-speed pursuit when gunfire broke out. A 10-year veteran of the Huntington Beach Police Department had bullets shoot through his windshield and strike him. But his badge stopped the bullets. The suspect veered off the road, crashed his vehicle and died of his injuries.

That’s a very telegraphic version of the story. The Orange County Register has more detail, including these photos, some of which are HBPD handouts and some of which are OCR staff photos:

A hole in the windshield shows how a suspect shot at a Huntington Beach police vehicle, hitting an officer, but it deflected off his badge. "The round came through the front windshield of the officer’s car, struck the officer’s badge and deflected off," said Jennifer Marlatt, a department spokeswoman.

A hole in the windshield shows how a suspect shot at a Huntington Beach police vehicle, hitting an officer, but it deflected off his badge. “The round came through the front windshield of the officer’s car, struck the officer’s badge and deflected off,” said Jennifer Marlatt, a department spokeswoman.

If that doesn’t give you the creeps….

HBPD Statement:

Around 12:30 a.m. Friday morning, Huntington Beach Police initiated pursuit of a suspect for an unknown want.

He jumped in the car and fled from being arrested at a domestic violence situation, although the cops didn’t all know the “why” at the time they were chasing him.

During the pursuit the suspect opened fire on officers, striking one of the officers in his badge. Costa Mesa Fire was requested to evaluate the officer.

Apparently, Wife-Beatin’ Willie spun around in a U-Turn and fired at the approaching cops — that’s where he put the slug through the windshield and into the officer’s badge. Fortunately he was using a pistol and not a long gun with barrier blind ammo.

Officers lost sight of the suspect but were able to relocate the suspect as he entered the southbound 405 Freeway. The pursuit continued to the northbound 55 Freeway, Eastbound 91Freeway and then onto the northbound 15 Freeway where the suspect lost control of his vehicle and crashed down an embankment at Cleghorn Road, bursting into flames. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene. Huntington Beach Police and CHP are investigating. The pursuit lasted over an hour.

A Huntington Beach Police officer is checked out by Costa Mesa Fire after being shot in his badge during a vehicle pursuit of a suspect. The pursuit ended on the Northbound 15 Freeway when the suspect lost control of his vehicle at Cleghorn Road bursting into flames and killing him around 1:30 a.m. Friday morning in San Bernardino County.

A Huntington Beach Police officer is checked out by Costa Mesa Fire after being shot in his badge during a vehicle pursuit of a suspect. The pursuit ended on the Northbound 15 Freeway when the suspect lost control of his vehicle at Cleghorn Road bursting into flames and killing him around 1:30 a.m. Friday morning in San Bernardino County.

They zoomed in on the badge:

A Huntington Beach Police officer is checked out by Costa Mesa Fire after being shot in his badge during a vehicle pursuit of a suspect. The pursuit ended on the Northbound 15 Freeway when the suspect lost control of his vehicle at Cleghorn Road bursting into flames and killing him around 1:30 a.m. Friday morning in San Bernardino County. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: KEVIN WARN, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Around 12:30 a.m. Friday morning, Huntington Beach Police initiated pursuit of a suspect for an unknown want. During the pursuit the suspect opened fire on officers, striking one of the officers in his badge. Costa Mesa Fire was requested to evaluate the officer. Officers lost sight of the suspect but were able to relocate the suspect as he entered the southbound 405 Freeway. The pursuit continued to the northbound 55 Freeway, Eastbound 91Freeway and then onto the northbound 15 Freeway where the suspect lost control of his vehicle and crashed down an embankment at Cleghorn Road, bursting into flames. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene. Huntington Beach Police and CHP are investigating. The pursuit lasted over an hour.


HBPD’s badges are, unusually, made of steel, not bronze or aluminum.

You know, a fellow could get hurt doing that job. Of course, a fellow shooting at the people doing that job is almost certainly going to get hurt, and soon enough the suspect’s driving speed exceeded his driving skill, resulting in a rare literal crash and burn.

If there was ever a time cops were unenthusiastic about rescuing an MVA victim, this was the time.

If there was ever a time cops were unenthusiastic about rescuing an MVA victim, this was the time.


Does anybody get paid enough to smell that smell?

Does anybody get paid enough to smell that smell?

The crispy critter remains identified, as far as we know, at press time.

In Las Vegas, a Nevada State Trooper was conducting a traffic stop when the suspect began to flee the vehicle. During a foot pursuit, gunfire broke out and the trooper was struck in the chest. His badge saved him. The suspect died in the gunfire exchange.

The NHP Tweeted out this picture of the struck badge.

Nevda HP Badge

Two other occupants of the Nevada shooter’s car are in custody.

via Cops Badge Stops Bullet in Separate Shooting Incidents in Nevada, California: Remarkable Coincidence! – Santa Monica Observer.

So, what are the lessons learned here?

  1. It is better to be lucky than to be good.
  2. It is stupid terminally stupid to shoot at the po-po. In case you haven’t noticed, they come in whole troops or precincts.
  3. Maybe if you’re the reincarnation of Fireball Roberts, you can outrun the police car, but you can’t outrun the police radio, or the helicopter that the CHP had following the runner. These things usually end in the reincarnation of no-fireball-in-particular. QED.
  4. Something has gotten into the water (or the media air), and lots of scroungy urban mopes and suburban wildsiders who would never have thunk of it, are down with firing up Officer Friendly in 2016. Is it the Black Criminal Lives Matter movement? The police “going fetal” in urban hellholes? The DOJ lining up behind the violent criminals? Hell, is it sunspots? Or does it even matter? It’s a fact out there.


Worried About “Printing?” Don’t.

Chris Baker set up this grossly obvious example of "printing" for an article at LuckyGunner that pretty much agrees with this article.

Chris Baker set up this grossly obvious example of “printing” for an article at LuckyGunner that pretty much agrees with this article.

The secret to not being obvious about carrying is to just do it and get used to it. Yes, cops nab gangbangers all the time because they can see the kid futzing with his holsterless appendix carried gun. Don’t be that guy and you’re OK.

Here’s the big secret: nobody cares that you carry. Only you, and whatever subset of “yours” that you tell. (Our advice: that subset should start at “nobody,” and only change if you have a really good reason to). Seriously. Cops don’t care, in most jurisdictions. They’re not looking for your gun — they’re looking for nervous patterns of behavior, yes, which are often seen in people carrying unlawfully. 

Cops are aware that a lot of people carry guns legally. Even in a place like Boston or LA where a mere citizen can’t get a permit, the streets teem with official carriers from over a hundred Federal agencies (even Amtrak), not to mention state and local fuzz, judges and prosecutors (some of whom carry because they really fear people they’ve put away, and some of whom have a Walter Mitty thing going).

Cop attitudes to lawful carriers range from “nobody should carry but the Thin Blue Line” (a smaller set than you think, but it exists) to “the more lawful carriers out there the better” (which is a common opinion in law enforcement, even in places like Massachusetts and California). Like the rest of society, cops disagree about these things, but the cop that’s going to hassle a lawful carrier is rare. (True, he’s more common in a place like those mentioned above, or New Jersey).

Criminal attitudes to lawful carriers are easier to explain; to the extent that they think of them at all, they’re frightened of them, but mostly they don’t even think of them. The average criminal expects the possibility of armed resistance if he jacks, say, a drug dealer or gang member, but it never occurs to him that he might meet it from a little old guy or a young lady.

The criminal that jacked an open carrier recently is illustrative. We can’t ask him, being as he’s dead, but it’s likely he never saw the compact Glock on the petite woman’s belt. We suppose you could say he felt its sting, before he ever saw it. We have observed that often, where someone is open carrying and the people around him or her are completely unaware of it. (OC has long been legal here, although it’s still very rare). We’ve also seen the knowledge cascade, where one person notices the firearm and nudges those nearby, until they’re staring at the carrier. After a while, when they see he’s not bent on bloodshed, they go back to what they were doing and more or less forget him or her.

Assuming that it’s lawful for you, carry now. Carry always; get used to it. Carry securely, and don’t draw the pistol unless you mean to use it — think of it like a Gurkha’s kukri: if the situation does not call for drawing blood, don’t take it out.

The sooner you’re blasé about it, the sooner that small percentage who did notice you at first when you were nervous and kept touching it, tunes you out also.

Usage: Open Carry Saves Her Life

Frank Taylor_mugshotMeet Frank Taylor. Don’t get too attached to him, because he’s a crumb, a violent criminal, and he’s already dead, dead, dead — where he can’t hurt anybody any more. Maybe he was a lovely guy 99% of the time, or maybe he was always prone to the kind of dyscivic activity that characterized the last hours of his life. We don’t know, although the fact that he already had a scowling mugshot on file is what intelligence officers call “an indicator.”

Moms Demand Action records his demise as a “gun death.” And it was, but not quite the way they mean.

As it happens, he took his chances on robbing a woman a fraction of his size (4’11″/85 lbs, aka 1.5m/39 Kg), and the gamble came up snake eyes for him, as he coughed out his last blood on an operating table soon thereafter. (We can just feel the groundswell of sympathy for the guy, all the way from Arizona).

Now, we’re not big fans of open carry, here. Why advertise? In summer months, when our service pistol would be hard to conceal in shorts and t-shirt, we downsize. (First Rule of Gunfights: Bring a Gun). But some people, like Carolann Miracle of Glendale, AZ, are built so lean that even a Baby Browning is going to print. You might as well carry the horse pistol, exposed, then.

A news channel tells part of the story:

The suspect, Frank Taylor , tried to bum a cigarette. She told him that she didn’t have one, and then seconds later, Miracle said, she could feel the barrel of the gun against her skin.

“He put the gun up to my neck and said, ‘It’s loaded, don’t move,’” Miracle said. ”I think he thought, ‘She’s a little girl. Maybe she doesn’t know how to use her weapon.’”

Miracle said, “I dropped my soda, released my gun from my holster and cocked it. I shot him and ran in the opposite direction.

She called the cops from home; meanwhile, others responded to the scene, where they called paramedics who transported Taylor to the ER, where attempts to save him — why? Not because he was worth saving, but out of sheer force of habit; it’s what they do — were unavailing.

“Every time you hear a peaceable carrier’s gunshot, a devil gets his bat wings.” Now Frank Taylor hangs, upside down, alongside his brethren in the Surprised Scumbag Hall of Infamy.

Carolann Miracle. From Dean's screen cap of a TV interview.

Carolann Miracle. (Note her Glock). From Dean’s screen cap of a TV interview.

Dean Weingarten has done some work on this story, and reached some conclusions we generally agree with:

Carolann’s father was a Marine.  He taught her well. …

Carolann did many things right.  The first was to instantly recognize the threat.  Many become mired in the thought that “this cannot be happening”; “this is not real”.  People who carry are much less likely to do that because they have considered the possibility of attack and prepared for it.

She did the right thing when she dropped her drink.  Dropping things to access your weapon or to fight better is not an instinctive reaction.  Many people instinctively hang on to useless things that impede their ability to fight.  I taught my students to practice dropping things at the beginning of a fight so that they could draw their firearm, and fight more effectively.

She did the right thing when she fled the area in the opposite direction from the way the attacker was going.  Many attacks, perhaps 50%, involve an accomplice.  She purposefully made the decision, moved to safety, then called the police.

Carolann’s response is common.  She did not want to kill her attacker. It was a consequence of what he forced her to do.  She would have preferred that it never happened.

Indeed, if Frank Taylor decided to get a job framing houses or working in a car wash, he’d be ahead, not dead, and poor Ms. Miracle wouldn’t have his soul, blackened and crabbed though it may have been, on her conscience.

But he didn’t. He decided he wanted to be an urban predator — the U-Boat of the modern urban environment. If Carolann hadn’t gone home to her three-year-old, if it’d been her vapor-locking on that operating table, that probably wouldn’t have troubled Taylor’s atrophied conscience at all. But she wasn’t the complacent victim he expected. The only problem with the lesson he learned from running into a Q-Ship is that his ability to pass the message on is somewhat curtailed.

Dean has a lot more; go Read The Whole Thing™. (His whole site is excellent).


In the Annals of Cop Marksmanship

Case 1: Omar Mateen, whose father that raised him to Jihad is apparently appearing on the campaign trail with one of the candidates. (Gotta sew up that mass-murderer vote, evidently). Mateen was the Moslem version of a man, who bought his ticket to 72 virgins by murdering 49 people at a gay nightclub. But it’s not his dad’s run at 15 minutes of political fame that concerns us; it’s the mechanics of the shooting.

(Aside: Omar, enjoy your virgins. But first, guess what the dead gays get in paradise? Turns out, 72 of them get one virgin — you. Grab your goat-smellin’ ankles).

UPI reports:

Mateen’s autopsy revealed the 29-year-old… was shot at least eight times by police officers as they responded to the shooting…. He was struck in several places, including the chest, abdomen and foot.

Eight hits is pretty good. Out of how many?

The Orlando Sentinel reports that officers shot at Mateen about 150 times during the standoff …

Ew. That’s not so good. Even counting the foot shot, 8/150 comes to about 5.3% hits. Put another way, there were 142 other rounds sailing through the ether, addressed “To Whom it May Concern.”

…and his autopsy indicates he was likely shot from long range while facing police.

The writer probably doesn’t understand this, but on an autopsy, “close range” means, “with powder burns” and “long range” means “no powder burns,” most of the time. So “long range” could be three feet.

But at least the cops shot better than Mateen, right? Er… maybe not.

Friday’s release featured 27 men, not including Mateen, and four women. The victims included in the report suffered a total of 130 gunshot wounds, and the majority died of multiple gunshots.

We don’t know how many rounds Mateen fired from that article, but he managed to get an average of four-plus into each of the targets he hit. For his 130 hits to have been as wild as the police’s 8, he’d had to have fired at least 2,400 rounds.

But… it’s possible the police scored a few more hits than the eight on Mateen.

It remains unclear if anyone in the club besides Mateen was struck by police gunfire, but Orlando Police Chief John Mina said the possibility would be investigated.

They have to know the answer to this question already, and if the police hadn’t hit any of the innocents on the scene, they’d have published that fact already. Ergo, the cops killed Mateen, but only after first being his force multiplier.


Case 2: A Chicago cop punches the ticket of a small-time career criminal as said crim smashes a stolen Jaguar into police units. Naturally, it has produced a Black Criminals’ Lives Matter backlash. This body-cam shot seems to show the moment of truth. Rather than repeat the same analysis, we’ll start off by quoting the author of 50% of the common sense published on Chicongo crime, Second City Cop:

chicongo cop shot crim

That is a freeze-frame of one of the body cams. You can see the shell case exiting the ejection port. You can also see the tail end of the vehicle driving (scraping?) the squad. It’s nothing that hasn’t been in the media, so spare us any faux outrage.

That’s also a cop within the arc of muzzle travel….fractions of a degree. Tenths of seconds, split second decisions, tunnel vision, etc. We’ve heard it. And if you have any experience on the job, you’ve heard it, too.

And you ought to admit, seeing it in this form is a sobering and valuable lesson to everyone.

The gun appears to be not quite back in battery at the moment of the screencap. The white SUV in the left foreground is a cop car. The dark car of which the taillights are just visible right of center is the criminal’s ride. If you follow the drainpipe of the brown building down, you’ll see another Chicago cop’s blurry face, blue shirt and black protective vest. Here’s another cop car camera’s view of the incident: criminal’s in the Jag, you should be able to pick up the positions of the Explorer (l) and the police SUV (r). It’s possible, even likely, that the cop visible “downrange” in the video came from the vehicle this camera was in, or the SUV on the right.

Driver View

Q: Why would a cop fire in a situation like this, with a friendly in Polish Ambush position on the opposite side of the perp? (Apologies to our readers from Polsko, it’s an expression).

A: Because that cop does not see his mate right in front of him. He’s amped up, his bloodstream is full of stress hormones, he’s selected the Fight option and rejected Flight or Freeze, and his perceptual field has narrowed to his target. He shoots and places the brother cop at risk because he can’t even see the guy. 

And that’s part of how cops get shot by friendly fire, military SOF occasionally tag one another whilst playing hide-and-seek with bad guys, an entire team of dozens of Air Force smoked a pair of Black Hawks in Northern Iraq, and AC-130s have blown hell out of a 3rd Group team (in 2001) and an NGO hospital (in 2015).

The psychology works against target PID and backstop consciousness in any fight. There are things you can do, including to train under stress inoculation conditions and make as many “pre-decisions” as possible. But those things are limited in their potency, compared to what millions of years of evolution do to your observation and cognition under stress.

Previous (and subsequent) Second City Cop coverage of this shooting:

It includes this summing-up (SCC considers the cops who fired in this case as good as unemployed already, not because they broke the law — they didn’t — but because they live in a cop-hating city with a cop-hating mayor and police commissioner.

Some people aren’t going to happy we did this last post. The Department is getting it from all sides, politically at all levels, in the media, from the community. We’re going to be accused of piling on, or pitting old against new, cops against cops, siding with them against us. You couldn’t be more wrong. These videos are all out there. The politicians are already against us, beholden to the mob. Those who support the police will continue to do so, those who don’t probably never did. We didn’t put any of this out there, so don’t blame us. Comments that do so will be deleted and forgotten in short order.

But these videos, believe it or not, can help, even if it’s not the way we’d prefer – showing exactly where the shortfalls in training are, the things cameras record (visual and audio), where mistakes are made (and yes, mistakes were made). We’re guessing that two guys are going to lose their jobs, and a third is going to carry around a burden no one wants.

And one last thing: we said SCC was 50% of the common sense published on Chicongo crime. The other 50%? Hey Jackass!, who else?


For a Southern California cop’s view of the incident covered under Case 2 above, see Chicago Car Thief Is Latest Martyr for Black Lives Matter, by  Jack Dunphy. Excerpt:

In the videos, we first see two officers responding to the pursuit, only to find themselves in the disadvantageous position of coming head-on with the car being chased: these officers are headed south on Merrill Avenue near 74th Street when the stolen Jaguar is coming north. The body camera worn by the passenger officer shows him inexplicably with his gun already in hand as he exits the car and the Jaguar comes into view. When O’Neal tries to weave his way between a parked SUV and the police car, he clips them both. The passenger officer opens fire as the Jaguar passes. He fires his first rounds with one hand, putting one through the hood of his own police car and placing his partner, who had exited the driver’s seat and narrowly avoided being hit by the Jaguar, in genuine danger of being shot. The passenger officer appeared to fire about ten rounds in total.

Do Read The Whole Thing™.  We were chafing at some of his criticisms of the officers because, while there are screwups all around here, what about the responsibility of the criminal in this case? And in the end, we learned we should have trusted Dunphy, because he did bring the mantle of responsibility back around, to rest on the dead shoulders of car thief Paul O’Neal.

It Was Life or Death

Victim, left; Ganobick, right, in elevator.

Victim, left; Ganobick, right, in elevator.

The victim, who remains unnamed, was singled out for a violent knifepoint robbery by one of the Kentucky judicial system’s frequent flyers, one John Ganobick. She was cut, but not seriously; that little edge that being alarmed gives a person was one of the two reasons she’s still with us.

The woman instinctively knew the scrawny, scruffy man was trouble… he followed her through a parking garage, and into an elevator. Then, as she walked out the door ahead of him, he attacked with a knife. Things didn’t go quite the way he planned.

Investigators said in January, John Ganobick attempted to rob a woman with a knife.

She shot him, and later told police she thought Ganobick would kill her.

She had this up against her neck and face.

She had this up against her neck and face.

In an emotional interview, the woman said she pulled the trigger to save her life.


She pulled the trigger of her Beretta pocket pistol, and nothing happened.

“And the first time I pulled, nothing happened. And he put his hand harder on my mouth and shoved the knife towards my face and then I shot again,” the victim said.

That time, the bullet hit its target.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.


Officials said he only stopped after the victim shot him in the neck.

“I shot him again while I was sitting in the car and then he starts running and I got out and shot him again because I thought he was going to come back towards me and kill me,” the victim said.

Go Read The Whole Thing™. In their video report (unfortunately autoplay) they have the audio of the frazzled, emotional woman telling her story.

She fired five shots, got two solid hits. Unfortunately that was not enough, as her assailant, total waste of sperm and egg that he is, still has a carbon footprint.

Even in Louisville, Kentucky, the courts value the lives of criminals higher than those of victims, so Ganobick, a career criminal and drug addict, was enabled to commit this crime by being out on probation. (If they’d implemented 10-20-life, he’d be getting out no sooner than 2024, and possibly never).

They euthanize dogs for less. Every day.

The victim’s course of action here might not have been optimal. Purse carry, which is where her pistol was, is never the best choice, except when compared with not having the pistol in the first place.

Parking garages are a favorite hunting ground of predators. There are many ways in and out, half the users are confused by the garage layout to begin with, and it’s easy to catch people in moments of transitional inattention. The exact time in the garage when you’re nose down looking for your keys (or searching for the parking space you didn’t write down on the parking receipt) is the time you’re most at risk. Maintain situational awareness.

Had this woman not already been alarmed by the creepy criminal, even prior to him attacking, she might not have been alert enough to defend herself. Criminals are counting on this, and they will pass up a victim who looks alert.

The woman’s picture is fuzzed out but you can see in the elevator image that she’s much smaller than the scrawny Ganobick. Even unarmed, he could probably have overpowered her, but being a criminal he didn’t leave that to chance, but added a rusty (or is it bloody?) chef’s knife to his side of the scale.

But he forgot the basics, as recounted in the Book of Gunesis: God created all men and women, but Sam Colt — and Pietro Beretta — created ’em equal.

“I’m not dying today. Not today…. It’s not my time yet”

When this happens in movies, we don’t believe it. You know the deal: in a gunfight with masked mopes, the off-duty cop fires right down the barrel of the bad guy’s pistol, hopelessly jamming the breech.

Well, it really happened, this January, and here’s proof, from the Jefferson County (Colorado) Sheriff’s Office:


That’s a .40 XDM with a face full of .45, self-swaged in the .40 barrel.

Here’s a video with some more details:

“I’m not dying today. Not today. Another day, maybe. It’s not my time yet,” is what Jeffco SO Deputy José Marquez told himself when the gunfight kicked off with two masked and hooded thugs attacking him. Did they want to kill him? Kill his girlfriend and her kids? Rob them?

What they wanted didn’t really matter. It was live or die for Marquez. Fortunately, according to the official report by the DA, he had a good background:

Deputy Marquez stated … is a Deputy Sheriff with Jefferson County Civil Unit. He has been a Deputy with JCSO for almost 11 years (hired 4-18-2005). Prior to JCSO, he was a Summit County Sheriff Office Deputy for almost 10 years, and a Frisco Police Department Officer for almost one year. He was on the SWAT Team while with SCSO, and received specialized training via the Denver Police Department SWAT School. He last served on SWAT in 2001. Prior to his law enforcement career, he served eight years in the United States Army Reserve as a Combat Engineer and Supply Sergeant. He is right-handed, but can shoot from both sides, with both hands.

Go, Army. Beat Gangland.

Deputy Marquez…

…arrived at Ms. R.’s at about 5:45p.m. Some daylight remained when he arrived. He was armed with his duty weapon, a silver and black XDM .45 ACP. He has owned that handgun for three or four years, and has qualified with it. He had no other guns on his person. He carried his pistol in an open-top manufacturer’s holster, on his right side. His pistol was fully loaded, with thirteen rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber. His ammunition was duty-issued hollow-point ammunition. He had an extra magazine in his car, but did not have it on his person, as he “wasn’t ready for a fight.” His pistol was concealed under his jacket. He had no visible Police badge, as his badge was in his wallet. Deputy Marques said that he is farsighted, and wears Oakley Crosslink vision glasses. He was wearing them during this incident.

So it wound up being XDM versus XDM in this case.

Then he saw two guys, and something was off about them.

The first male was wearing something over his face – either a mask, bandana, or part of his hoodie. The male already had his face covered when Deputy Marquez first saw him. The first male said, “Hello brother,” as he approached Deputy Marquez. He was about 20-25 feet away from his car when the first male said, “Hello brother.” Deputy Marquez had not yet made it to the sidewalk on the west side of the parking lot. He could only see the eyes and nose of the male. He could not see the male’s mouth or jaw. Deputy Marquez said: “Right away I knew something was up, cause he had a, a, a facemask.”

Deputy Marquez described the first male as follows: About 17-21 years old, 5’7”-5’9”, 155 pounds, wearing all dark clothing. Deputy Marquez knew he was a male as he could see around the eyes, and from the top lip to the nose on the male’s face, but could not comment on the tone of the male’s skin. He described the second male as follows: About 17-21 years old, same height and weight as the first male, wearing all dark clothing, possibly blue jeans. Deputy Marquez believed this male was also wearing a mask, but could not be sure, as he was focused on the first male. The second male was about 12 inches to the left of the first male, as they both approached from the south. This second male never said anything to Deputy Marquez.

The DA’s office is a bit hinky about identifying suspects by race (indeed, they seem to scrub it even from witness descriptions) but with this case they appear to have a reason, in that Marquez did not know who was coming to kill him. In a later interview, he remembered that his assailants were black.

Deputy Marquez described the suspects as two African-American males, between 16 and 20, wearing dark clothing, including hoodies.

Back to the developing situation….

No one else was outside during this incident, besides the two males. As they passed each other, Deputy Marquez said that the first male “turned on me” and said, “Give it up.” At that time he knew something “bad” was about to happen, and he thought, “Oh shit, we’re getting into a shootout,” and he turned to face the first male. He took the phrase, “Give it up” to mean, “He’s trying to kill me.” Asked if he thought it could mean he was about to get robbed, Deputy Marquez said that was possible, but he had no idea at that point, because, “At that point, I’m fighting for my life.”

Bear in mind, that, as we have seen in many shooting videos, Deputy Jose Marquez is describing in minutes actions and impressions that passed in bare seconds.

The first male then pulled out a black handgun and racked the slide as if to chamber a round or press-check the gun. That was the first time he saw a gun in the first male’s hands. Deputy Marquez again thought, “Oh shit. We’re going to fight.” When the first male said, “Give it up,” Deputy Marquez began to draw his weapon. As he did so, the first male fired a round at him, striking Deputy Marquez in either the right shoulder or the abdomen – he could not remember where he was first hit. He said that he saw the muzzle flash from the gun. He said: “At this point I told myself, ‘Shit, I’m going to die’.” He was in fear for his life. However, despite being hit, he could still lift his hand to fire. He said to himself, “I’m not dying today. Not today. Any other day, maybe. It’s not my time yet.” He also thought, “Fuck you, and you’re not taking me down.” He also told himself, “You’re the bad guy. I’m the good guy.”

Getting beaten to the first shot is bad, but it did make the DA’s job of investigating your shooting easier. But Marquez was late to the gunfight, already wounded, and he still had to survive. Fortunately he came up with a warrior attitude when he needed it: “I’m not dying today. Not today. ….Fuck you, and you’re not taking me down.”

Deputy Marquez said that he drew his weapon and started shooting. He believed he fired two rounds. He was standing in place, in a shooter’s stance, as he was firing. He fired in a northeast direction. The first male continued firing, hitting Deputy Marquez in the shoulder, and left and right sides of his abdomen. (He also suffered a broken rib on the right side, but was unclear if that was a result of a gunshot or not.)

Deputy Marquez said: “He kept shooting at me, like he was going to kill me.” The first male “shot about four rounds toward me.” The first male was standing still as he fired. The first male fired in a west or northwest direction. Deputy Marquez and the males were about 25 feet apart when they were shooting at each other. He thought he hit one of the males (unknown which one) in the leg. Asked how he knew that, he said his friend of 20 years, David Lynes, a Cherry Hills Village Police Department Officer, told him that after the fact. Deputy Marquez felt, in his mind, that he hit one of the suspects, but was not sure where, and did not see either male flinch as if they had been hit.

Tough shootout, and by some measures, Marquez lost the gunfight. But he did well enough to survive, and he thwarted his assailants’ objective, whether it was to rob him or (as seems more likely) to murder him.

Deputy Marquez fell to the ground, and put his hand on his wounds, but resolved that it was not a good day to die. Some civilians came to him, including an African-American female who said, “I saw them shoot you.”

She was probably the witness identified as E.G. in the report. The witnesses are not identified by full names due to the circumstances of the shooting, and the fact that one of the shooters remains at large. (More on the investigation in a moment).

Deputy Marquez confirmed that he was not robbed, and they did not take anything from him. Asked if at any time he told the suspects he was a Police Officer, Deputy Marquez said, “No, I didn’t have time to even announce myself. At, at that point I’m just fighting for my life.”

So why would anybody want to kill him?

He has received no threats from anyone, and has had no recent issues with anyone, personally or professionally, that might be linked to this shooting. He had no road rage incidents, and had never seen the two males before. Personally, Ms. R. has been having problems with her ex-husband, David R., who sent her a suspicious package recently, but Deputy Marquez had no evidence that was linked to this shooting. And professionally, the only possible JCSO-related party he could think of that might have something against him was a suspect named Antonio Garcia who went to prison on March 28, 2015 for a stolen gun, but Garcia was still in prison to his knowledge. Deputy Marquez believed the incident could have been a robbery, or “it could be a hit,” but again had no evidence to support it being a hit.

On a later interview, Deputy Marquez remembered more:

Deputy Marquez said the male who did the talking is the male who shot first, and he saw two different muzzle flashes coming from two different guns. Deputy Marquez said only one person did the talking. Deputy Marquez said he could only guess in reference to the shots fired. Deputy Marquez believed that they had shot four (4) times and when they ran away they shot four (4) more times as they ran off east. Deputy Marquez said he thought he had only shot two (2) times, and when the males ran off they were shooting at him not aiming. Deputy Marquez then collapsed but did not lose consciousness.

Deputy Marquez said that one male was on the left and the other on the right approximately twelve (12’) inches apart from each other. Deputy Marquez was concentrating on the muzzle flashes, right then left, left then right, and described the shooting as an exchange between all three of them.

The Guns Involved

Both of the would-be hitmen carried .40 pistols, and Marquez a Springfield XDM in .45. Marquez:

The Cop’s Gun

He was armed with his duty weapon, a silver and black XDM .45 ACP. He has owned that handgun for three or four years, and has qualified with it.

…Deputy Marquez had gunshot wounds to his stomach and shoulder. Deputy Marquez’s gun was lying on the pavement. Mr. C. described how some of the gunshots sounded “different”, and thinks Deputy Marquez got off two shots because he carries a ‘big” pistol.

Prior to the interview a bullet count was conducted on the gun that Deputy Marquez fired on the 26th of January 2016. The gun had been in Aurora Police Department Crime Laboratory in a secured locker.

The firearm was identified as a Springfield Armory, XDM serial number of MG505244. The bullet count confirmed a total of 10 rounds remaining in the firearm, 9 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. The firearm has a capacity of 14, 13 +1. The ammunition was identified as Speer 45 auto, and was issued to Deputy Marquez by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Marquez confirmed this was the only gun he had on his person the 26th of January 2016, and the only gun he fired that night.

Found at the Crime Scene

APD Officer Nicholas Muldoon arrived on the South Laredo scene and contacted a witness identified as R.W. Mr. W was parked in a van on South Laredo Street. Mr. W said that he arrived shortly before the police and observed a male walk away from the car– Chevrolet Equinox–parked in front of his van. The male who walked away from the van was later identified as Jahlil Meshesha.

APD Officer Ken Forrest conducted a general search of the area and located two black gloves and a .40 caliber XDM Springfield handgun in the backyard of a nearby house. Officer Forrest observed one glove was in a juniper tree and the other was on the ground below. A short distance away, Officer Forrest located the handgun. Officer Forrest contacted the homeowner, who was identified as S.G. Mr. G. allowed Officer Forrest to check his back yard. Mr. G confirmed he had no knowledge of the pistol or glove in his backyard.

On the front passenger seat of the Chevrolet Equinox in plain view, Officer Forrest also observed a dark colored facial mask, described as consistent with being used to cover the lower face.

APD collected firearms related evidence from the scene. APD collected 12 expended .40 caliber shell casings, in two groups fairly close together. They also collected one fired bullet. They also collected four .45 caliber shell casings, which was the caliber of Deputy Marquez’s gun.

As previously stated, APD also recovered a .40 caliber Springfield Armory handgun associated with Jahlil Meshesha. Per APD firearms analyst Alan Hammond, this gun was a match for three of the .40 caliber shell casings found at the scene. Police also recovered a .45 projectile from Meshesha’s clothing, specifically his pants, which was a match for Deputy Marquez’s gun.

Meshesha’s Gun

The weapon associated with Meshesha was examined. Of note, it was determined that one of the shots that Deputy Marquez fired from his .45 caliber handgun actually hit Meshesha’s .40 caliber handgun and traveled down the barrel, colliding with a cartridge that was in the chamber of the gun. Detective Ingui described this as a “one in a billion thing” in a personal conversation with the undersigned. This collision rendered the .40 caliber pistol temporarily inoperable. Thus, we can conclude that Meshesha fired three shots before this happened, based on the shell casings found at the scene, and that he was pointing his gun at Deputy Marquez when Deputy Marquez fired the shot that hit the gun, otherwise the shot from Deputy Marquez would not have gone down the barrel. Here is a photograph showing the results of this collision.


Unfortunately we don’t have Meshesha’s side of the story.

Jahlil Meshesha invoked his Miranda rights and did not make a statement.

A healthy society would have hanged him already.

The 26 January shooting is back in the news because the investigation is over and they wanted to announce to the public that Marquez is not going to face ay criminal charges. (Well, duh). His assailant went to hospital, then to jail.

He does have a long road to recovery ahead. As for the injuries to the assailant Jahlil Meshesha, all we can do is quote Marquez: F him.


The Denver Post:

Apologies for not posting the link to the DA’s report:

Lessons from a Home Defense Incident

Here we’ll tell the story of a home defense incident with two videos. It happened well over a year ago so it’s old hat to some of you.

The first is graphic, especially in its soundtrack. It is most emphatically not fake, but represents a real home invasion by a disturbed individual, Twain Thomas, into the apartment of James Cvengros and Kaila Gearhart in Pocatello, Idaho.

The attacker here and his weasel attorney tried to claim that the attacker is a veteran with PTSD to get him off; he may or may not be a veteran, but their claim was that he has PTSD from being in a car accident.

Hey, why doesn’t he have PTSD from having the $#!+ shot out of him by one of his intended murder victims? For some reason, the mouthpiece didn’t want to phrase it that way.

Actually he seems to have had DNKS — Dude Needs Killing Syndrome. Unfortunately he did survive his wounds and continues to recover in the Idaho state prison system, at taxpayer expense.

When he pled guilty, the local newspaper reported:

Cvengros had a camera rolling to document the commotion after seeing glass flying from the upstairs apartment onto the cars parked below. He said once he heard unusually concerning noises coming from the apartment upstairs, he started documenting the commotion using his digital camera, not realizing that camera would soon serve as a witness to what was about to take place in his apartment.

The video was played during Thursday’s sentencing, and in it, Thomas kicks in the door, and both Gearhart and Cvengros yell at Thomas to leave, warning him he needs to get out. After Thomas was shot, Cvengros tells Thomas he already called the police, and Thomas confirmed he was trying to kill Cvengros.

The second video is a news video, from the Idaho State Journal. It intercuts the attack video seen above with an interview of the local sheriff.

Are there lessons to take away from this? You betcha.

Lesson 1: If You Know the Law, a Camera is Your Friend

That’s true whether you’re a cop on the beat — how many cops’ hineys have been saved from false accusations by body or dash cam video? — or a home defender like James Cvengros. Cvengros gave the video to the cops without looking at it, and gave his statement. The video backed him up 100%. The defense attorney had no chance to bang on the table and try to put the armed defender on trial, because you can’t lie when there’s video. (And that’s got to eliminate most of a lawyer’s bag of tricks).

Lesson 2: Make Trouble Come to You

Early in the video, Cvengros unlocks the door and looks out to see what’s going on, while Gearhart begs him to come back. He does, and they’re safely inside their apartment… “safely” until Thomas cuts through the door like butter.

It’s always a bad idea to go hunting trouble. If you’ve got your precious family members with you, hunker down on the defensive. Cops get paid (not enough, perhaps!) to chase these guys; don’t go doing their work for free, the union takes a dim view. Plus, you can really get hurt. A machete like Thomas had is not a weapon to dismiss.

Don’t seek trouble. Especially if it doesn’t directly threaten you and yours: let the cops handle it. But don’t be paralyzed if trouble does come for you and yours.

Lesson 3: Sometimes There Is No Retreat

You can run and you can hide, but the attacker has a vote, too. Sometimes you just have to beat him resoundingly enough that he knows he’s beat.

Lesson 4: Locks Keep Honest People Out

A lock is part of protecting yourself, but it’s not really protecting yourself, as Thomas, in full slasher-movie character, illustrates:

Twain Thomas macheteThat lock really impeded him, not.

Thomas came right through the door. And it wasn’t his first time doing it. The residents of the apartment, Cvengros and Gearhart, had researched guns after Thomas broke down their apartment’s flimsy door the first time. Cvengros told The Blaze that he bought a 9mm — an inexpensive HiPoint — because the police and military often use that caliber. Gearhart bought a .22. (Since the attack, they’ve upgraded their guns and sought more training).

Locks serve a symbolic and deterrent role, and having your assailant come stalking through a locked door, like Freddie Freakin’ Krueger here, is a reminder to people who make prosecution decisions that the home defender was not the unreasoable one in this case. It’s also proof of the old infantry/engineer saying, “Obstacles are only efective when covered by fire.”

Lesson 5: You Really Don’t Want to Do This, Unless…

Unless you have to. Listen to the voice of Jim Cvengros both before and especially after he lights up Thomas. He really didn’t want to do this, but he had to, and he manned up and did what was necessary, even though he takes no pleasure in it (quite the contrary).

This is part of why avoidance is almost always better than having to go to the gun. But avoidance is not always possible. You can’t move to a gated community on workingman’s wages. (Lawyers and judges, the majority of whom can’t recall ever having spent a day in the mere middle class, have no understanding of this).

Lesson 6: Things Happen Fast, Make “Predecisions.”

A crummy apartment door helped, but the assailant comes through it remarkably fast.

It happens so fast, many people don’t see the machete unless they rewind the video. As you can see from the still above, the machete is sure as hell there.

People are used to seeing violence in the slow motion of TV and movies. Real world violence is unscripted, and far faster.

Speed and shock are typical in criminal and terrorist violence. They may not have had a day of infantry training but they understand speed, shock and violence of action; they understand the importance of initiating first, and of doing it with your hardest-hitting weapon.

As a defender, you cede the initiative to the enemy and can only respond to it. But you know many, many victims fell because they were overcome by confusion, indecision or paralysis in the seconds they had to react. It’s normal human behavior that’s adaptive for normal life, but maladaptive when under violent attack. How do you overcome that?

The same way the Army has always trained it out of troops: training, drill, repetition. But most of all, by deciding what you will do long before you need that decision. Pilots do the same thing: before takeoff, they brief what they will do if everything goes right, and what they’ll do if something goes wrong. They make the decision about how to handle, say, loss of the #2 engine while sitting waiting for takeoff clearance, not when they hear a bang and feel a yaw… they make and brief the decision about what to do if they get down to 200 feet and still can’t see the runway in the fog before they ever start to fly the approach. It is pretty clear from this video that James Cvengros decided he wasn’t going to go looking for trouble, but if trouble came looking for him he would try to stop it, first with words, then with deadly force.

Read about other uses of force — not just good, righteous shoots, but also borderline shoots that landed defenders in the dock. Decide what you would do in a situation like that, and figure out what defenders did right and what they did wrong. Could their actions be improved on? Think it through now, so you have a predecision (and ideally, an immediate action drill) that you can pull down and run without having to fully formulate it, while under existential stress.

Bonus Lesson: A Chief or Sheriff who Favors Self Defense is a Great Thing

Had this happened in Podunk, Massachusetts (a real place!) or in the blood-soaked Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, the defender might have been charged. In Pocatello, Stephen Herzog is quoted at length in that second video. “If you want to point one instance where having a firearm… prevented these people from being seriously injured or killed, it was this instance. … There’s no question that the homeowner [sic] acted lawfully….” “Having a firearm… was the perfect tool for the job that needed to be done.”

The video, the Chief stresses, was extremely helpful to the police in understanding what happened.

Where are they Now?

Thomas is in the Idaho state prison system for 10 years, maybe minus some for good behavior, if he can manage good behavior. He also has a restraining order forbidding him from contacting any of his victims until some time in the 2020s.

Cvengros and Gearhart stayed in their apartment, and upgraded their guns.


Gun Rights by State over Time

right_to_carryWhen Jeff Dege posted his online gun-law graphic, he noted:

Over the last 20 years, gun owners have made significant progress in having their right to carry firearms for their own defense.

You’ve all seen the NRA’s map, but it gives little sense of the progress we’ve made.

I’ve pulled together what information I could find, and combined it in an animated map, so we could see at a glance how things have changed from year to year.

Jeff continues to update that excellent map at his Radical Gun Nuttery! site, but we are always thinking of how to visualize data. We chose to poke the data into Excel, and show, year by year, the decline of the quantity of states with pro-criminal carry policies (marked in shades of red) and the rise of states with pro-self-defense policies (shades of green). We decided to go back 30 years, to 1986, because that’s where Jeff’s data starts. (At the end of this year, that will actually be 31 years because it will include both 1986 and 2016). We thought we’d start with the ten year splits:

Here’s 1986-1995.

carry 1986-1995

There are two important inflection points in that chart. The very first break, in 1987, is Florida moving from May Issue to Shall Issue. All kinds of mayhem were predicted, but didn’t occur. That set up the next round of states to go from May to Shall in 88-91, followed by a pause (in which no mayhem was observed) and a second increase in freedom from 1993-95. Interestingly enough, states that still retained Jim Crow era outright bans on concealed carry began to go directly to May Shall Issue at this point in time. The one lonely unrestricted-carry state down at the bottom of the chart is Vermont.

Our next decade of data spans from 1996 to 2005:

carry 1996-2005

The changes here are much less dramatic. The low-hanging fruit have already been plucked, and liberty activists really had to put their shoulders to the boulders to get things moving in this period. But it is notable that there’s no retrogression: the trendlines might not be as steep as the ones in the previous decade, but the trendlines are unrelentingly positive for peaceable gun carriers, and continue to decline for the restrictive policies preferred by statists and criminals.

The five year pause in legal changes from 1995-2000 or so allowed the several States to assess the consequences of these changes in their home states and in all the others that had changed firearms laws.

One change which seems very small, but is very significant indeed, takes place between 2002 and 2003. Vermont has always stood alone, since the two spates of legislation banning the carry of pistols 1 in allowing the practice without any kind of license or permit. Alaska was the first state to legislate permitless carry, in 2003.

Our third decade, 2006-2015:

carry 2006-2015

During this period, statewide carry bans zeroed out. May Issue lost one of its stalwarts when Iowa went Shall Issue in 2011, but the real growth is in Permitless or Constitutional Carry. The eight surviving May Issue jurisdictions cluster on opposite coasts, in highly urban states where there is a large intersection between the criminal and legislative sets (New York, California and Massachusetts all sent legislative leaders to prison during this period, or, to be technical, Federal law enforcement sent them to prison, because the state law enforcement agencies weren’t going to).

Why not combine them? Let’s include 2016, so far (some state legislatures are already wrapped up for the year):

carry 1986-2016

This makes the trends a little easier to see, but it’s still a kind of confusing chart. We make the following notes:

  1. For the first time since our 1986 data horizon, May Shall Issue declined, but it was because May Shall Issue states are increasingly adopting unrestricted Constitutional carry.
  2. No state has gone from Shall Issue to one of the two more restrictive categories in these 31 years.
  3. The only state that went from Ban to May Issue (Tennessee) proceeded to Shall Issue within 5 years.
  4. At least three states (Mississippi, Alaska and Arizona) went from outright ban to Permitless carry in two stages, first going Shall Issue.
  5. Most states have been Shall Issue for over two decades, during which crime, predicted by ban supporters to have risen, has steadily declined.
  6. No state imposed a new ban (in the period from 1986 to the Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald decisions making it actually unconstitutional).
  7. For the first time in 2016, more states require no pistol permit than restrict issue with an arbitrary may-issue policy.
  8. These changes have come about not by sweeping national legislation, but by three dozen or more individual legislative changes in the States. They’re grassroots-up, not billionaire-down.
  9. “Prediction is always hard, especially about the future”2 but the trendlines suggest that the next decade will see more Shall Issue states go Permitless (or really, for reciprocity reasons, Permit Optional). “Constitutional Carry” bills have come close to passing in several more states, and have actually passed and been vetoed by Democrat governors in at least two more. (Indeed, in West Virginia in 2016, the bill became  when a gubernatorial veto was overridden).
  10. The 8 states that cling to May Issue cling very firmly to this Jim Crow era policy. But that raises the possibility of a fall-of-Berlin-wall style preference cascade at some time in the future. Some of these states are highly populous; others are geographical choke points, and as more people in 42 free states carry, the laws of the 8 slave states (and especially, applying them to visitors and transitors) are seen increasingly as backward and unjust.

Here’s another way to visualize the same data, using a 100% stacked line chart, since we’re actually dealing with a zero-sum equation (how many of 50 states fall into each of four bins).

carry 1986-2016 3D

The solid red is gone, and the red tint is threatened. Ban states have gone from 16 to 0. The long-term (30+ year!) trendlines suggest that May Issue is unlikely to be in place anywhere 30 years from now, and that Permitless jurisdictions will be the majority.

We note that no state has seen an explosion of violence subsequent to gun law liberalization, and for the last 30-plus years, no state has regressed in the permit-terms axis, suggesting that no state has regretted the liberalization to date.


This post has been corrected. In three places, due to a writing error, we wrote “May” issue where we meant “Shall.” Per our usual style, these errors and corrections appear thusly now: error correction. Thanks to Mac in the comments for identifying these errors. regrets the errors.


  1. These two spates of legislation took place in the period approximately 1865-1880, in the spirit of racism to deny blacks their rights to self-defense, and in the period approximately 1890-1920, to deny those same rights to immigrants who were not from northwestern Europe (Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Poles, Jews etc.). The “May Issue” permit scheme’s great advantage, to its supporters, is that it allows racial, ethnic and political bias to limit a right to “people like us” however defined.
  2. Commonly attributed to baseball Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra.
  3. (General note, not a footnote). The graphics in this post are ©WeaponsMan, 2016, but they may be freely used without prior permission, so long as a credit and a link to this post is provided.
  4. (General note, not a footnote). Underlying data is from Jeff Dege, but our spreadsheet is available if people want it. We can think of a lot of useful data sets with which this can be combined, and we’re not going to do it all ourselves.

Arms of the Stormtroopers

No, we’re not talking about the combat lemmings in low-budget plastic suits in the Star Wars movies. We’re talking about the original item — the Stormtroopers of the German Empire in the Great War.

georg ehmig stosstrupp

We’re working our way through the excellent book Sturmtruppen by Spanish historian Ricardo Recio Carmona (translated to English by Gustavo Cano Muñoz and edited by Tyler Baldwin). This is a new book, published by Andrea Press in 2014, and it’s a richly illustrated and extensively documented survey of something every history buff thinks he knows.

Historical Background

The conventional story goes something like this:

After years of stalemate, the Germans developed Sturmtruppen in 1918, small, heavily armed detachments who operated independently and used stealth and infiltration tactics to surprise the enemy, and concentrated firepower to overwhelm him locally on contact.

And as remarkable as that development would be, it’s not exactly what happened. Carmona documents that, while Sturmtruppen had evolved to that level by 1918, to the point where even the Allies figured them out, they had been formed and deployed, if partly on an ad hoc basis, more or less continuously since 1914.

A fine point of German terminology is that Stosstruppen (Shock Troops) were strictly ad hoc, and temporary, but Sturmtruppen (Assault Troops) might equally be temporary “mobs for jobs” or permanent units. While assault troops might have been tasked to fight, they had a second, equally important role, which was to teach storm troops tactics to regular army formations.

Hptm. Willi Rohr

Hptm. Willi Rohr

The first such formal, permanent unit was probably Hauptmann Willi Martin Ernst Rohr, whose Sturmabteilung Rohr stood up in his Guards regiment in 1915. This was revolutionary in the German service, which entered the war committed, as its enemies and allies all were, to a line formation, whose only difference from the formations of Waterloo a century earlier was a little more open deployment, as a nod — an ineffectual nod — to the firepower of repeating rifles, machine guns and recoil-compensated quick-firing artillery.

Carmona notes that the characteristics of a Sturmtrupp operation, technically and tactically, included:

  1. Task organization, including assault and support elements;
  2. Selection of the men by the officer in charge;
  3. A rehearsal (or rehearsals) in a safe area configured to replicate the mission objective;
  4. Leaders’ reconnaissance to pinpoint infiltration points and routes;
  5. A precise schedule of execution with specific time hacks;
  6. Pre-arranged artillery and mortar support (not preparation);

In addition, surviving documents and memories make it plain that Sturm- and Stosstrupp leaders conducted very modern-seeming patrol inspections and troop-leading procedures that would not be out of place in a modern Army, and they began doing this from 1914. All the combatants were shocked by the terrifying effectiveness of modern 20th Century armaments, but the Germans did something about it. The French, British, and Russians just kept trying to logistically manage the battlefield in such a way that they’d deploy more human chests than the Germans could deploy bullets or artillery fragments.

Armaments of the Stormtroopers

The term Sturmtrupp was first used in connection with flamethrower detachments in 1914, and that offensive spirit was thought to reside in such units as well as in the new technical elite of tank operators, and the ancient light infantry of southern Germany, the Mountain Troops.

But most Sturm- u. Stosstruppen were armed with infantry weapons — just more of them. The principal weapon became the hand-grenade, a weapon that in 1914 was only in engineers’ inventory, not infantry. Period photos of a Sturm- u. Stosstruppler always show him well-endowed with ‘nades.

German Stosstrupp 3

German hand grenades came in offensive (blast only, no fragments, for use by troops in the open) and defensive (fragmentation, for use by troops under cover) varieties. The reason for taking cover when throwing a frag grenade is that it can produce casualties beyond its typical throwing range! Beyond that distinction, German ‘nades were produced in four broad types and many specific models. The types were ball grenades, disc grenades, egg grenades, and stick grenades.

German Stosstrupp

The ball grenade M1913 was the only grenade produced at the beginning of the war, and was produced originally only for sappers. It was a serrated iron-cased fragmentation grenade in the style of many other nations’ grenades, except that it was truly spherical, not at all ellipsoid. It had a pull wire on its fuze on top, which started a 5-7 second delay. (A second prewar version with a clockwork fuze was not produced after the war started). It would be redesigned during the war, to simplify manufacturing, but the replacements were called both M1913 Neuer Art (“new type”) and M1915.

This collection of Great War grenades came from a collector forum. German grenades in it include: 3. German M1915 Kugel grenade fragments 4. German M1915 Discushandgranate 5. German M1915 Kugel grenade, friction fuse 6. German m1913 Kugel grenade, friction fuse 7. Mauser T-Geweher round 8. German flechette 9. German Eier grenade with transit plug 10. German Eier grenade with standard friction fuse 11. German Eier grenade with friction fuse 12. German Eier grenade with M1917 friction fuse 13. German Stielhandgranate M1917 14. German Stielhandgranate M1916 15. German 1914 rifle grenade with transit plug

This collection of Great War grenades came from a collector forum. German grenades in it (all left of the center of the image) include:
3. German M1915 Kugel grenade fragments
4. German M1915 Discushandgranate
5. German M1915 Kugel grenade, friction fuse
6. German m1913 Kugel grenade, friction fuse
7. Mauser T-Geweher round
8. German flechette
9. German Eier grenade with transit plug
10. German Eier grenade with standard friction fuse
11. German Eier grenade with friction fuse
12. German Eier grenade with M1917 friction fuse
13. German Stielhandgranate M1917
14. German Stielhandgranate M1916
15. German 1914 rifle grenade with transit plug

The disc grenade was uniquely Imperial German and was fuzed to detonate on impact with the ground. It came in three different models: a sheet steel offensive grenade of 100-110 mm diameter; a cast iron defensive grenade of 80 mm diameter; and a catapult-launched Schleuder-Diskushandgranate that could be launched further.

The egg grenade was a latecomer, introduced in 1917. In continuously improved versions, it would remain in German service to 1945, but at the time it was a simple attempt to make a grenade that cost less and used fewer resources than the stick grenade. It had a time fuze and 32 grams of black powder.

The stick grenade, called by English-speaking troops the German “potato masher” from its resemblance to the household implement, is the grenade most people today associate with Germans, although many nations used stick grenades. Most stick grenades were offensive grenades with 200+ grams of explosive inside a thin sheet cover. The original M1915 had a time fuze initiated by pulling a wooden knob that formed the base of the stick. Apparently due to accidents, this was replaced by a pull cord that was protected by a screw-off protective cap in the M1916 and M1917 models. At some point, these grenades were available with impact as well as time fuzes.

Center, upper: Stielhandgranate 15. Center, lower: SHG 17 (pull cord extended). The grenade on the right is Austrian.

Center, upper: Stielhandgranate 15. Center, lower: SHG 17 (pull cord extended). The grenade on the right is Austrian.

In addition to these factory grenades, Sturmtruppen had a variety of improvised and field-expedient grenades, often made right behind the front in engineers’ workshops, especially in the 1914-15 period. Grenades were also combined into a Geballte Ladung with six extra heads, detonated sympathetically, arrayed around the one on the stick, or made into a Gestreckte Ladung by placing grenade heads at about 10-15 cm apart along a wooden lath or stick. (This seems to be intended to be an improvised Bangalore torpedo).

German Stosstrupp 4

Sturmtruppen carried lots of grenades, and the number rose as the war continued. A trooper might have felt well-armed with two or three grenades in 1915, but by 1917 he would want saddle-bags around his shoulders with three or four stick grenades on each side, and a few egg grenades in his pocket as backup. Some troopers were designated grenade-throwers, and they might have an assistant who carried a whole pack of ‘nades.

Firearms carried tended to be Mauser 98 carbines and numerous pistols. By 1918, the Sturmtrupp table of organization and equipment specified the new MP 18/1 submachine gun for all officers and NCOs and 10% of troops, but the firearm was never produced in such quantity.

And, of course, machine guns and mortars were used from the German trenches in support of Sturmtrupp attacks.


Jünger mid-war. He went on to be one of only 11 company commanders among the 700 recipients of the Pour le Mèrite, and to survive the war and become an important literary and philosophical figure in Germany.

Carmona quote a German officer, Ernst Jünger, on his armaments before leading a Stosstrupp (edited for clarity):

… across my chest, two sandbags, each containing four stick grenades, impact fuses on the left, delay on the right; in my right tunic pocket, a Pistol 08 [Luger] on a long cord; in my right trouser pocket, a little Mauser pistol; in my left tunic pocket, five egg grenades; in my left trouser pocket, luminous compass and whistle; in my belt, spring hooks for pulling out the pins, plus knife and wire cutters.

He was prepared for all eventualities, with his home address in a wallet in one pocket, and a flask of cherry brandy in another, and his Trupp removed unit identifying insignia from their uniforms and went “sterile.”

Grenades are one of those unglamorous weapons that gets short shrift between the wars, only to come into great demand “when the guns begin to shoot.”

Sturmtruppen is a well-researched and documented look at the German tactical revolution of WWI and will get you thinking about the profound impact these tactics have had on warfare today.

It’s made us want to read Carmona’s thesis which was on the quartermaster service of the Blue Division, Franco’s volunteers with the Germans on the Eastern Front, even if we have to read it en español. And it’s also made us want to read Jünger’s Storm of Steel, which has been translated into English.


Carmona, Ricardo Recio. Sturmtruppen: WWI German Stormtroopers (1914-1918). Madrid, 2014: Andrea Press

Jünger, Ernst. Im Stahlgewittern. Berlin, 1920: E.S. Mittler und Sohn. Available online at:

Numerous other Jünger works are available at

Safety: This is Doing it Wrong

Victim James Baker

Victim James Baker

The first report was dry and brief, but was enough to let anyone know that something had come unglued seriously:

Officials say a man has been fatally shot in an apparent accident during a concealed carry class at a gun shop in Ohio.

The Clermont County sheriff says the unidentified man was shot in the neck around 1 p.m. Saturday and died at the scene. There were about 10 people in the concealed carry class when the shooting occurred at KayJay Gun Shop in Amelia, about 20 miles east of Cincinnati.

According to the gun shop’s website, the class taught basic pistol safety, gave attendees range time and reviewed Ohio’s gun laws.

via Man fatally shot in accident during class at Ohio gun shop.

The first story neither identified the victim, nor explained anything about how this happened. More detail was soon available on Fox 19:

The owner of a gun shop was accidentally shot and killed during a concealed carry class in Amelia, the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office confirms.

Crews responded to the the Kay Jay Gun Shop on Lindale-Mt. Holly Rd. around 1 p.m. on Saturday for reports of a shooting.

Clermont County Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg said James E. Baker, 64, was shot in the neck after a class participant discharged a handgun while practicing weapon malfunction drills, striking Baker who was sitting in an adjacent room.

Investigators said efforts to resuscitate Baker were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Something went seriously wrong in that class.

If the Four Rules (or however many are in your version) had been followed assiduously, nobody gets shot. A firearm has zero tolerance for inattention to detail.


An updated story described neighbors’ and friends’ feelings of loss (warning, autoplay video with loud ad. The mute button is your friend):

Baker’s gun shop offers a long list of training courses to teach people to use guns like rifles and pistols the correct way.

Now, many in this tight-knit community say they are devastated knowing he won’t be here to do that anymore.

“He’s just a great guy, I mean, I can’t believe it happened, it’s hard to believe, just a really good guy,” Fritz said. “I’m going to miss him because he was a good neighbor.”

We also talked with a man who lives just a few houses down from where it happened.

He told us Baker gave him his very first job, calling him a great boss and friend.

Investigators aren’t saying what type of gun was used or if any charges will be filed.

Update 2

(Warning, autoplay video again). The Investigation continues, with more details trickling out.

In a media release, the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office said, “Investigators discovered that a class participant discharged a handgun while practicing weapon malfunction drills, striking Baker who was sitting in an adjacent room. Efforts to resuscitate Baker were unsuccessful and Baker was pronounced at 3:12 p.m.”

Baker regularly conducted gun training sessions.

A friend and fellow Vietnam-era veteran took a session a couple years back and said Baker was careful and experienced.

“When I took the class, nobody had a loaded weapon,” said Dennis Cooper. “I mean, you could bring your own weapon, but it had to be cleared.”

A friend at a nearby gun shop didn’t want to be identified, but said Baker had close law enforcement connections and helped to build area SWAT units.

He seemed stunned at how this went down.

Immediately after it happened, a 911 caller told the dispatcher, “We were doing malfunction misfires and we have plastic bullets and we just, I just, we just double checked the bullets and there was a live round in one of the guns and it went through the wall and shot the owner in the neck.”

Those who knew Baker feel the loss deeply.

A father and his young son placed a potted flower at the property gate Monday.

We’re told Baker was a Marine sniper in Vietnam about 45 years ago and let police in the area use his target range to recertify as they must do each year.

We wonder why they were doing malfunction misfire drills during a basic CCW class.