Hillary Clinton's run for the White House scares me.
I know I'm not alone in making that statement. But I suspect that most of the people who make that statement don't make it for the same reason I do.
Most anti-Hillary voters "hate" Hillary at a visceral level. They haven't really looked all that hard at her, but they've read enough about Benghazi and the email scandal to have a vague idea that she did some really bad things, and that's enough for them. On the basis of this limited information, they will vote for ABC (Anyone But Clinton). Okay, I can get behind that. Because not everyone has the reading ability to sift through hundreds of pages of confusing information, or the critical intelligence to reach the logical conclusions there. And the plain truth as I see it is that, yes, she did commit felonies in both of those scandals, so I basically agree with these folks, even though I consider them low-information voters.
And by the way, if you read the article I posted, you will see that the two scandals are unquestionably related. If you haven't read the article I linked on the Tactical Anatomy Facebook page this morning (May 22, 2016), you should. It will explain the connection, and the felonious acts underlying both scandals, in crystal clear prose. The only catch is that you will have to spend at least an hour reading it, and longer than that if you look up the author's reference articles.
But that's not why Hillary Clinton scares me.
Hillary scares me because she has told the American public that she intends to destroy the Constitution.
Ten years ago, I would have been laughed off the internet for making that statement. Even staunch Republicans would dismiss me as a kook. We all thought the Constitution was sacred, unassailable. But in 2016, after nearly 8 years of watching Barack Obama run roughshod over American law with complete disregard for Constitutional restraints, and 8 years of watching the Watchdogs let him get away with it, I don't think anyone who reads this blog would dismiss my fear of Hillary as ridiiculous. Barack Obama has gotten away with his outrageous and illegal Constitution-violating behavior for nearly 8 years simply because he is a black man. And in post-modern America, nobody can criticize a black man for fear of being labelled a "racist".
The "racist" label has incredible negative impact in our day, in which the debate on every public issue is dominated by sound bites and Twitter "tweets". Substantive discussion of issues is rare, and even when it does occur, the venue and rules of debate are controlled by the mainstream media (MSM). The MSM has transmogrified in the last 30 years from an instrument delivering information to a conglomerate owned by large for-profit corporations that deliver a product best described as "infotainment". A little information, delivered in a highly entertaining format. As such, there has been no real criticism in the MSM of serious issues affecting the fabric of American society and the Law is largely dismissed as an unnecessary burden, except when it favors one's own side of an issue.
So we now have a nation where black men can call upon other black men to murder cops, and they can do so without any fear of prosecution. Because the Obama administration refuses to prosecute them for uttering deadly threats, they continue to do so. We are told that a black man can't be a racist, and can't be prosecuted for uttering hate speech, simply because he is black. Only white, hispanic, or asian people can be so prosecuted. Same thing for Muslims, and for "transgenders" (a term that has almost no meaning in medical or any other credible discipline's terminology.)
Whether you have identified this as a violation of the Constitution yet or not, you must come to do so. These precedents violate the principle that all people are equal before the law. The idea that a black man can say he hates all white people and they all should be killed is protected under Obama's administration, but a white man saying the same thing about black people is likely to be prosecuted as hate speech by the same administration. The attorney general of the United States can say for the record that she will prosecute non-Muslims for stating facts about Islam and Muslims as hate speech, and not be held accountable for this anti-Constitutional dictum by the MSM. In point of fact, the current administration is shredding the Constitution on a daily basis, and nobody is fighting them! Not the MSM, not Congress, NOBODY!
We can all see the damage this attitude has done to our society in the past couple of years. But it will get much worse if Hillary Clinton is elected president. Because Hillary has made it clear she will use this same specious argument--i.e., that an oppressed person can say and do things without consequence that a non-oppressed person cannot--to apply to women against men.
Men, and particularly white men, have been under an organized and pervasive negative publicity campaign since the rise of radical feminism in the 1970's. This is only going to get worse under a Hillary Clinton administration. Hillary has railed against an alleged "war on women", implying that American men have been systematically destroying women for a long time. She has vowed to correct that. We have to ask ourselves how she might do that.
Well, it seems pretty obvious to me that she can and will do so by following the Obama model: by issuing executive orders that violate the Constitutional rights of men in favor of women.
Not that men have much protection left as it stands today anyway... but you can count on those few protections being sliced to ribbons in a few short years under Hillary. Men today are held as guilty until proven innocent if any accusation of sexual misconduct is levelled against them. You don't have to look far to find ample evidence of this. Start with Tawana Brawley and work your way down to the noxious University of Virginia-Rolling Stone rape fabrication. Why women bring false allegations in the first place is a bizarre and disturbing investigation to begin with. Sometimes there are issues of secondary gain: a woman tells a man who has something she wants that unless he gives it to her, she is going to "cry rape". This works often enough that a lot of women consider this a realistic way of getting their way, whether it's custody of their children in a divorce, or a raise in salary at work, or some other dishonest of advancing their position in life. In other cases, it has little rational basis: such as Tawana Brawley's case, where she faked her rape to get out of being punished by her parents for breaking curfew. The closer you look, the uglier it gets.
What makes it worse is that these increasingly common fake complaints makes it harder for women who have actually suffered sexual assaults to be taken seriously. Let's be honest, everyone in America is aware that a lot of women have lied about sexual assault for reasons of personal gain. But the so-called campus rape crisis--which is, in my opinion, a serious problem if not an actual crisis--is proving to be much harder to address than it should be because of the persistent perception that a lot of women lie about sexual assault for personal gain.
The list of men whose lives have been uprooted, trashed, and destroyed by false allegations of sexual misconduct in the media is staggering... and all of these occurred even with the protections of the Constitution in place. The women who bring these false accusations receive little or no punishment for the damage they have done to the men they have falsely accused. But it's going to get worse.
Under a Hillary Clinton administration, I think it will be safe to assume that women will be even more encouraged to bring false accusations than they are presently, the same way black Americans have been encouraged under the Obama administration to commit and incite crime. Look at the people she has surrounded herself with so far: a veritable feminist dream team of far-left feminists. You think these people are going to fight for a fair and balanced approach to dealing with relations between the sexes?
Hillary has vowed in public to repeal, remove, or otherwise gut the Second Amendment of our Constitution. There is no reason to doubt that she will try. It's a major plank in her election platform. After watching Obama get away with flagrantly flouting the Constitution because he is black and nobody criticizes him for fear of being labelled "racist", it is reasonable to expect that Hillary will get away with the same behavior because she is a woman and nobody will criticize her policies for fear of being labelled "sexist". The last 8 years have showed us that this is clearly possible. Hillary and her supporters could well get away with abolishing American's right to keep and bear arms. She could accomplish it easily by playing the sexist card, and the checks and balances that should curtail her lawless actions will roll over and play dea.
If Hillary succeeds in destroying the Second Amendment, what's to stop her from repealing, removing, or gutting any other one of the Bill of RIghts? The First Amendment is clearly under attack; free speech is limited if it's deemed "hate speech", and nowadays even if it offends someone. Given her statements and track record so far, what's to say that she doesn't repeal the 1st, 2nd, and 4th, and then add new Amendments giving women (or Muslims, or blacks, or any other group she is being paid by) rights that do not apply to anyone else? It seems to be her goal to do so.
A Hillary Clinton presidency could very well lead to the swift and terrible demise of the American republic and our cherished rule of equality under the law.
And that's why Hillary scares me.
A couple of months ago I found this little meme on Facebook, copied it, and set it aside. I stumbled across it yesterday, and on the spur of the moment I plastered it up on the TAS Facebook page, and then went out to do some Real Life. You know, that thing you do when you go outside, and shoot Real Guns? Yeah. I did that. Twice.
So imagine my surprise when I checked in on the TAS FB page and found that my throwaway post from yesterday is the most widely viewed/shared FB post I've ever put up, and it's still climbing. I guess that's what you call viral? Dunno. I'm a real-life guy more than cyber-guy.
Pretty funny, right? I thought so too. And I really like the actor, Sean Bean (is that pronounced "SEEN BEEN", or "SHAWN BAWN"? Ahem. Sorry. Just kidding.) The guy's a great actor, even though he played the wannabe ex-SAS stolen valor guy in everybody's favorite merc movie, Ronin.
But I have to admit a couple of things here.
First thing, I have been buying/trading a lot more guns lately than I usually do, and what with one thing and another (mostly that Real Life shit getting in the way of having fun, i.e., having to work to pay bills) I haven't been getting to the range much at all for the past 6 months. Ugh. I hate to admit it. But it's true. Yesterday and today were the first times I did any kind of workout with my daily carry pistols since last summer, before I went to Africa to shoot Cape Buffalo and such.
But I rectified that. I went back and did one of my basic 250-round pistol routines, which includes strong hand only, weak hand only, simulated barricade shooting, and freestyle (2-hand isosceles) shooting at 4, 7, 10, 15, and 25 yards. I hate shooting at 25 yards, just in case you wondered if you were the only one. But it's good for you. Sort of like doing your 3X weekly gym routine. Which most of us hardly ever do, but we say it like we really DO do it, to make other people feel guilty. Anyways, I shot some at 25 yards. I did a 250 round workout with my daily carry pistola, and then did a 50-round BUG routine with my S&W J-frame. Finished up with a couple of Bill Drills, then a slow-fire sequence on target heads at 15 yards to finish up with some good marksmanship, as my old mentor Bob Houzenga used to teach us to do.
Second thing, I did some rifle work. Not AR-15 or M4 or other tacticool shit. I did some basic work with a couple of real rifles, a pair of Savage 99's: one in 308 Win and the other in 358 Win. Worked some from the bench, then some from a barricade position, and then some from prone. Just FYI, shooting a steel-buttplate 358 Winchester prone is not comfortable. I just bought that rifle, and collector value be damned, I'm putting a Limbsaver recoil pad on that mofo before it kills me.
The cool thing was this. The cool thing was that despite having almost 6 months off pistol shooting, and 3 months off rifle shooting, I got back in my groove in a surprisingly short time frame. And that is something I have to give credit to all the men and women I've trained with over the past several decades. Folks who have pushed me, made me a better shooter. Pat Rogers, David Maglio, Bob Houzenga, Dennie Reichard, Mas Ayoob, Steve Denney, Henk Iversen, Dennis Carroll, Tim Lau, Dave Elderton, and many, many more. And I have to give credit to IDPA and IPSC for giving me incentive to shoot better, not just to win matches and trophies, but to be a better combatives shooter. You know, in case some day I would actually have to fight with my gun(s).
And a whole bunch of that has stuck with me. Even through a long hiatus, through the wrecked shoulder I tore up in my motorcycle wreck 2 years ago, through my knee replacements, through all of it. The point is clear: if you shoot enough, if you shoot properly enough, it will stick with you. You won't have to work as hard to come back to your basic standard if you've put in the years of training.
So... am I back to my State-Championship winning form? Not hardly! I'll have to put in the 10,000+ rounds I 've put in every year I've been "competitive" if I want to get there. But what today told me was that, yes, my past training has not left me. I can still do this, with a little discipline and a lot of diligence.
But here's the kicker, boys and girls: if you haven't taken all that training, you can't do what I did yesterday and today. You can't get back to a place you've never been. The only way to get there is to suck it up, pay the bill, and take the training. And take some more. And then take some more. And then shoot a lot on your own, and then go back and take even more training.
So yeah, I 'fessed up that I messed up. I bought a bunch of guns, and I didn't shoot them much. And I didn't take any training. And now I have to get back to my center and stop buying new guns and shooting the lights out with the guns I've got.
I like that challenge.
Oh, and yeah, I did have an uncle in the military. Seven of them, actually. Three Air Force, 2 in the Navy, and 1 Airborne Infantry. Two of them gave their lives for King and Country, one in 1941 and one in 1944. All the rest save one have passed on. I cherish and honor their memory and their service. But I don't lean on their reputations when it comes to my own competence at arms.
Last week I shared a post on Facebook by Massad Ayoob in which he stated that your choice of defensive handgun caliber does matter. I strongly agree with Mas on this, and said so, which caused heads to explode all over the interweb... so as promised, here's the full explanation.
First, this is what I have been saying in my lectures/classes/training (and in my book) for 16 years: "If you are putting your bullets into your adversary's critical anatomy, it doesn't matter whether you're shooting a 9mm or a 45." This is NOT THE SAME THING as saying, "a 9mm is as good as a .45 any day, any way," which some people claim I have said.
I'll tell you how this misunderstanding came about.
In the late 90's, most PD's were transitioning from 9mm handguns to .40 caliber or even .45 caliber. The thought process was that bigger had to be better, because the results in officer-involved shootings with 9mm handguns were so appallingly poor. Rather than blame bad shooting--which comes from bad training--these departments blamed the 9mm cartridge, and hoped to fix the problem by changing hardware. Such thinking is sheer lunacy, and the results have been predictably poor!
I have always maintained--and the data bear me out--that the caliber you shoot the bad guy with is far less important than what part of the bad guy you shoot. Shot placement trumps caliber, when we're talking about service caliber handguns. Rather than investing in new guns chambered for a bigger cartridge, I have continually advised PD's (and civilians) to invest their money in better training so that the guns and bullets you've already paid for will be more effective. Unfortunately, the general mentality among PD's and most gun-carrying civilians fails to acknowledge the need for good training.
In other words: if you are highly and effectively trained, it doesn't matter a whole lot what caliber of handgun you're required to carry for duty or personal use. Unfortunately, a whole bunch of people have ignored the first half of that statement: "if you are highly and effectivley trained..." The corollary is this: if you are lazy and untrained, your performance in a gunfight will suck no matter what caliber you're using.
Anyways, the upshot of all this nonsense is that now we have folks saying that the experts (which apparently includes me) say there's no difference between a 9mm and a 45 ACP bullet/handgun. Which is a huge misrepresentation of the case!
Look: there are very real differences between the more powerful handgun calibers and guns and their less powerful brethren, and if you ignore those differences, you may do so at your peril. It is simply nonsense to say that a 9mm is equivalent to a 45 ACP, or vice versa. The physics alone should tell you that. And there are significant differences in performance between them which are very real.
For example, I have known for years that, generally speaking, a heavier .45 caliber bullet will perform much better than a lighter caliber/bullet after passing through a hard intermediate barrier than will a lighter 9mm bullet. The greater momentum of the heavier 230 gr bullet, among other things, is the main reason for this performance difference. This is one of the reasons I hunt deer, feral hogs, coyotes, and other critters with a .45 caliber handgun: they punch through hair & hide better than lighter, smaller bullets. I've proven it to my satisfaction on game, and on the firing range, shooting water jugs through windshields, and paper targets through automobile doors and windows in law enforcement firearms training. And I've seen it demonstrated by ballistics experts in the lab, too.
A few years ago I was at the annual SOTA (Special Operations Training Association) conference in Minnesota. Federal/ATK had sent their ballistics testing guru, Johann Boda, to offer a class in ballistics testing, and the conference organizers asked me to sit in as adjunct instructor. We had a lot of fun busting caps into gelatin blocks, and more than a few eyebrows were raised by some of the results. (Just as an aside, I refuse to recommend any 380 ACP pistol at any time for personal defense, largely on the basis of the appalling performance of EVERY factory round I've ever tested, and all of those we ran in that class.) We shot gelatin blocks under all manner of circumstances that day, including intermediate barrier tests. By the end of the day, it was readily apparent that while some smaller caliber bullets will pass through tough intermediate barriers and still do the necessary ballistic work on a gelatin block on the other side, all .45 caliber projectiles tested (200 gr and 230 gr) performed to the FBI standard every time.
This is a very real difference in performance, my friends. It's not made-up internet mall ninja bullshit. It's real, it's verifiable, it's reproducible. But the crucial question that begs for an answer is this: will it make a difference to you should you get into a real-world deadly force situation?
And that, my friends, is anybody's guess.
Because, as a friend of mine who has been to "the dance" more than a few times, you get the gunfight you get, not the gunfight you'd like to have. You have to fight with what you've got, no more, and hopefully no less.
There are obvious advantages to carrying a 9mm pistol rather than a 45 caliber pistol. A small 9mm pistol can be really, really small, and really, really conceable. My teeny-weeny 9mm "always" gun is a Kahr PM9, which is so small and light I don't even pay attention to it, the same way I don't pay attention to my belt or my shoes after I put them on in the morning. Also, the 9mm will hold more rounds in the same weight/size gun as a larger caliber pistol, which means you can fire more times without reloading if necessary. This won't matter in the "average" defensive shooting, which supposedly involves one good guy, one bad buy, fewer than 5 bullets, and elapses in about 3-5 seconds. Under such circumstances, just about any ol' gun will do. The problem is that in this day, the age of terrorist action, the likelihood of having to defend against multiple assailants, at variable distances, with the possibility of having to fight through intermediate barriers, is a lot higher than it used to be. So most of us are making the decision to carry something better suited to a complex tactical situation than a 5-shot pocket revolver.
Whether you choose a hi-cap 9mm, a single-stack 1911, or something else in between (or outside the box entirely!) is, in the year of our Lord 2016 in America entirely up to you. It's up to you to know the strengths and weaknesses of any weapon system or ammunition you might choose to carry, and since it's your life on the line should the flag go up, I strongly urge you to study hard and choose wisely. Pick a platform that works for your real or anticipated mission profile, then train to use that platform/system to the highest standard of proficiency. Whether it's 9mm, 40 S&W, or 45 ACP, take your pick and live with it.
So let's recap.
The most important weapon you have is your defensive mindset. Second priority is to ensure you're trained to a level of at least conscious competence with your chosen defensive weapon(s). Choice of weapon and caliber is your third priority.
The first and second priorities boil down to training. You need to be trained at the beginning of your defensive life, and you need periodic retraining to stay current & proficient. Know the circumstances under which you might anticipate an attack, and have a pre-planned defense in place to meet it. Know your adversary's vital target anatomy, so you know where to place your bullets. And be proficient with your firearms, so you can reliably place your bullets where they count.
Only after these priority challenges have been met should you concern yourself with what firearm, caliber, or ammunition you will carry.
Apparently there is some mall-ninja bad-ass-wannabe out there in cyberland, tapping away at his keyboard in his Mommy's basement, making claims that snipers should deliberately target the kidneys of their targets. I've run across references to this claim here and there, but this morning I was blown away by the following email:
I am a nursing student and one of my assignments is to explain why a sniper would want to shoot the kidneys (keeping the focus on the short term). My research has revealed that hemorrhage and pain are the major reasons to target the kidneys directly, with cavitation of the abdominal cavity as a secondary effect. If you have any input on the matter it would be greatly appreciated.
Yep. That's a real email. Somebody actually sent that to me. I won't print the writer's name, in case he isn't just some internet whack-job, but is actually a real nursing student who is honestly seeking knowledge. But I will print my reply to this young seeker of knowledge:
I have no idea who would advise making the kidneys a target for snipers. It makes no physiological or tactical sense whatsoever, and as such I suspect it's a fiction made up by poseurs who have little or no tactical training and almost certainly no actual killing experience, either animal or human.
Military snipers train to incapacitate their targets with a single shot. Incapacitation on the battlefield is highly congruent with rapid death of the target. Centerfire rifle bullets are designed to produce incapacitating injury as quickly as possible. Incapacitation by GSW entails putting the bullet into the primary or secondary target anatomy. The primary target is the CNS, and the secondary target is the cardiovascular system that supports the CNS. The kidneys are part of neither. The kidneys are small, deep in the body, and in anatomic locations that medically-untrained snipers would have significant difficulty visualizing in the 3D human body. As such, deliberately targeting the kidneys is so far from practicable I actually laughed out loud in disbelief when I first read your email.
Let me be perfectly clear: shooting an enemy combatant anywhere other than the CNS/CV bundle target zones would be, first, a failure to fulfill the tactical mission (incapacitate your target asap), and second, wanton cruelty. This is at best comic-book mall-ninja material, and should be rejected out of hand.
I strongly urge you to tell whoever gave you this "assignment" that it is nonsense and should be rejected as complete and utter bovine excrement.
Now, I do not believe that J.A. is actually a nursing student, nor that s/he was given this assignment by an instructor. I expect that in most non-violent gun-free-zone universities in the USA today, giving such an assignment would get an instructor shit-canned by the Dean of Faculty in record time.
But since there are untrained wannabes running around the internet advocating "the kidney shot" as a legitimate tool for the tactical toolbox, let me underscore my letter, above, once again: THIS IS UTTER BULLSHIT.
J.A., tell your pals to buy a copy of my book and read it. If you have any questions when you've done that, I strongly urge you to go down to your nearest U.S.M.C. recruiting office and enlist. Complete a 4-year tour of duty, and when you get back home if you have any further questions feel free to come to one of my classes and ask me face to face. Until then, stop propagating bullshit.
Over the past 17-18 years or so I have been a member of more than a few internet gun forums. As an active recreational shooter, hunter, and part-time police officer, I quickly learned that the majority of the people who post on these forums have little or no practical experience in shooting, hunting, or police work. Apparently I was not alone. Within a few years better internet sites popped up that either had a highly critical membership that verbally beat the shit out of the stupid folks, or restricted membership to folks with some real-world credibility that could be verified by other real-world folks.
But a lot of these high-end end-user sites didn't last. I was really, really disappointed when Hilton Yam's 10-8forums.com closed up shop, as the most prominent example. It was obvious why these closures occurred: the high-quality end users are mostly too busy doing real life shooting, hunting, and policing to be online several hours every day.
The reason some gun boards--like AR15.com, AccurateReloading.com, and 24Hourccampfire.com--thriving is equally obvious: a lot of people are using them. Not just to exchange information. No, no: contrary to the intent of the people who invented it, the internet is not about exchanging information. It's about posting pictures of guns and cats, and getting into pissing matches over things that may or may not be important in the Real World.
You see, what keeps internet gun forums going is "hits"... users open pages, write posts in response to other posts, piss on other posters' posts, and so on. Every hit is recorded, and this translates into what, in ancient times when information was printed on paper and sold on the streets in newspapers, used to be called "circulation". Circulation drives advertising revenue, and advertising revenue is what keeps websites up and thriving.
Capitalism at work, my friends.
Which brings me to the point of this blog entry.
In the past year or so I joined what was supposed to be a fairly stout forum for people who do real-world tactical stuff. I have to admit that I stopped going there after a few weeks, because it was getting little use. But I "liked" their Facebook page, and I get several updates from this site every day. And most of these updates aren't worth the pixels used to post them, I'm sad to say.
I don't think the main Forum would have survived, except that the Facebook side of it generates lots and lots of pissing matches. They're polite pissing matches, which is refreshing, but they're still pissing matches.
Case in point: I got sucked into replying to a thread on the Facebook side started by a guy who's having problems with his red dot sight because he's developed astigmatism, a problem many of us deal with. He was asking if there were other sights out there that had "better" red dots than his Aimpoint T1. I saw a lot of posts supporting the Aimpoint T2, but also a couple other RD sights like Vortex, and so on. In other words, the focus was on kit, not training/experience.
Now, I've wrestled with astigmatism my whole life, so I get this guy's problem, big time. And I decided out of the goodness of my heart I would share my experience of late. I said he might want to look at a RD sight that could be switched off to allow use of a non-illuminated reticle at the touch of a finger. I used the example that had worked for me, a Burris Fullfield 1-4X scope with an easy on/off RD feature. I shared my experience in using this sight in 3-Gun competition, using it on my daily-driver M4 (the same gun I carried on SWAT ops for several years, with an Aimpoint Comp3 + LaRue magnifier).
The reply I received was: "Not a game gun."
Well, slap my ass and call me Sally. I done got told, didn't I?
I guess there's no way to politelly tell the guy that my M4, with one or the other of these 2 sighting systems, has been through roughly 15,000 rounds of practice, range training, and actual tactical shooting, and that these astigmatic eyes of mine have overcome the problems of astigmatism for more decades than he's been alive. I guess it's more important to chew the fat over what latest piece of kit is the best "new" option for the switched-on tactical gunner. And there's no way I am ever going to convince 95% of the "tactical" guys out there that competition is essential training. (I'll address this concept in a later blog entry.)
So I decided to delete my hastily-written retort and moved on.
But there's a lesson here that may be of some use to the folks who follow my Tactical Anatomy blog. And I'm not talking about the lesson that it's pointless trying to talk about real-world tactical shooting with Equipment Junkies on the internet, as it's equivalent to trying to teach a pig to sing.
No, the lesson is simply this: you need to shoot your Real Life guns. You need to shoot them a lot. You need to shoot them with all the sights, accessories, and other kit you think will be cool to have on your guns. And you need to shoot them under high-stress non-optimal training conditions to find out if they will work when you're in a non-optimal shooting environment.
My primary "tactical" M4 isn't a sexy uber-cool rifle. It's an out-of-the-box Smith & Wesson M&P M4 that I acquired 7 or 8 years ago, which has had some minor gunsmith tuning done to its action, but is otherwise box-stock. I actually have a new, sexy, uber-cool carbine in my safe, but it hasn't been through the grinder that my primary rifle has been through, so I don't reach for it when I want my most reliable fighting rifle.
I reach for my M&P because it's got something like 15,000 rounds through it under conditions ranging from great to goatfuck ugly, and it always works. ALWAYS. It's gone through a half-dozen HRC (high round count) carbine classes of 2-4 days duration without puking on me once. The sight systems on it (AimPoint Comp3 in LaRue QD mount, LaRue magnifier in LaRue tip-off QD mount, and Burris Fullfield in LaRue QD mount, plus the Troy Industries BUIS) have survived those same classes without puking even once. In the past 4 years, I've used the Burris scope for 3-gun training and shooting when I'm shooting matches that require more shots out past 50 yards, and on the shorter courses I switch back to the Aimpoint. Sometimes. The non-illuminated black reticle on the Burris is much easier on my astigmatic eyes for nailing steel plates at 300+ yards, and for precision head shots on deer at 100-150 yards, but the point is, I've shot my primary rifle with both systems THOUSANDS OF TIMES under stressful training and competition conditions, and I know that they will absolutely always work.
Real-life trigger time counts, kids. One of the deadliest tactical riflemen I've ever shot with was an old fart from Indiana who brought an iron-sighted Marlin .30-30 lever rifle to a tactical carbine class. Yes, he was a cop. Yes, he carried that levergun in his squad on duty. Yes, he had shot real people with it. And yes, he not only kept up with the rest of us in that tactical rifle class, he waxed most of our tails.
It ain't what rifle you pick, kids. It's how good you are with it that counts.
And the only way you'll get that good is by shooting it. With real ammo, in real conditions. In the rain. In the mud. In the wind and the dust. Thousands and thousand of rounds.
Yet I am constantly confronted by people who have kindergarten-level shooting experience, on the internet and at matches, too, who will pooh-pooh my experience, or that of other men who've BTDT so much that we've forgotten most of it. These derps are infinitely more obsessed with having the latest kit than they are on practical experience. And I sincerely hope that these guys' derpitude doesn't get themselves or some other good guy killed when that latest bit of untested tacticool kit pukes on them in a really-o and truly-o SHTF gunfight.
The best way to get that kind of experience with your primary rifle and handgun is to take some tough carbine classes. I strongly recommend Pat Rodgers' Carbine Operator class, and there are great classes taught by Paul Howe, Henk Iversen, Hilton Yam, Tim Lau, Tom Givens, and many others; there are many other good ones out there. If you take your primary weapons to one of these 3-day classes, you'll put 2000+ rounds of ammo through them, and by the end of TD-3 you'll know if your kit is GTG, or if it's derp. Then take your fighting weapons to competitive matches to keep up the skills you've learned in your carbine class. Take a carbine fighting class at least once every 2-3 years. Instead of spending money on new guns and useless shit, spend it on ammo/reloading compenents and on good training courses.
So, I'm done spitting nails. My point is simple: test your kit under tough conditions. Shoot a LOT of rounds with your kit. If you've got less than 1000 rounds through your primary rifle as it is currently set up, in my opinion your rifle is not proven. And "not proven" means it may well puke on you when your life is on the line.
It looks like we may be having a busier training year in 2016. Arrangements are still pending, but I hope to have a calendar posted by mid-February. In the meantime, I'll put out some dates, both tentative and confirmed.
First, the confirmed dates: we are hosting David Maglio of Massad Ayoob Group for a MAG-20 Range class on April 2-3, in San Angelo, TX. This is the entry-level class for all Massad Ayoob Group courses, but aside from that it is an excellent basic defensive pistol course and it's being taught by one of the best shooting instructors in the business. David is a charismatic and engaging instructor with instructor credentials out the wazoo, both in law enforcement and civilian circles. I encourage anyone with a Texas CHL license to take this class... we call it "basic" pistol training, but you'll learn a tremendous amount of practical pistol technique in this school and when you complete the Qualifier course of fire at the end of the class, you'll have new-found confidence in your ability to defend your life with your handgun.
I am planning to bring in Massad Ayoob next fall/winter to teach the classroom half of his MAG-40 class. MAG-20 Range plus his Armed Citizens Rules of Engagement class, when taken together, make up the flagship course he's been teaching since the 1980's (used to be called LFI-1). In my considered opinion as a deadly force instructor for civilian, law enforcement, and military personnel myself, I consider MAG-40 to be the most complete deadly force training program available to civilians anywhere in the USA. If you want to get this training in your shooter's resume, I strongly encourage you to take MAG-20 with us in April.
I've been saying this for almost 20 years: anyone who keeps a handgun for personal defense NEEDS to take MAG-40. It's simply the best class out there for winning the deadly force encounter AND winning the legal and financial battles that will inevitably follow if you should have to take an attacker's life in defense of your own.
Now, on to as-yet unscheduled classes.
First, we will be holding a combined Shooting With Xray Vision plus Combat Lifesaver class in Saukville WI some time in May or June. I do not offer Combat Lifesaver as a stand-alone class any more; you MUST take SXRV as a prerequisite for the tactical medicine class. If you have taken SXRV in the past, you will be able to register in CL alone, but if you do not have a SXRV certificate, you must take both classes. Tuition for the combined class is $350, and for qualified students the tuition for CL alone is $200.
Second, I am working with Karl Rehn of KR Training out of Giddings, TX, to offer the same package in April or October. Same particulars apply for this class.
Third, we will be offering a SXRV class in San Angelo, TX, some time this fall. Dates TBA. Tuition is $175.
In addition to the above, I have plans to attend both the ILEETA conference in Chicagoland in March, and the IALEFI annual meeting in June. Cops take note.
As some of my readers may know, I was a schoolteacher before I became a doctor. And before I was a schoolteacher, I earned a degree in Zoology (a science), and before that, I was pretty much a science nerd my whole life. Makes sense, as my dad and his brothers are all engineers and construction types, guys who like to measure and cut and fabricate and do it the right way, so that stuff doesn't fall apart.
Making stuff that doesn't fall apart requires science. So does healing people. In fact, the entire fabric of modern civilization is founded on a huge and incredibly solid foundation of scientific knowledge, and its continued progress is quietly advanced by millions of people working to advance technology through the application of science.
Nations such as China, Singapore, Russia, Germany (well, most of Europe, really) seem to understand this and they stress science education in their education systems from primary grades onward. Kids who do well in scientific disciplines in elementary school advance to special middle schools where they get further education and then they move on to the highest level of secondary education, where science (and math, the primary partner of science) is strongly emphasized. These nations have decided that their national interests, including their economic well-being, depends upon having a large population of persons who understand science.
Not so in the United States. Science education prior to college in this country is sadly lacking, and it's getting worse.
Compared to our neighbor to the north, Canada, our high school science curriculums are pathetic. Canadian students have to complete three years of science class just to get a basic high school diploma. If they want to attend university, they need more than that. If they want to study engineering or sciences at university, they need at least 5 year-long science classes, and many kids will have 9 or more credits in biology, chemistry, and physics at the very least.
American kids have to obtain 3 credits, if that. And the quality of the classes is almost comical. Let's take chemistry for an example. (I taught chemistry at the high school level in Canada for 8 years, so it's the subject I'm most familiar with.) When my kids were in high school in Wisconsin, I reviewed the courses available to them. I was amazed to see that the Chemistry subject material being taught at the highest level was equivalent to what Canadian kids learn in 10th grade. And I know from my training that Canadian kids' science education is about a year behind that of kids in European schools. And I understand from my teacher colleagues that this applies to Biology and Physics as well.
Think about it: this means that American high school graduates are 3 full years behind their European counterparts in the sciences.
Let's take it one depressing step farther: I was an adjunct insructor at a Midwest college for a couple years, teaching Pharmacology. This was supposed to be a 3rd-year level class, which means the kids taking it had to have at least 3 credits in sciences already, at least one of which was freshman Chemistry. I had to "dumb it down" for these kids as they did not have Organic Chem or Biochem background; nonetheless, I was amazed to find that most of my students had only a vague grasp of such fundamental concepts as hydrogen bonding, electron valences, and polarity, let alone more advanced (and necessary!) concepts such as chirality!
I concluded long ago that Americans are in large part scientifically illiterate. And it's only going to get worse.
The current Anthropogenic Global Warming hysteria is a classic example. The only reason this absurd hoax has gained a toehold in our collective consciousness is that Americans are simultaneously addicted to the greatest swarm of electronic "information" propagation in history (mainstream media and social media) while simultaneously being almost completely clueless about the fundamentals of science.
Dr. Patrick Moore, a highly respected ecologist, gave a speech recently that I have posted on my Facebook page. In this short speech, Dr. Moore ripped back the curtain of obfuscation and lies perpetrated by the AGW alarmists and presented some very plain, very solid scientific facts that conclusively demonstrate that there is nothing whatsoever to worry about... except that the powers that be may well wreck the global economy by buying into the lies. Dr. Moore just touches on the fact that the AGW hysteria could never have got off the ground if most Americans were not scientifically illiterate.
As he points out, the popular view of ecology has gone from viewing mankind as an integral part of the global ecosystem to viewing our species as a blight on the planet which the planet would best be rid of. This is simply insane. If the people who believe this were in any way rational, they would immediately apply the logical solution to the problem and commit suicide. But they are not logical. Their eco-view isn't based on science, it's based on what they feel, what they believe.
In other words, it's become a religion. And apparently they want the rest of us, the ones who don't believe as they do, to die first.
Unfortunately, it may be too late to reverse this trend before disaster strikes. I am deeply concerned that this new anti-human religion is about to take a page out of the Koran and, following the examples of Islamist zealots, spawn a rash of ecoterrorism against the rest of humanity in the name of Gaia.
I came across a meme on Facebook the other day that said, "Just checked, and I didn't use algebra once today."
The implication of this facile message is that algebra--and by extension, any subject you didn't like when you were in school--was a pointless exercise, a useless time-waster, a needless instrument of torture that you were forced to endure by a cruel and unfeeling education system.
But nothing could be further from the truth!
In the first place, despite the fact that you didn't notice it, you used the skills you learned in middle-school and high-school algebra dozens, maybe even hundreds, of times today. I know, I know... you didn't use a single x, y, or = sign, you didn't solve a single quadratic equation, you didn't follow a single identity equation to its logical conclusion even once. But that's not the point. Multiple times today, you used the skills you learned in algebra unconsciously, because you were busy thinking about other things. And what you really learned in those tedious algebra classes was how to think.
I discovered this crucial fact in 1976, when I was in university. I had completed by B.Sc. degree in Zoology, and realizing that my degree was worthless in terms of finding gainful employment unless I went on to graduate school, I elected to take a second degree in Education. This entailed a single year at the time, which involved a year of Education classes that I thought were ridiculously easy at the time, and essentially worthless except that they would get me to my goal, i.e., a teaching certificate and a decent job. But after only a couple of days in class, I became fascinated by the process of how kids (and adults, to some degree) learn, and what the benefits of learning are.
To cut to the chase, algebra teaches kids incredibly useful skills that they need to function in a complex society. Among these are such essential skills as higher-order pattern recognition and the most critically important cognitive skill of all, logic.
Algebra teaches us, by recognition and repitition, the process of logical thought. If a, then b, and if b, then c,, means that by logical extension, if a, then c.
"Oh, yeah, everybody knows that," the simpleton scoffs.
Well, everybody does not know that. If they did, we wouldn't be facing a crisis of unemployment and personal economic disaster all over the country. Huge numbers of Americans are not employable because they don't employ anything above the most rudimentary logic in their lives. Sure, they understand if a, then b. But that's about it. "If I don't get some money, I won't be able to eat." Which is about as complicated as the untrained mind can function. The extension of logic that gets someone from Premise A to Conclusion C, let alone Conclusion F, G, or Z, is beyond them. So they can't perform the higher-order functions necessary in any form of skilled labor.
Logic is essential to the application of the mind to complex processes. People who are incapable of using higher-order logic are cognitive cripples. And since our nation has advanced to being a highly technological civilization, we can't afford to allow our schools to keep spitting out cognitive cripples and falsely calling them High School Graduates.
If every American knew that, and applied that process to life, we wouldn't be in the mess America is in today. We would have an ample supply of educated, disciplined thinking people to fill our workforce. And we would have ample jobs to employ them. But we don't have those things, in no small part due to the fact that the ignorant and evil-minded among us have been crying for 50 years that algebra is a tool of the bourgeoisie, or that algebra is not needed in "real life", or that it is a tool of the white man to oppress the man of color. So we have dumbed down our schools. We have made algebra "optional". We have eliminated the most important tool for teaching our children logic that we have in our arsenal. And as a result we have a population led by emotion, by impulse, and by the cult of celebrity... all of which would be impossible to imagine if logic had not ceased to be at the core of our collective consciousness.
This is very dangerous for America.
America is supposed to be a nation of laws, and all of us are equal before the law. And by logical extension, if that principle is undermined, the foundation of America is in jeopardy. It's simple logic. And we ignore that logic at our peril.
Think about this example: if someone violates National Security law with their private communication, that person is by definition a criminal. If a, then b, right? And if someone violates that law, in fact commits a felony by their action, that person is by definition a felon, right? If b, then c, right? Okay: so if that person violates the law, s/he can and should be prosecuted, convicted, and face all the consequences of being a felon, right?
Sure! You say. And I agree with you. Even if that person is a good person, who has done a lot of good, if they violate such a serious law, they should face the consequences. And that is exactly what happened to General David Patraeus when he violated our National Security laws.
But Hillary Clinton has by her own admission commited the same violation if not worse, and it seems she will not be held to the same law as General Petraeus was. She is by all logic a felon, pure and simple. And our laws say that a felon cannot vote, and cannot hold public office. Yet she is at this time the front-runner for the Democratic Party's nomination for the presidency. This defies logic!
And this is very, very dangerous for America.
Disparage algebra at your peril, people.
A good friend of mine forwarded a Facebook post to me today, and I read it with interest. It's a well-written account of an OIS in which "center mass" hits failed to stop an armed and aggressive felon. If you want to read the account, please open this link: http://www.lawofficer.com/articles/print/volume-4/issue-12/features/officer-down-peter-soulis-inci.html
The first thing I must say is that in my opinion Officer Soulis did an outstanding job in this gunfight. Did he make some mistakes? A lot of people on Facebook seem to think so, and they're not shy about pointing Soulis's "errors" out. But I wasn't there, and I refuse to second-guess a copper's actions in a deadly force incident without a FULL set of facts.
Second thing: Soulis did several vital things that ended this encounter in a positive manner. That is to say, he lived, and he stopped the perpetrator's attack. He was surprised by the felon's aggressive resonse to his questioning, but he recognized the presence of danger and responded appropriately before the perpetrator could opportunistically murder him. He put bullets into the bad guy, and even though he was hit multiple times by bullets, he did not stop fighting. In fact, he actually escalated his level of counter-aggression.
So on the face of it, I think this officer did a pretty damn good job.
But here's a hint as to the root of a correctable problem: the author of this article states that "Palmer had taken 22 hits from Soulis' .40-caliber Glock, 17 of which had hit center mass".
The author's implication is that a "center mass" hit is a good hit. And that, my friends, is where we descend from good tactical analysis into the Land of Bullshit.
If you've attended my Shooting With Xray Vision class (SXRV), or you've read my book, you have heard me say this before: there is no such thing as Center Mass. In 6 years of undergraduate and graduate level science, I never once read or heard of an anatomic structure called "center mass". In all my years of medical school and postgraduate residency, I never read or heard of a medical term called "center mass". And in 40 years of hunting animals for food with rifles, handguns, bows, blowguns, atlatl's, and other weapons, I never once heard another hunter tell me to aim for "center mass".
The reason for that is that outside of police circles, the term does not exist. And for good reason. It's a bullshit term that has no relevance to reality. People use the term "center mass" because they're lazy and ignorant. Sorry if that offends you, but that's the bottom line. People who use the term "center mass" are admitting for all intents and purposes that they have no idea that critical structures of the human body exist in the human body that need to be interdicted by a police bullet to stop a felon's violent actions. They are admitting that they have no idea where those vital structures are, and they have no idea how to visualize those anatomic structures in a real live human body.
If you don't know a fact, you are ignorant of that fact. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. But if that fact is highly relevant to your job, continuing to not know that fact is willful ignorance. And if your job involves training cops how to win and survive deadly force situations, not knowing that fact is in my opinion gross negligence. And if you fail to learn the fact you are ignorant of and you fail to incorporate it into your training, you're not only negligent, you're lazy.
In other words, police firearms instructors who continue to use the term "center mass" in training their officers are, to borrow a phrase from Chief Jeff Chudwin, "occupying a uniform that rightfully belongs to someone else."
Defining Center Mass
In 2003, I stood up in front of 18 police LE instructors in a classroom and asked them to take out a sheet of paper and write down the definition of "center mass", and pass them forward. During the break I read through them and was only slightly amazed to read 18 different definitions. This shouldn't surprise anyone, because there is no credible publication anywhere that adequatly defines this bullshit term.
I then proceeded with the full SXRV curriculum, and all 18 officers passed the final evaluation with flying colors. In the end-of-day debrief, I asked each the class to raise their hands if they thought that "center mass" was useful term in training police officers in the use of dealdy force. Not one hand was raised. And one veteran officer said, "Training cops to shoot 'center mass' is getting good cops killed." As each of those officers discovered, just because you think you know what center mass means doesn't mean that the green recruit you're training knows what you mean. And it for damn sure doesn't mean that the armed and aggressive felon shooting at you gives a tinker's goddam that you think you know what center mass might be!
Training cops in something that is going to get them killed is gross negligence, pure and simple.
A Better Alternative: Mediastinum, or High Chest
In Tacical Anatomy's SXRV training, we teach relevant human target anatomy, not meaningless bullshit like "center mass". We demonstrate to students in easily-grasped demonstrations exactlywhere the relevant target anatomy is located, and we teach our students how to visualize that anatomy in three dimensions. Which means a cop who is trained in SXRV is able to place his or her bullets where they will do the most good in the shortest time frame. The primary target area we teach is the mediastinum, or the high chest. This is both easier and harder than it sounds... trust me, you need to take the class to get the full understanding of what I'm saying. But that's not all (cripes, I'm starting to sound like a late-night commercial for a Salad Shooter!): we also teach alternate target zones if the high chest isn't available, or if bullets going into the primary target area are ineffective.
Better Hits = Better Outcomes
When cops learn precisely where to place their shots in an OIS, they make better hits and they miss less often. Don't take my word for it, look at the data from agencies that have adopted SXRV for their firearms training programs. Oh, wait, you can't look; police agencies still consider that info highly proprietary and highly classified. So you'll have to take my word for it, after all. Sorry about that.
Example One: large midwestern metro department, 2000+ officers. In the 3 years after they eliminated "center mass" targeting and completed SXRV training for all officers, their OIS hit ratio rose from ~20% to 94%. Of 34 felons shot in 36 OIS's, 27 were permanently removed from the criminal population. And in those 36 OIS's not one officer was shot.
Example Two: a smallish West Coast sheriff's office, ~50 deputies. In the two years after they eliminated "center mass" targeting and completed their SXRV training, they had a dozen OIS's, 98% hit ratio, and 100% permanent removal of relevant felons from rescidivism. Again, zero officer casualties.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Providing better training to police officers on where to shoot the bad guys rather than flipping them off with a bullshit term like "center mass" is a training concept that our LEO's deserve to get from us, their trainers. Shooting with xray vision stops felonious behavior before cops or innocent bystanders can be injured by violent felons.
Better hits result in better outcomes.
It's time to purge the bullshit terms and techniques from police training so that we can guarantee the best possible outcomes from our OIS's. "Center mass" is a term that was always bullshit. It's time we turn it into antique bullshit.
A few years ago I held a Tactical Anatomy Instructor Course at Milwaukee, WI. Police firearms instructors from all over the upper midwest attended, and we had a great, great class, in which 25 LE instructors learned how to train their officers in the principles of Shooting With Xray Vision (SXRV).
But what came out of that class was the stuff of legend.
One particular agency sent its entire Firearms Training Unit staff to this class, and after it was done they went home and put together a plan to train all 2200 officers in their agency in SXRV's anatomically-correct targeting techniques. Administrative approval was given, and the FTU started a 2-year inservice program to take their officers to "the next level" in handgun combatives. The course of 8 half-day inservice courses over that 2 year span was based on the Tactical Anatomy Shooting WIth Xray Vision class and concept... and was designed to revolutionize the way cops shoot bad guys in their city.
I had the privilege of attending a few of the last inservice sessions in this series as a guest teacher, and I was impressed by the confidence these rank-and-file officers got out of the training. At the end of the class I overheard one longterm veteran copper say to his partner, "I used to be scared to death of getting into a shooting scenario... but now I'm not only not afraid, I know I'll win if I have to shoot it out with a bad guy." (FYI, he used a more colorful expression than "bad guy".)
Here's the payoff of that department's SXRV program: they went from an "average" police agency (compared to national data) to a team of gunfighting experts. Over the next 3 years, they went from a less than 20% hit ratio to over 90% round accountability. That's right, NINETY percent of their bullets hit the bad guys after this training! Moreover, the number of OIS's in that time period was 34, and 27 of these resulted in permanent removal of the offender from the criminal element. Best of all, not a single police officer was shot, wounded, or killed in those 34 deadly force encounters. And the total number of OIS's in that time period dropped nearly 50%! These are the kinds of numbers that even city administrators and risk management pukes can get behind.
At this point, 15 years after I started teaching SXRV, dozens of American police forces have incorporated the principles of anatomic-target based combat shooting into their firearms training, and thousands of private armed citizens have done so as well. The outcomes across America mirror the experience of the midwestern city police force I just told you about. Shooting With Xray Vision is one of the most powerful success stories in law enforcement firearms use in the past half century, and most people are completely unaware of it.
Why have law enforcement agencies embraced SXRV? Because, as SIMUNITION inventor Ken Murray wrote in my books' foreword, "Society does not expect cops to enjoy shooting people; but it EXPECTS THEM TO BE GOOD AT IT!" And quite simply, the SXRV gives cops (and private citizens) the tools they need to get good at it! The principles and training in SXRV can take ordinary shooters and turn them into exceptional shooters when it counts and your life is on the line.
I'll be teaching an 8-hour SXRV class at the Saukville WI police department on May 30, 2015. This course is open to law enforcement and non-sworn civilians with proof of good character (concealed carry license, MAG alumni status, etc). Class will start at 0830 and will conclude at 1630 sharp.
I will also be offering a 6-hour Tactical Treatment of Gunshot Wounds (TTGSW) class on Sunday, May 31, at the same location. This is a unique class that you can't get anywhere else from any other tac med instructor, in which I combine my 25 years experience as an ER trauma physician with my experience as a SWAT officer and medic to offer a full-spectrum course on treating and surviving trauma in the combat zone. You will get an intensive short course in human anatomy and physiology, triage, recognition of life-threatening emergencies, and the tools/techniques you need to address these emergencies. Training will be a combination of classroom learning and hands-on training. I strongly recommend that you have at least BLS training prior to taking this class. Like SXRV, TTGSW is open to any citizen of good character.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are a trainer/cop coming to Wisconsin that weekend to attend Davied Maglio's retirement party, you can sign up for one or both classes and write off the whole trip!)