My good friend Eric, who I refer to in this blog as Bluedreaux, is a kind, polite, gentle, and thoughtful man. He brought this article (click on the link at the bottom of this blog entry) to my attention.

Bluedreaux is a guy who thinks a lot. He comes up with different ways of looking at things, and I appreciate that about him. But he's also a practical man. And he is also a violent man at times. 

You see, violence is part of Bluedreaux's job. He is a police officer. Like all cops, he's learned how to employ violence to bring people who choose to act in violation of Society's laws back inside the bounds of those laws. He does so at Society's behest, with Society's permission; in fact, he is obligated to do so!

The idea that violence is sometimes necessary to the preservation of one's life or the preservation of social order is ancient. NO society that has ever survived long enough to have records of its existence has ever pretended otherwise. But we have a growing sentiment in America (and to a lesser degree, western Europe as well) that pretends to believe that violence is always bad.  

This alarms me. For people to actually believe such a thing, they have to commit the most incredible contortions of logic and understanding I can possibly imagine. Yet they are doing it, in increasing numbers, and their viewpoint has become a serious factor in social discourse in our day and age. 

Now, my regular readers (all 3 of you, thanks for that!) know that I am a physician. My training and temperament, unlike Bluedreaux's, are not geared toward rapid deployment of force or violence when a difficult situation arises. (And believe me, such situations are not uncommon in the ER!) My first instinct in such a situation is to try to de-escalate the situation as rapidly as possible so we can make sure that people who need care can get it in a timely manner. Almost all the time that works. But sometimes it doesn't, and in those circumstances, I call the police to settle it down. 

But if the police can't get there before some bad stuff is going down, I will not stand down nor run away. If my people are at risk, I have to act in my (and their) own defense. I once had to fetch a loaded rifle from my car and bring it into the ER--thank God I didn't have to use it, but if the situation had devolved as I felt it was likely to, it was either send rounds downrange or die. Fortunately,  none of my staff mentioned my action to the Corporate Pukes who ran that hospital, or I'd likely have been fired and God knows what other bad things might have happened (even though at the time I was a sheriff's deputy, you never know with Corporate Pukes!)  But my staff made it clear that they appreciated my willingness to face the wrath of the CP's in defense of their lives, so that was nice... but truth to tell, I could not have done otherwise and continued to look at my face in the mirror every morning. 

Violence--or the threat of violence, the willingness to use violence--is not always the answer. But sometimes it is the only answer. And when it is the only answer, no other answer will serve. 

 

http://www.jack-donovan.com/axis/2011/03/violence-is-golden/

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Greetings from the surface of the sun! Well, maybe not exactly, but late July and most of August in west Texas feels like it could be... 

So, in my Kit-Derp blog a while back I promised to write about the whole competitive shooting vs tactical training issue. Looks like it's still pretty much a hot topic, judging by the bullshit being spouted by internet ninjas on various websites lately! Not to mention what I hear from cops I hang out with here and there. 

Speaking of hanging out... I have to say my choice of people to hang out with lately has been gravitating toward a very different demographic... they're not just folks who like to shoot guns, but people who like to shoot who also like to fly airplanes (they're called pilots).  Part of the reason I think I like hangin' with pilots is that the bullshit level is REALLLLLLLLY low. And I've concluded that part of the reason for that is that you can't become a pilot by reading books and magazines and by hangin' out on the internet. You actually have to DO stuff. Stuff that's pretty hard to do, that requires critical thought, coordination, planning, and expenditure of your hard-earned cash. And after you do all that stuff, you actually have to PROVE IT. You have to pass a series of really difficult examinations to demonstrate that you can actually fly an airplane competently, safely, and not kill yourself or your examiner. 

Funny thing: having to do all that stuff seems to reduce the Idiot and Bullshit Factor  (which I will hereafter refer to as the IBF) by about 99% in any discussion I've had with pilots, not just on the internet, but also in Real Life.

Now, I'm not saying that we should have a federal regulatory body like the FAA to regulate all gun owners and firearms users... but if we did, I expect the IBF would go waaaaaaaaaaaay down on internet firearms discussion boards!

But to get serious for a moment here, there is a parallel to this pilot competency reducing IBF in the shooting world as well, but among my tactical friends it's not recognized very well. It's called competitive shooting

"Nonsense!" my tactard acquaintances bark, puffing out their kevlar-clad chests. "If you shoot competition, you'll do that same stuff in a real fight and get yourself killed!"

Uh-huh. I see that happen all the time, folks.

NOT!!

Despite the fact that I hear this criticism almost every time the competition discussion comes up, I've never once seen a tactical shooter get into a jam because he did something stupid in a real fight that he'd learned in competition. On the other hand, I have seen (and heard of even more) cases where a tactical operator made a blunder in the Hot Zone because he had a training deficiency and/or an equipment malfunction that could have been eliminated easily by regular shooting "under pressure" (i.e., shooting in competition). 

Here's a short list of things that competitive shooting will do for you as a shooter:

1. It will make you shoot more.  Totally true, bro. If for no other reason than to avoid looking like an idiot in front of "civilians", everybody who shoots competitively practices more. Maybe not regularly, but 3 or 4 days before the match you've committed to, you'll drive out to the range to put a couple boxes of ammo thru paper just to shake the cobwebs out. If you do that, even if it's only 4 matches a year, you'll likely double the round count of the average cop in America.  And guess what? Shooting more is good for your competency with your firearms!

2. It will make you shoot faster and more accurately.  Nobody who ever got into a gunfight said, "Man I wish I'd been slower and more inaccurate when I returned fire on that wannabe cop-killer." And while folks sometimes quote Bill Jordan's "Speed is fine, but accuracy is final," quip. Which is true, but remember that he was the guy who could put a bullet in the bull in 0.27 seconds! Listen up: the guy who shoots fastest and most accurately wins every match. EVERY MATCH. Even if you don't want to win the match, the atmosphere of competition rubs off on everyone, and so everyone strives for faster, more accurate shooting. You can't help it... it just rubs off on you! And when you couple this desire to be faster and more accurate, guess what? You will actually get faster, and more accurate.  Which means that if you ever get caught up in a gunfight--God forbid, you should strive to be in an Officer Involved Shooting, not a gunfight, every time--you'll default to your baseline level of training, which will be faster and more accurate than it was before you got into competitive shooting. 

3. It will make you "one with your gun".  Shooting in competition trains you to deal with gun-pukes under stress. Listen, if your gun malfs when you're out plinking with your buddy on the back 40, you can say to hell with it, throw the thing in the bed of your pickup and get out another gun to play with. In a gunfight, not so much. And ditto in competition. Example: I took my Remington 11-87 tactical shotgun to a 3-gun match one time and it "larned me a lesson". The ammo I'd brought was the new low-recoil stuff my agency had just issued us. I loaded up and started runnin' and gunnin' with my pistol, then my rifle; I was smokin' the targets and feelin' fine. Then I picked up my shotgun, chambered a round, nailed the first target, and had a jam. Wham-bam, I cleared it, fired again, and it jammed again... the gas generated by the low-recoil shells wasn't sufficient to cycle the action fully, and I was stuck with a single-shot shotgun, and 6 more shotgun targets remained! What did I do? I dealt with it! After each shot, I rolled the shotgun, cleared the stovepiped case, manually loaded a fresh shell, blasted the target, rolled the shotgun, cleared the stovepiped case, etc. When I was done, I had cleaned all 8 targets with 8 shots, and my time was still faster than some of the guys in that match. (Needless to say, I switched back to regular shotgun loads after that stage!) Talking with my buddies after that stage was done, we were all asking ourselves what might have happened if we took that ammo in our shotguns on a hot entry? Can you imagine the pucker factor, trying to clear that jam in a narrow hallway with bullets flying at you? My point is this: every gun is capable of puking, and they tend to do it when you really need them not to. If you learn how to deal with gun-pukes under the stress of competition, you're far more likely to be able to deal with a gun-puke in the middle of a firefight. 

4. It's a great way to make sure your kit works.   Most tactical guys who refuse  competition will sooner or later give me this line: "That's game-gun gear. I use real-world gun gear." Well, duh, Fred Flintsone! There's nothing in the rule book that says you can't shoot with your duty rig. One sport, IDPA by name, has a special category for cops who shoot their duty rig in matches, and I've seen guys in both 3-Gun and IDPA matches do it! When I shoot a 3-gun match, I usually use the same guns I carried on duty, set up the way I carried them when I wore a SWAT uniform.  I wear a chest-rig that duplicates the magazine placement of my tactical armor vest. I've even shot a couple matches in full SWAT gear. And by doing so, I learned in a hurry what kit and which modifications were good, which were bad, and which were going to get folks killed. A couple of these lessons I learned were passed on to the other cops on my SWAT team, and after they tried them out, they spread to the entire department. 

There's more, but I won't labor the point any further. 

Here's the take-home message, boys and girls: people who do real stuff in real time when there's real consequences on the line tend to learn very quickly what is IBF versus what truly works. It applies to FAA-certified pilots, and it applies to firearms professionals. The Derp-addicted wannabe's will never get this. 

Do yourself a favor: if you haven't tried competitive shooting, give it a shot. You won't lose anything, and you just might gain a whole lot of knowledge, experience, and competency. It's a win-win!

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In association with David Maglio's Concealed Carry Associates LLC I am pleased to remind y'all that we are holding a Shooting With Xray Vision class at Range of Richfield, Richfield, Wisconsin, on Saturday July 9.

If you live in the Midwest and you've been thinking about taking this class, now is the time to sign up. Don't cheat yourself by saying you'll take it next year. There is no guarantee I'll be able to offer this class outside of Texas after this offering. Given the strident anti-gun political climate in much of the USA right now, there are no guarantees that guns, ammo, or training will be as freely available in the near future as they are today.

And believe me when I tell you that every armed citizen needs this training. Knowing where to shoot the bad guy is as critically important as knowing how to shoot your defensive firearm. Ask any successful hunter whether knowing where to shoot his quarry is important, and s/he'll tell you how critical knowing critical anatomy is to his or her success. Ask any police department that has incorporated SXRV into their training how this has helped their OIS outcomes.

Tuition is $150.00, which is ridiculously cheap for such critical training. Contact David at CCA to register.

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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. 

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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.

 

Guns training

 

 

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. 

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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 concealable. 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.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Unbelievable. 

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:

Dr. Williams:

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.

J.A.

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:

J.A.:

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.

Sincerely, etc. 

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.   

 

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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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.

Troubling thoughts.  

 

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September  2017
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Screen shot of Dr. Williams being interviewed by Police One TV