Jerusalem Mayor Urges Residents to Carry Weapons

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has called on residents who are licensed to carry weapons to do so on a daily basis:

“One advantage that Israel has is that there are quite a few ex-members of military units with operational combat experience,” Barkat said. “Possessing weapons increases the confidence of residents, who know that in addition to police there are many people who are not afraid to intervene. If we look at the statistics in Jerusalem and elsewhere, we see that aside from the police, civilians carrying weapons have foiled terror attacks. They will increase the likelihood of fast intervention.”

Gun Safety and Personal Responsibility

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Scott Adams looks at the American gun problem and suggests how a master wizard of persuasion could fix it:

Stop calling it a gun problem. Stop talking about gun control or even common-sense restrictions. Start calling it gun safety and personal responsibility. (High ground maneuver.) Ask the NRA to propose a gun safety plan that addresses the nation’s legitimate concerns. (Ask them to take responsibility for their freedom.)

That looks rhetorically strong, but we obviously have two sides that have dug in, and neither side wants to concede anything.

Adams suggests that there’s a simple explanation for this absurd situation:

We make the same mistake every time when it comes to domestic issues: We look at averages and pretend those averages are useful for anything but starting fights. We do the same thing with all of our social issues.


All gun arguments are based on average people doing average things in average places. I agree that the average person should live in a world with far fewer guns because that guy is an idiot with no common sense, no gun safety training, and no gun locks. Luckily, the average person does not exist. Instead, you have some people who are smart enough to safely own guns, people who are far too dangerous or dumb to own guns, and a lot of people in the middle.

Every individual has a different risk when it comes to guns.

His list of potential policies is hopeless, of course. Gun safety measures don’t help against common street criminals or uncommon mass murderers.

Marines’ Small Arms Modernization Strategy

Monday, September 21st, 2015

The Marine Corps’ Small Arms Modernization Strategy includes some long-overdue elements:

The Corps is considering allowing camouflage painted rifles for every Marine and suppressors for rifle squads, Woodburn said. It’s part of an effort to help Marines blend into their surroundings and communicate better. The moves could also give every Marine an “operator” look, although both initiatives are just now being researched.

Driving the effort is the idea to bring rifles in line with the rest of Marine gear. While millions of dollars have been spent developing and fielding Marine Pattern digital camouflage in desert and woodland color schemes, Marines still carry black rifles with a distinctly mechanical shape.

A near-term fix could give commanders the authority to allow Marines to paint their rifles to match the environment to which they’re deploying, Woodburn said. It is something many civilian hunters and members of elite units like Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command already do. The Army has also authorized the move since 2010, when the service recognized the need for better concealment in Afghanistan.

Some achieve the effect with commercial spray paints, while taking care to properly mask optics and other sensitive parts of a rifle. However, Woodburn said the Marine Corps is working with the Office of Naval Research to develop something that can withstand high temperatures and possibly provide other benefits, like concealment in the non-visible spectrum.

The more photos of American forces I see, the more it bothers me that perfectly camouflaged troops are carrying black rifles, while wearing black sunglasses, with black night-vision goggles mounted on their helmets.

Pancor Jackhammer

Friday, September 18th, 2015

I had never heard of the Pancor Jackhammer before, but Ian of Forgotten Weapons got hold of the only existing example, an early prototype, and took it apart to explain its unusual action:

When I first heard of the Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver, I thought, that might be a good action for a combat shotgun. I didn’t realize someone had already done it.

Boys with Sticks

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Simcha Fisher tells a tale of boys with sticks:

Several years ago, a nice family came over our house. It was partly for a social call, and partly to see if our family would do well as a daycare for their two kids when the mom went back to work. The girl was about four, and the boy was about six.

As we adults chatted, the kids explored the house. At the far end of the living room were the toys, including a tidy bucket full of weapons belonging to our sons and daughters. There were bows and arrows, swords of all kinds, scimitars, light sabers, pistols, slingshots, rifles, daggers, and machine guns. I watched a little nervously, because I knew this mom leaned progressive, and was raising her kids to be non-violent.

Her little girl immediately found a baby doll, sat down, and put the doll to bed. The little boy scuttled over to the weapons, and before I could say more than, “Um–” he had grabbed two swords and swung them, with a natural expertise, in a gleeful arc over his head.

“HAHH!” he shouted, and held that pose for a moment, swords raised. Eyes on fire, happiest boy in the world.

I slewed my eyes over to his parents, not sure what I would see. Horror? Disgust? Outrage? Dismay?

They both looked . . .  immensely relieved. “Well, there goes that,” said the dad, apparently referring to the no-weapons policy they’d followed strictly for the last six years. I tried to apologize, but they both said, “No, no, it’s fine.” And it was fine. There was no tension in the room. Their son had hands made to hold weapons, and now he had some.

I wasn’t surprised to see the boy taking so naturally to swordplay, but I was fascinated to see his parents taking so naturally to the rules of our house, which were so different from the rules in their own home.  Once their son’s unsullied hands first made contact with the weapons of war, the whole family relaxed into that reality immediately.

There’s a larger point:

It doesn’t make violence go away when we always tell boys, “Put that stick down.” Instead, it’s making a world where people, boys and girls alike, have no idea what to do about unjust violence.


Boys who are never allowed to be wild are boys who never learn how to control that wildness.


Don’t banish fighting; banish cruelty.

In the issue of violent play, as with so many other issues, we’re forgetting there’s such a thing as balance and middle ground. Parents believe that there are only two choices: we can raise our sons to be quiet, passive, nurturing empaths who could easily slide into a princess dress without making a ripple — or we can raise them to be swaggering, slavering beasts who exist only to give orders and mow down anything in their path.

There is, of course, an in-between. There are men who are strong and tough and in control of their strength, and these men were once boys who grew up with both weapons and rules.


Violence doesn’t take over when boys are allowed to have sticks. Violence takes over when no one tells boys what sticks are for.

Shooting Records

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Exhibition-shooter and fast-draw record-holder Bob Munden noticed that The Guinness Book of Records dropped most shooting records:

In 1981, the year most shooting records disappeared from the Guinness Book, I called David Boehm of the Sterling Publishing Company and asked why. He told me that there is a committee that approves books to be used in school libraries across the nation. The committee informed Mr. Boehm that it would only approve the Guinness Book for continued use as a reference book in school libraries if gun records were removed. To protect the Guinness Book from a black list, that’s what the publishing company felt it had to do.

If you look at recent editions of the Guinness Book of World Records, you will notice that most gun records by shooters using real firearms (not gimmicked with things like light-weight aluminum barrels,) are no longer listed, including those set by the famous Annie Oakley, Ed McGivern, Tom Frye and myself. It is a shame that a small group of people on that education committee, people who probably grew up in cities away from the shooting sports millions of Americans and citizens of many other nations appreciate and enjoy, can have the power to effectively erase history.

Number One with a Bullet

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Number One with a Bullet is clearly by right-wing gun nuts, for right-wing gun nuts, so it won’t be persuasive, but I’ll admit that I enjoyed it, even if it was a bit too smug:

Welcome to Texas

Friday, September 4th, 2015

They say the state bird of Texas should be the construction crane, and Ryan Holiday finds that there’s a certain freedom and ridiculousness to Texas that he loves:

Sure, let’s have a 20 oz. chicken fried steak for breakfast. Sure, let’s put queso on everything and have tacos for every meal. I remember shortly after moving there, asking an employee at Cabella’s if he had any recommendations for a gun safe. “Well, son,” he said to me in complete seriousness, “m’boy moved away to college a few years ago so I reinforced the door frame and just turned the whole guest room into a gun vault. Have ya thought ‘bout doing sumthin like that?” Good God, I thought. And then, when we moved into a new house this year, it had a walk in closet turned into gun vault. Welcome to Texas.

New Amsterdam Reload

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Pirates really were bristling with weapons, as the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum explains:

To survive battles in close quarters, pirates had to be walking arsenals. Pistols took time to reload, so most pirates carried more than one. Blackbeard carried six in addition to a cutlass and a dagger.

Jim Cirillo would approve of the New Amsterdam Reload.


Friday, August 21st, 2015

The cape has become synonymous with drama. In the Italian fencing tradition, it served as a shield and a distraction. The Japanese had their own useful cape, the horo, which resembled a small parachute:

Horo were used as far back as the Kamakura period (1185–1333).

When inflated the horo was said to protect the wearer from arrows shot from the side and from behind.

Horo on Maeda Toshiie

Wearing a horo is also said to have marked the wearer as a messenger (tsukai-ban) or person of importance. According to the Hosokawa Yusai Oboegaki, the diary of Hosokawa Yusai (1534–1610) taking of an elite tsukai-ban messenger’s head was a worthy prize. “When taking the head of a horo warrior, wrap it in the silk of the horo. In the case of an ordinary warrior, wrap it in the silk of the sashimono”.

(Hat tip to Wrath of Gnon.)

Back from the Peruvian Amazon Jungle

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Greg Ellifritz is back from the Peruvian Amazon jungle, where, as a police trainer, he noted what guns were in play:

One of the biggest misconceptions I regularly hear is the erroneous notion that people who live outside of America can’t own guns at all. I’ve visited more than 40 countries in the last ten years. The vast majority allow their citizens to own guns of some type. The restrictions are usually far greater than those in the United States, but most people in other countries CAN own guns if they jump through the correct hoops.

I spoke to a couple of Peruvian citizens who are gun owners. There is a pretty straightforward process to get a gun permit in Peru. It consists of:

  • Background checks through three different government agencies
  • A psychological test evaluating logic and basic hand eye coordination
  • A psychiatric test to ensure that the gun owner is not mentally ill
  • Passing a basic gun safety class taught by the National Police
  • Handgun permits also require a shooting test. The qualification is shot on a silhouette target at 50 feet. Five shots are fired. One hit anywhere on the silhouette (or paying the tester 20 Peruvian Soles…approximately $7 dollars) passes the test. No shooting test is required for a long gun.

According to the folks I spoke with, the entire permit process takes about two days to complete and costs around $150. That doesn’t seem bad based on our salaries, but the average Peruvian income is around $500 dollars a month. Considering that a separate permit is required for each gun owned, the $150 price is a steep cost for the average Peruvian.

The interesting thing about the Peruvian permit process is that the ownership permit also doubles as an unlimited concealed carry permit. Once you can legally own the gun, you can carry it anywhere!

The government limits the caliber of handgun that Peruvians can own. Peruvian citizens are not allowed to own any “military caliber” weapons. In handguns, .38 special/.380 acp are the largest calibers private citizens can own. The Peruvian folks I spoke to who actually know and understand guns carry high capacity .380 autos. They think that 10+ rounds of .380 acp is a better choice than a five-shot .38 revolver. The guns of choice for those in the know in Peru are the Glock 25 (.380 auto not available in the USA that is the same size of a Glock 26/27) or the Beretta Model 85 in .380 auto. Both of these guns cost more than $1000 in Peru because of high import tariffs. Even at that price, it’s rare to find those weapons in a Peruvian gun store. Most folks can’t afford the Glock, so the vast majority of gun store stock consists of Taurus revolvers.

The rural folks who hunt generally use single shot shotguns. Surprisingly, most are in 16 gauge rather than the more commonly seen 12 gauge in the USA. Hunting licenses are required, but the law often goes unenforced with regard to subsistence level hunting by locals.

Why Did Europe Conquer the World?

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Why Did Europe Conquer the World? Philip T Hoffman’s new book presents a strong case that it was gunpowder technology:

Its starting point is the assertion that Europe really did conquer the world, or at least 84 per cent of it, between 1492 and 1914 — but that you probably would not have bet on that outcome had you landed on Earth in the year 900, when our continent was deeply backward in comparison with the cultural and commercial sophistication of the Muslim Middle East, southern China and Japan.

So why did those early leaders of civilisation stay at home and regress, while our ancestors sailed the seas and built empires?

It was not a matter of economic supremacy through industrialisation, which arrived only in the last of the five centuries or so that Hoffman’s study covers.

Rather, he argues, it was down to both military and economic advantage gained through “gunpowder technology” — the continuing development of firearms, artillery, ships armed with guns and fortifications that could resist bombardment — which itself derived from the fact that warfare was “the sole purpose of early modern states in western Europe”.

The core of Hoffman’s analysis is the idea that European powers were engaged in a centuries-long “tournament” — a competition that drove contestants to exert enormous effort in the hope of winning a prize. In pursuit of “financial gain, territorial expansion, defence of the faith, or the glory of victory”, Europe’s rulers fought each other for two thirds of the time between 1550 and 1700; well over 80 per cent of the annual government budgets of England and Prussia between 1688 and 1790 were spent on waging war. Small amounts of tax revenue and state borrowing were spent on other items of statehood, but by far the bulk was spent on armies and navies.

And this investment in ceaseless fighting brought constant improvements in gunpowder technology, both in productivity — measured by shots per minute per infantryman, as well as killing power — and in costs of deployment: the price of a musket in London in 1620 was as little as 10 days’ worth of an unskilled labourer’s pay. When peace and industrialisation came to Europe in the 19th century, after Waterloo, competitive empire-building became the new tournament, while advances in materiel, including railways and steam-powered ships, made possible the annexation of large areas of the globe by relatively small British and European forces.

Small-Arms Overmatch

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

A former Ranger with experience commanding troops in Rhodesia and Namibia and then advising troops on the ground in El Salvador and Nicaragua explains what small-arms overmatch really comes down to:

When you’re close enough to engage the enemy with rifles and GPMGs, life is good. You don’t have to chase the rat bastards up hill and down dale dodging land mines and booby traps. No, they’re right over there, in range, and you get to KILL THEM. The units I commanded killed 147 by body count, for the loss of…..Zip, Zero, None. We lost more troops to vehicle crashes than to enemy small arms. The enemy were armed with the standard Soviet array, AKs, RPKs, PKs, and RPGs. We were armed with FN FALs and FN MAGs and yes we ate off the “overmatch”. We would engage them at a distance where their fire was not effective but ours was. And they died and we lived.

So, does this mean the 7.62 NATO round and its Belgian launch platforms are the answer? Well here’s where it gets tricky. The distance where their fire became ineffective was about thirty to forty meters. At or beyond that range they were going to shoot high, sometimes off toward the clouds high, sometimes cracking just over your head high, but high is high if your unit has the training and discipline to take advantage of it. And we did, our fire was effective out to about a hundred meters. Past that we too were just making noise, but inside that gap, and “overmatch” is as good a descriptive as any, we killed. Now I’m sure you’ve noted that every cartridge fired from any of the weapons mentioned above has, on paper, an effective range several times the engagement distances I’ve been talking about. Which, I believe is the point. Effective, killing fire from infantry weapons has very little to do with the weapons and cartridges used, it is almost entirely the result of the training and discipline the units bring to the fight.

The fault lies not in the stars, or in our cartridges, but in our doctrine, and tactics, and training and discipline. For what it’s worth.

The Real Reason for the “Tactical” Reload

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Gun-nut Tim explains the real reason for the “tactical” reload:

Dropping magazines, especially partially loaded ones, on the ground is often very hard on the magazine. Apart from dirt, mud, and other detritus that gets inside the magazine, baseplates and feed lips will sometimes crack, and tubes will sometimes bend or dent. This fact is, believe it or not, where the so called “tactical reload” came from.

I actually discussed this with Tom Givens in his Intensive Pistol Skills class a few weeks ago. In the early days of Gunsite the gun that 99.99% of people showed up with was a 1911. In those days there was no Wilson/Rogers 47D magazine and folks didn’t show up to classes with massive piles of magazines for training. Everyone was using GI or factory Colt magazines in their guns. Dropping these magazines on the crushed granite of the range ended up destroying them to the point of students almost put out of commission because they didn’t have any functional magazines left.

If the magazines never hit the granite, then you never have that problem, right? Voilà!! The “tactical reload” as we know it was born. Just think: All that arguing about reloads you see on the internet dates back to a practice adopted to get around the fact that 1911 magazines circa 1977 sucked out loud.

Shooter Ready

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Shooter Ready, a 1987 instructional video starring IPSC champion Rob Leatham, is totally ’80s — but fundamentally sound: