Saturday, March 28, 2015

Flip Side

A common concern in any self-defense course for the armed civilian is when would lethal force be justified or more to the point, legally used?

While no catch phrase or mnemonic can cover all situations, I have always been fond of:
A Ability,
O Opportunity,
J Jeopardy. 
These hallmarks justify the use of lethal force in self-defense.  Most serious instructors will elucidate something along these lines with some much-needed amplification.

You can also look at these as a mirror image.  These are also the conditions you need to prevent in order avoid serious injury and death as well as being forced to use deadly force in self-defense.  Frankly, shooting someone in self-defense creates problems of unbelievable magnitude, but not as many or as bad as being killed yourself.

So how do you deprive your assailant of Ability.  He’s bigger than you, stronger, healthier, there are two of them, has a contact weapon or a gun.  How do you counter that?  

You are limited in any of your responses because you’re reacting to someone else’s stimulus.  You’re inherently behind his OODA loop

One suggestion might be to have a second or third person along.  Double date, do things in a group, use the herd approach to safety.  Sure, you aren’t going call your buddies every time you need to go to the grocery store or fill up the gas in the car, but you could pick time, location and conditions that normally have people around.  They may not help you, but your potential VCA doesn’t know if they won’t help either.  

Opportunity. You clearly have the most maneuvering room with opportunity.  See the potential danger before it arrives and leave.  If you can’t leave, get the professionals (AKA police) on the line before someone else starts to control your actions.  Again having friends with you gives you a sufficiently better chance of detecting trouble coming down the road.  I am strongly tempted to say the best counter to opportunity is awareness, or condition Yellow.  Simply put, see the problem, leave the problem.

If a VCA doesn’t have the opportunity to assault, rob, injure, main or kill you, isn’t that the desired outcome?

Jeopardy.  In many cases, the initial signs of jeopardy signal the initiation of the attack.  You may be too far behind their OODA loop to do much other than decide to freeze, fight, or flee.  Just remember the situation isn’t frozen, but remains fluid and new situations will occur.  Note I said new, not better.  Act as soon as possible.

I had an acquaintance call the other night.  It appears someone was pounding at his front door late last night.  He didn’t turn on any lights, but looked out the door peep hole and saw a man with a rifle standing on his front door.  Realizing it was not an itinerary rifle salesman, he beat a fast retreat to another room and called the police.  The salesman was long gone by the time the police arrived.

I realized my acquaintance broke the deadly AOJ triangle by not providing the opportunity to the man with the rifle to harm him.

There are those times you need to respond with overwhelming, devastating violence.  An active shooter on your floor, outside your classroom, in your presence are obvious examples.  But for the majority of cases, avoiding trouble by breaking the AOJ triangle is a successful outcome.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Basics 2 - 911 calls

Here’s the summary version.

Adam Jovicic used to date Sarah Berkey.  Operative words used to.

Early Thursday morning March 12th at around 1am drunken and stoned Adam broke into Sarah’s home in Munroe Falls, Ohio.  He forces his way through the front door, a fight ensues and she calls 911 on her cell phone, but it’s forced out of her hands.

The call goes through, but to neighbor community, Stow, Ohio.   Their dispatchers relay the call to the Munroe Falls police who respond.  The dispatchers send help, but don’t have a specific location.  The call center is able to record the screaming and crying as Adam confronts his former girlfriend, Sarah.

Sarah, a Kent police officer, is finally forced to shoot Adam in defense of her life.  The responding officers hear the gunshots and are able to respond to the address.  The total response time is 4 minutes and 40 seconds.

Adam dies.

Here’s the tactical perspective.

Don’t count on the emergency GPS location function on your cell phone working.  Always assume it isn’t.  When you call 911 and they answer the phone don’t say you “Hello, I need…”

Say “Hello, 1313 Mockingbird Lane, City” or whatever your address is.  If you still have control over the phone explain your needs and problem.  If the phone breaks, is taken, or turned off at least the 911 operator knows someone at that address needs help.

Don’t assume the your 911 call will get routed to the correct dispatcher.  Sarah’s went to the wrong one.  How much time was lost in transferring the call and information to the correct dispatcher?

Needless to say, keep your phone charged and get the police moving as soon as possible.

I’m not saying the 911 system failed.  It didn’t.  It got the call to the right police dispatcher; it recorded everything it heard which helps justify Sarah’s use of deadly force and the police got to the right area as soon as possible.  It just didn’t work as well as politicians would have us believe.

Munroe Falls Mayor Frank Larson claims a typical response time of 1 minute for 78% of the city’s 911 calls.  Not bad unless it’s you on the phone.  Help the police help you.

  • Hello, (to let them know someone is on the line),
  • Your location or address,
  • What you need: police, EMS, Fire,
  • Your name and repeat the address/location.

Don’t know your location?
What, do you eat paste, too?

Saturday, March 7, 2015


As some of you know, BATF is thinking about reclassifing the SS109 as an armor piercing handgun ammunition because of it's ability to penetrate soft body armor.  This is related to the AR pistol. Unless you're a complete crayon eater you know all centerfire rifle cartridges will penetrate soft body armor because of their velocity.  This ban is a gun control work around.  We can petition the AG and point out a sufficient sporting exclusion should be granted the SS109. (email in last blog)

BATFE is accepting public comment until March 17 on its proposal to ban .223 M855 “green tip” ammunition. The Obama administration backs the effort, arguing that it is needed because the bullets can pierce bullet-proof vests worn by police.
“This seems to be an area where everyone should agree that if there are armor-piercing bullets available that can fit into easily concealed weapons, that it puts our law enforcement at considerably more risk,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week.
BATFE and the White House claim that the bullets, which the agency approved in 1986, will be used in more handguns, which are increasingly being manufactured to be able to hold the ammunition.

Here's my money and mouth:

7 March 2015
Subject:  SS109

Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to express my opinion about the current consideration of banning the green tip SS109 as armor piercing handgun ammunition.

The SS109 has, due to its heavier weight as compared to the FMJ .55 gr bullet, become popular with long distance rifle shooters and plinkers.  Several years ago I shot a rifle match at the National Guard base, Camp Perry, Ohio, involving distances from 20 yards to 500 yards.  Many of the shooters were shooting the green tipped SS109 from an AR platform. 

The SS109 is currently being replaced by the more effective .77 gr MK262 bullet, and is currently ubiquitous and inexpensive, allowing more shooters to participate in rifle competition.  I suspect availability of SS109 will be self-limiting as production overruns and surpluses run out.

I still shoot the SS109 at targets at 200 yards for fun with other rifle shooters.  There are few shooting activities as much fun as seeing how many times you can make steel plates at 100 to 200 yards dance and ring out with each hit.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) pertains to pistol caliber ammunition.  The SS109, the .223 Rem and 5.56X45 are rifle ammunition.  The presence of the so called AR pistol doesn’t change the true nature of this cartridge.  No soft body armor is sufficient to resist any centerfire rifle cartridge.  Several years ago I saw a demonstration of a pistol which would fire a full power .50 caliber BMG.  The pistol was a massive single shot device with shock absorbers and rails to allow the chamber and barrel to move backwards from the tremendous recoil. 

Your logic would indicate that .50 BMG should be considered a pistol caliber because there is a handgun which can fire it.  I believe this is invalid reasoning.

Enforcement would, in my opinion, be very difficult.  The chief identification characteristic is the green inked tip which could be removed with a simple wipe with a rag and a little solvent.  Enforcement of this ban would use resources better spent on stemming the flow of drugs into the United States and combating terrorism.

I suspect very few, if any, police officers will be shot with AR pistols loaded with SS109.  The guns are expensive, hard to conceal and difficult to use.  The current laws governing illegal class 3 weapons are sufficient to deal with anyone caught using it as a short barreled rifle.

Thank you for your consideration.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police academy. They were assigned very hazardous duties….Oops, wrong fairy tale! 

Wait, here’s the right one.

Once upon a time the government passed a law, Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), to prevent police officers from being shot with armor piercing handgun rounds which would violate their soft body armor.  This was in spite of the fact that few if any officers were shot with armor piercing rounds.

This was seen by the shooting community as an attempt to circumvent the 2nd Amendment. 

GCA defines armor piercing as any projectile or a core within a projectile which may be used in a handgun constructed entirely of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, of depleted uranium.  Like almost all laws there is an “OR” involved.   Or any FMJ larger than .22cal whose jacket has a weight more than 25% of the total projective weight.

So what does this have to do with green tipped SS109?

Few people can follow or really understand the machinations of the different branches of the federal government.  Let me grab my red tipped white cane and tap out the path as I see it. 

It’s the AR pistol.  Not all “silly” innovations are deadends.  Sometimes progress looks a little wonkey but turns into gold.  Nevertheless, AR pistols are stupid.

The AR pistol fires .223 Rem or the mil version 5.56X45 NATO.  Please note these are not identical rounds and you should know what you can shoot in your gun.  BATF doesn’t appear to be comfortable with this long barrel pistol, or is it a short barrel, stockless class three rifle?  To complicate things a wrist support that allows you to lash the gun to your forearm has been introduced. 

Just what I wanted.  A high capacity handgun so uncontrollable I have to tie it to my forearm.  Now if I get a jam or run into another problem that requires two hands, well, I’m fucked.

To complicate it, you can find videos of this handful with the arm support being held to the shoulder and fired rifle style.  So now BTAF has to respond.  It’s like waving a flag at a bull.

Having previously declared it a handgun, BATF is going after armor piercing SS109 claiming it’s a handgun round fired from a handgun that will penetrate all soft armor. 

SS109 cross section

Frankly, the SS109 has developed a reputation as a poor performer by military shooters.  It creates an ice pick-like wounds that fails to stop the enemy shooter and leaves him in combat, requiring several additional hits to be stopped.  The military has switched to 77gr “open tip” MK262 for this reason.  This dumps the SS109 on the civilian market as cheap shooting.

If, the theory goes, BATF bans SS109 because it defeats all levels of soft body armor, the next step will be FMJ 55gr.  The FMJ 55gr will defeat soft armor because of its higher non-pistol velocity, not it’s construction.

So let the hording begin!!!!  I was at a gun show Feb 28 and March 1 and just about everyone sold out of .223 Rem.  Even the reloading components almost ran out the door. 

Right now BATF is collecting comments on Facebook and other locations.  The GCA “allows for the exemption of ammunition that would otherwise be considered armor piercing if the Attorney General determines that the specific ammunition at issue is“primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.””

This is the time to put your mouth and fingers to work.  Contact the BATFE directly:  Get off the conspiracy and survivalist forums and make a reasonable effort to sound coherent and intelligent.  I’d write about my use in matches and long distance competitions.  I’d discuss how ubiquitous the SS109s are because of their inexpensive nature enabling all shooters to participate.  I’d express my belief that few police and law enforcement officers will be shot with AR pistols and remind them that all centerfire rifles will defeat soft body armor.  I’d remind them that enforcement will be difficult and will pull resources from the very real dangers of terrorism.    Do it soon!

Should you be hoarding SS109?

Let’s be honest.  I’m sure I have 30 or 40 rounds squirreled away in case I’m wrong and the Zombie Apocalypse arrives leaving me to deal with Mad Max wearing frying pan armor.  If you don’t need SS109 now, you will not need it in the future.

See my 7 March post for my letter!