Monday, May 15, 2017

Shadow Shooting

Ohio Castle law seems to suggest that you can legally shoot anyone who doesn’t belong in your house.  I say “seems” because one, I’m not a lawyer and two, I think the state is waiting for case law to be generated.  Don’t become the poster child for this.

The law is, as the Ohio CCW manual says, rebuttable or not absolute.  If the prosecutor can prove you lured the person in, or they had a right to be present, or that you weren’t in danger, you may be in for an extended vacation at the graybar hotel.

With this in mind, always identify your target.  A gun light is a useful tool, but so is a hand held light.  Other lighting arrangements can be wired so as to illuminate any intruder while you stay in the inky shadows.

Unidentified Target
Is it your son, daughter's boyfriend sneaking out, confused neighbor or VCA?


The Akron Beacon Journal 12 May 2017:  “A 22-year-old woman is expected to survive after her father mistook her for a burglar and shot her, Akron police said.”

The article continues  “...heard someone breaking into his kitchen ... he yelled … no one responded … could see a shadowy figure … assumed it was an intruder … aimed and fired … hit the daughter.”

The daughter was house sitting somewhere else and returned home unexpectedly.  She was transported to Summa’s Akron City Hospital.  No charges have been filed as of press time.  In any case, family get-togethers and holidays will be strained.

All this could have been prevented if Dad had a light.

Forget what your buddies say, what the talk radio guy mumbled on the air, what the internet told you with the following exception:

Always identify the intruder in your house.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Senseless

Drs. Field and Bolanos were in love.  He was anesthesiologist who built-up a pain management practice and she was a pediatric anesthesiologist in Boston.  Together they bought a 1.9 million dollar condo in the prestigious Macallen Building, a posh luxurious building that features a doorman and security card access to the building and elevator.  Being on the 11th floor they thought they would be safe.  Wouldn’t you?

Well, you would dead wrong.  Just like Drs. Field and Bolanos.

At this point we only know about the crime, not the how or why.  At some point Field sent his buddy a text saying a gunman was in the house.  The police received two calls about this, one from the front desk and the other from his friend.  Would you expect your friend to rush over if they received a text that an armed man was in your house?

When the police arrived at the apartment they found Dickless Wonder (No, I’m not going to tell you his name. This blog doesn’t give criminals publicity.) and the two doctors.  They were bound by the hands and had their throats slit.  DW appears to have smeared the walls with blood and ransacked the place for jewelry.

Some reports indicate he had a realistic airsoft gun and the police shot him.  He survived and was arraigned in a hospital bed.

DW in hospital bed.  That's a pretty good eye-fuck he's giving someone.

There’s a lot of unanswered questions.
  • How did he get in?
  • Why did he select these victims?
  • How/why did Richard Field text his friend and not the police?
  • How did the doorman get involved?

There’s a lot of speculation and if it were an episode of Law and Order we’d find out by the end of the hour that one of them hired the DW and it went bad, somehow. 

But here’s the tactical side:
  • Being wealthy doesn’t make you safe.
  • Never assume that doormen and mechanical/electronic locks and safeguards will keep you safe.
  • Know the police will never arrive on time. 
  • If we assume Field was hiding and unable to speak, why not text 911?  It may not be possible in his area.  From the FCC website:

The FCC encourages emergency call centers to begin accepting texts as text providers develop text-to-911 capability, but it is up to each call center to decide the particular method in which to implement and deploy text-to-911 technology

Is it possible from your location?  Will you remember to include your address?  Will you also remember to turn off the keystroke sound? 
  • Never let anyone in your house, apartment, condo, etc. until you’ve identified them and you understand what they want.
  • Never allow yourself to be tied up, taken to another location, or held hostage. 
  • We are tool bearing mammals.  Have the tool you need to fight with on you.  Never give up.



I’m sure as this case develops more will be revealed, but take it as an object lesion.  Be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Dead Man's Gun

By now you’ve seen the store security tape of Heriberto Aceves trying to draw and load his semi auto against a criminal with a loaded gun. (Oct 2016)

This is what it's like carrying an empty gun
This is what it is like when you carry an empty gun for protection.

Heriberto didn’t make it and died trying.  His son Juan, also present, is killed as well.

What happened?  Did gun have a feeding jam?  Was the magazine seated properly?  Did he fail to properly sling-shot the slide?  I’ve seen various attempts to explain what was happening, but I suspect only Heriberto really knows.  In any case it took him too long to bring his force multiplier into action.

Let’s concentrate on how long it takes to bring a person to weapon ready status.  I’m not talking about how fast you draw but how fast you go from no weapon visible to being ready to squeeze the first round off.

It took Heriberto too long.  If you were at home, how long would it take you to get a loaded, functioning weapon ready?

Is it on you or is it unloaded under the sofa?  Or bedroom?  Is it in a safe/lockbox, hidden and where do you have to go to get it?  Spare magazine next to it or high capacity available?  Maybe you have to use a normal magazine for concealed carry, but nobody says your reload can’t be high capacity or your home gun can’t be loaded with an extended magazine.

Imagine the sound of a cinder block going through the glass sliding door in the back of the house.  You need to:
  1. Recognize what the noise is and what it means;
  2. Get the occupants, children, spouse somewhere safe;
  3. Get your weapon ready;
  4. Get yourself to a point of advantage and dominance.




If the gun is up the flight of stairs and in the back bedroom or is unloaded under the sofa with the magazine or speed loader in the end-table drawer, how long will it take you?

Even a gun carried on you in condition three* is essentially unloaded. You need to rack the slide which loads the gun and cocks the action.  How long does it take?  I saw a video of two men load a 1911 .45 acp under the influence of a hugh skin pop of adrenaline.  Each of the trained shooters fumbled the load.  No surprise there, with racing heart and cold numb fingers, I’m impressed it took only two attempts to get the gun loaded.  Imagine the difficulty of drawing from concealment and needing to frack the slide!

Even in condition two, (hammer down on a loaded chamber), a single action firearm requires you to cock the hammer.  If you rack the slide to cock your weapon, a round will be ejected.  Now you’re one round down in a gunfight for your life.

Clearly the better answer seems to be a loaded gun on your person.  Nervous about carrying locked and cocked?  I’d suggest a wheel gun, double action first round or a double action every shot.  (As I type this I’m wearing a Glock which can be considered a double action.)  Pick one that fits you.

What about the AR rifle?  There are advantages to using a rifle for home defense.  (You should be aware I’m lumping all domiciles, even temporary ones like hotel rooms in to “home”.)  Better accuracy, better stopping power, larger capacity are just a few of the pluses.

But assuming you’re not walking around with a slung, loaded AR while making eggs in the morning, where’s the rifle?  In a case?  Is the scope turned off or are you using iron sights?  Where’s the magazine?  Is it loaded?  How loaded, or are you planning to top it off from a stash?   Is the adjustable stock set or are you prepared to shoot with a collapsed stock and your dot as a giant ghost ring?  Is the sling set or simply flopping around and do you really need a sling in your own house?  It’s all doable, if you have it planned and practiced.

Remember the Seven P’s.

Prior planning/practice prevents piss poor performance.

Let’s grind away a little on the terrorist fantasy.  Here’s a version of it that I share with others, even though I suspect its pure fantasy.

You see the action unfolding and retrieve the rifle and prepare to help save the day.

Once again where’s the rifle?  In a case or mounted in the trunk?  Let’s dismiss carrying it in the passenger compartment unless you’re 007 or the police.  Is the dot turned on?  Some dots run for years, others a month.  So it should be obvious that the scope gets turned on as soon as the rifle gets in your hands, if not left on all the time.  Maybe a 3X fixed optical scope is what you really need and not the tacti-cool scope the Navy Seals use.

Where’s the magazine? Is it loaded?  Is the stock adjusted?  Sling adjusted and rubber-banded out of the way?  Gun light installed or laying in the case? 

So how long?  How long will it be from first indication of trouble to weapon ready?

Why don’t you find out?  Go to the range and set it up like to carry or how you keep it at home.  Use a timer and on the buzz, get the gun out, load, adjust, futz with it and get a shot off to stop the timer.

How long?  Too long?  Well, you can change that.
Can you shave stuff to make it faster?  Magazine with the rifle instead of located in external pouch or a separate location.  Preset the collapsible stock or simply mark it so you just have to pull it to position. Zipper pulls on the case to assist you in opening it.

What about safety glasses and ear protection.  Can you do without?  At home a suppressor could be the ticket.  Maybe you’re willing to trade minor ear damage today for having a tomorrow.  That’s not a bad trade in my opinion.


*Condition One:  Loaded gun, single actions cocked, safety on, double actions decocked and off safe;
Condition Two:  Chamber loaded, hammer down with single action, double action has the safety on;

Condition three:  Loaded magazine, but chamber empty, safety set any damn way you want;
Condition Four:  unloaded, empty gun.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

And BATF says….


The world can be confusing at times.

If you own an AR pistol and you put an arm brace on it you may have been tempted to throw it up on to your shoulder. Most of us Range Lawyers had an opinion on whether or not that converts a pistol to an NFA short barrel rifle requiring a tax stamp.

Most of you also know there has been a series of letters going back and forth between the BATF and concerned citizens and corporate lawyers.

So far, this seems to be the clearest presentation on the current BATF letter dated March 22 2017.  http://www.breachbangclear.com/brace-yourself-for-atf-opinions/

It’s interesting reading as you get an understanding of government organization mindset and a bit of the history.  If you own an AR pistol you might want to read it to keep yourself out of trouble as well as to help explain why it may not be illegal to shoulder your AR pistol.  I can think of at least one range where a good understanding of BATF's letter would be very useful. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Paving the Road to Hell....


It seems like every day we are assaulted with news of a killing/murder.  But we can learn important lessons from these incidents.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports on March 20 2017 William Knight shot and killed Keith Johnson.  The conflict started over what was later identified as a stolen dirt bike.

While I’m writing this the investigation is still ongoing.  There was just an editorial in the same paper and it is still too early to know if Mr. Knight was justified or not.  Everything that follows is gleaned from the ABJ, which under the best of conditions is a third hand source and important details are missed.  Still there are a few lessons we can learn.

Before we start, let’s remember I’m not a lawyer and these are my opinion.

Background to death
Knight’s son-in-law believed he had found an internet ad selling his stolen dirt bike and arranged for a meeting.  It had been arranged that a police officer would accompany them, but at the last moment the officer was unable to attend.  Knight, with his daughter and her husband, decided to keep the meeting, probable fearing the bike would be sold and lost to them. 

Loading the hand basket
Knight’s daughter contact 9-1-1 when she felt the meeting was escalating towards violence.  It is never a mistake to get the professional moving.  The presence of police often stabilizes conflicts and at the very least, helps determine who started out as the good guys.  After all, who calls the police, good guys or bad guys?

At some point in the meeting Mr. Johnson attempted to drive away on the dirt bike and the son-in-law grabbed the dirt bike in an attempt to restrain Johnson.  Things went to hell at this point.

The trip to hell in a hand basket
Knight drew his weapon and shot Johnson.  The daughter tells the 9-1-1 dispatcher her dad just shot someone.  Whatever the daughter said it should have been more along the lines of:  “OH MY GOD!  My dad was just forced to shoot someone in self-defense.  Send help.  We need the EMS and the police.” 

Maybe even better would have been:  “OH MY GOD!  We need police and EMS’s right away!”

Yes, it’s a lot to remember, but if 9-1-1 is functioning properly, it’s recording everything you say.  Make sure you don’t create problem with your words.  Yes, your attorney can explain away poorly selected words as the shocked, confused statement of a person terrified by what she was forced to witness, but why complicate your life.  It’s going to get a lot more complicated.

Knight took the cell phone from his daughter and spoke directly to the dispatcher.  This is where things take an even worse turn for Knight.  Talking directly to the dispatcher, Knight attempted to explain the situation.  Here my understanding of the subtext.  Under stress and shock of being forced to commit an act abhorrent to normal people, many will suffer from logorrhea.  It’s from the Greek meaning an outpouring of words.

Knight told the dispatcher he fired his gun to protect his family and he had no choice.  We don’t really know if that’s true.  It seems reasonable that if the son-in-law let go of the bike, Johnson would have driven away.  During the trial Knight’s attorney will have to prove that Johnson would have driven over someone, or dragged someone behind causing grave or fatal bodily harm and such harm would have been unavoidable.  The dirt bike gives him a disparity of force, but did Johnson act in a manner what would imply he was about to apply this force?  We’ll see what the court case produces.  If Knight would not have spoken to the dispatcher and discussed it instead with his lawyer, perhaps better words could have been chosen to explain his actions. 

Knight continues to talk, telling the dispatcher it’s dark and he’s not sure where he shot Johnson, but he thinks it’s in the chest.  It’s later discovered Johnson was shot in the head.  Not knowing what you shot at is almost a textbook definition of reckless and indifference to human suffering.  As far as Knight knew, the bullet could have been heading at his son-in-law, an occupied dwelling or the person he intended to shoot.  Again, the attorney will have to show how this wasn’t reckless, but the words of a man repulsed by being forced to take human life now trying to mitigate the consequences to his subconscious.

Knight should have told the dispatcher, “He forced me to defend my family.  We need police and EMS.” 

I would have moved everyone back, asked if anyone else was hurt, asked other people to call 911 and kept the gun pointed in a safe direction.  When the police arrived I recommend you put the gun on the ground and stand on it with your hands up.  Follow their instructions to the letter.

At least that is what I hope to do on what could be the worst day of my life.

A Pause in Free Fall
A man is dead.  I don’t know if Johnson has children.  We know he has a girlfriend and family.  They will never see him again.  Knight has to live with the fact he killed someone over a $4000 toy.  He’s altered his relationship to everyone he knows and possibly destroyed his daughter’s marriage.

I’d never say you shouldn’t try to retain or recover you property, but really is it worth a bad outcome? And this is a bad outcome for Knight.

He’s being held on a half million dollar bond.  That means he has to give a bail bondsman 50 thousand non-refundable dollars (!!!!) or come up with a 500 thousand in cash or real property to get out.  I’m sure when he finds a lawyer the attorney will tell him to sell his house so he can pay the legal fees.

All this just to recover a $4000 toy.

I’ll have more when it goes to trial.
Stay tuned.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Blue Light

Blue lights to support the police



Every once in a while I hear an idea that just stops me in my tracks.  Chiefly because it is so wrong.

I just heard (from one source) that people were displaying blue lights on their houses to tell the police that there is a firearm present.  When I advised the person this wasn’t required by state law, I was informed that it will make it safer for police.  How this occurs wasn’t explained to me.

This is at odds to all the websites I visited.  They claim it is to show solidarity with the police.  That makes much more sense to me. 

But having a public indicator that a firearm is present/stored at this location is stupid.
One: It tells criminals that your house is a one stop shop for guns and ammunition.
Two: Any police officer entering a dwelling and doesn’t suspect weapons are present is a fool.
Three: Why would you want to share that information with anyone?

To me this is the stationary version of having a “Driver doesn’t carry more than $50 in ammunition” bumper sticker on your car.  Why ask for trouble?

Yes, feel free to fly a flag, post a sign or light a light to show your support of the police.  But if the promotion is to mark guns, I wouldn’t do it.
 
You’re free to do it and that’s to my benefit.  They’ll break into your house, not mine.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Knob Creek


The Knob Creek machine gun shoot is coming.
 
The shoot and show will be April 7, 8 and 9.  If you’ve ever wanted to shoot a full auto .50 BMG, this is your chance.  Would you want to try a Thompson machinegun or maybe an Uzi?  It’s possible.  I remember watching a friend shoot a Gatling gun.  He did it at Knob Creek.  There are other machine gun shoots, but Knob Creek, butted against the back side of Fort Knox, Kentucky, is special.

Besides the rentals there is an excellent gun show where you can find just about any gun part you need.  The days of cheap ammo sales are gone, but you can still buy ammo not found at your local gun show.

Ear protection is a must (even if you just stand near the firing line!) and if you want rent a gun, make sure you have eye protection.  The guns are usually soaking wet with oil and it all sprays back at you.  There have been accidents, even deaths.  So go into it with your eyes open.

The best part might be the night shoot.  Watching the tracers bounce off the ground and float upward is amazing and magical.  And just wait for the guy with the flame thrower to come out.  Oh yes, you can rent a flame thrower.  Even safely in back of the crowd you can feel the waves of heat wash over you and you have to wonder what it’s like for the guy in the reflective suit holding the gun.

So, bring money.  Stack all the money you’re going to bring on a table at home.  Put an identical stack next to it.  Bring both.  In this electronic age of smart phones and universal cell coverage, I’d still trust cash over a credit card.

Knob Creek is a rite of passage. 

Just so you know, it’s crowded.  Maybe evenly dangerously crowded and not a place for children.  I haven’t been back in years, but I would recommend bringing bottled water, food and a couple lawn chairs in the back of your car.  Your day or weekend pass gets you in and out of the gate so it’s possible to return to your car to sit down and have a bite to eat maybe even take a little snooze.  Port-a-johns abound and you’ll want hand sanitizer.  Stick around for the night shoot, but understand you’ll spend hours trying to get out after the show.

And if you have the time, stop off at the Patton Museum in Fort Knox.


See more at:  http://www.knobcreekrange.com/

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Holsters

Holster for Glock and light
Glock and Ricky's Holster


I recently had a holster custom made by Ricky’s Holsters for my Glock 17 with a Streamlight TLR-1s gunlight.  You can see some of his work and keep up with him at:                          https://www.facebook.com/Rickysholsters/

I wanted a basic, boring, black, strong-side holster that would accommodate my Glock and gunlight.  I have over the years discovered I prefer a larger gun with light in the winter’s dark months.  I’m usually in an insulated vest, long coats and gloves, so the larger gun works better.  Toss in reduced hours of daylight and typical cloudy Ohio days and the light becomes an important tool.

Ricky did a nice job with an OWB holster.  The light was the difficult part as Streamlight has changed minor components on the light, but when molding form fitting kydex holsters those changes are significant.  Ricky got them all ironed out for me.

Ricky's holsters
Yeah, it's big, but with gloves and heavy coat this really works for me.

I prefer an IWB (in-the-waistband) holster, but the added bulk of the light and my request for an FBI cant made an IWB holster impossibly large to wear.

It took a few practice draws to feel comfortable removing the gun and light and just a couple more to feel confident with re-holstering.  But Ricky is a shooter and uses his experience to fabricate a great holster.

Don’t let the “tactical black” syndrome turn you off.  Ricky works with a variety of kydex colors, patterns and thickness.

I can move the belt loops down to raise the holster or replace them for a wider belt.

I also use this holster for matches both concealed and open.  (Play as you carry.) It’s as comfortable as any other holster for a Glock 17.  I had no trouble drawing from concealment under the clock.


If you’re looking for a holster, plain Jane or sassy Sara, contact Ricky and see what he can do for you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Breaking Support

One of my favorite gun writers has an internet article about pelvic shots.  He does a nice job discussing handgun stopping power and the importance of shot placement.  He has a great point, illustrated by Bat Masterson (the real one, not Gene Barry), that an opponent collapsed on the floor is not the same as out of the fight.

Drawing of the pelvic bones.  The ball and socket of the femur/pelvis are shone.  Your round must be sufficiently "manly" to beak the pelvis so the leg can no longer support body weight
Here’s the inside story on pelvic shots.

One:  The pelvis is a large, massive bone designed to support our weight.  It takes a significant cartridge, both in size, weight and velocity to do sufficient damage to crack the pelvis.  I don’t think a .380 could do it.  I suspect you might need either a magnum load in .38 or better to have a reasonable chance of success.  Failure is very much an option in this undertaking.

Two:  Purposeful pelvis punctures should be reserved for VCA with contact weapons only:  things like baseball bats, knives, and hockey sticks.  The remote control weapons like pistols, rifles and crossbows can still be fired even if the assailant is on the ground.

This is where the pelvis is located.  Lower than you thought?  This takes clear thinking and purposeful aiming, something usually in short supply during an  armed conflict.


Three:  This is more a gut intuition.  A gang (or is it mob?) of VCA with contact weapons have a second level of danger, the disparity of force created by their number.  I don’t believe I would attempt pelvic shots to pin them in place as the levels of success are low.


Remember, immobilization is not the same as incapacitation.  Like so many things, pelvic shots have a place in your tool box, but it is a specialty tool at best.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Match Soapbox

No matter if they are indoor or outside, most tactically orientated pistol competitions are speed and accuracy driven.  Is there more?


Should the shooter have shot the left paper plate from left barricade and then moved to right barricade or just keep pieing around the right corner? 


Both speed and accuracy are components of self-defense, but not the only ones.  The use of tactics is a big one.  Basic gun skills are one.  Using cover and concealment is another.

When was the last time you saw a competitor engage a target with his last round, come back behind cover to reload and then re-engage from a different point of cover?  I suspect the answer is never.  Doing so slows you down and results in a poor score.  But this is a basic tactic.  I’ve watched shooters clear three rooms in 30 seconds with good hits on targets they were unknown to them.  Does that happen in life?
 
First, let’s dismiss the military model.  I’ve talked to Marine and Army personnel.  They enter the building at zero dark thirty, flowing into the building with many armed men.  Their raid is no warrant, no announcement and they shoot anyone who even looks dangerous.  After all it is war.

This model doesn’t work for the armed civilian who needs to get to the room where spouse and/or children are waiting.  Nor does it work for the police who need a warrant and justifiable use of lethal force.  We see what happens when Grandma gets spooked and makes a sudden motion during a raid.

I had a chance to role play the bad guy at TDI several years ago.  I had previously seen the shoot house and they didn’t care if I skipped to the end before my turn.  The team was a professional police team that did house clearance for a living.  It took time for them to work through the house.  Probable 10 minutes, but to me waiting to ambush them, it was hours.  So I have to discount 30 second clearance runs.

All matches are games.  Game isn’t a bad word.  It’s a necessary and useful teaching tool.  It’s only when the game is seen as reality do we have a problem.

I’m interested in games as a way to practice skill sets.  Can we make matches better?
 
How about setting up the CoF with no walk through?  The first time you see it is your turn.  Maybe even after the walk through, ‘no shoot indicators’ could be moved for each shooter?  The safety officer could short the shooter’s magazine.  You couldn’t know on which target you would run out of ammo.  The safety officer could introduce one dummy round forcing a clearance drill for everyone.

No match can be fair to everyone.  Short people get an advantage behind low concealment barriers as compared to the 6 footers in the crowd.  They take it on the chin with tall windows.  So let’s not focus on “fair matches” but on accuracy, tactics and basic skill sets while having fun.

I’d like to see a CoF in which you choose a route A or B.  Going to A means you’ll never see some of B’s targets.  At some point you would choose D, E or F.  Again you would only see some of the targets and not others.  No shooter would ever see all the targets.
 
I’m not sure how you would score that.  Path AC might have 5 head shots and 4 targets at 30 yards.  Path BE might see only 5 center of mass targets at 10 yards.


Any game will show you a thin, realistic slice of life and distort the rest.  The key seems in knowing which is the thin slice and what’s the fat, distorted slice.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Technology

Modern technology can be wonderful. 

Just the other day I was riding in the shotgun seat of a friend’s new BMW SUV and got to see it work up close.  It has all the new technology including smart cruise control.  Apparently, you set the interval between yourself and the car in front and the car will adjust your cruising speed to maintain that distance.  This works best if you’re the only driver on the road.  On most highways a space bigger than 1.5 car lengths is an open invitation for frustrated, Nascar driver rejects to prove they can draft six inches behind any car at any speed.

We were on curve in South Carolina, when a non-descript car slipped in between us and the car in front.  When that car braked suddenly, the BMW having quicker reflexes than the driver jammed on the brakes and prevented a crash.

I was impressed and finally had a chance to ask my question: “If the driver wanted to, can you override the auto controls and run someone over?”

There was a little silly laugh from the driver and his wife who was in the back seat, until my wife remarked, “No, he’s serious.”  Then it got uncomfortable.

It appears there isn’t an override or a quick one button deactivate.  Too bad.

It’s not too hard to imagine some criminal jumping in front of the car with a remote control weapon (AKA: gun) as the first step to a robbery or kidnapping.  I can easy image the possibility of you seeing a stranger dragging your child, wife, niece, nephew into a strange car and deciding you need to crash in to the vehicle to prevent a getaway.

Too bad if your car stops you.

The point of the story is if you are justified in shooting someone, you’re justified in running them over.
We should talk more about this, as I’m not discussing backing over them several times.  Let’s revisit this again.

My friend driving was uncomfortable with my question.  He doesn’t realize that I believe him to be the target of a swoop and squat.

The car on the left was following too close and the right car suddenly braked.  When you break the trunk goes up and the front end goes down.
Swoop and squat is a simple concept with many variable scenarios.  The basic plan requires two cars and the target.  The lead car tries to create a distance between themselves and the victim just a big enough space for the second car to pull into it.  The second car, often in the other lane for timing purposes, pulls into the space and the two cars simultaneously brake.  This causes the victim’s car to crash into the second, possible the pushing the second car into the first. 

The first car gives legal fiction to the second car should there be a witness not part of the scam.  “I braked suddenly, Officer, when the car in front to me braked.”  Since the first car isn’t hit and leaves the scene, all that’s left is you following at an unsafe distance and not having your car under control.  Since you hit him, guess who gets the ticket and is cited as at fault.  Meanwhile, second driver starts moaning about his neck….


From there it’s whiplash, lawsuits, police, insurance claims, perhaps a little fear and intimidation and an offer to settle out of court for a healthy chunk of change.  A middle age driver of a BWM might fit the desired victim profile.

Why do I think that?  From the front passenger seat on the curve I could see both sets of tail lights come on at the same time.  No lag time between the front and second car’s break lights.  It was like they had a signal or rehearsed it.  When nothing happened, both cars sped away from us at a high rate of speed.

I guess that’s the second lesson I want to talk about.  We each have the potential to be a victim of opportunity anywhere, New York City or the low country of South Carolina.  Take steps to reduce your apparent victim profile!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sniping Competition

I just finished watching “10th Annual International Sniper Competition” from LaRue Tactical.  I had the disc for a while and with the blowing winter snow outside, I was looking for an inside shooting activity.  Watching the DVD qualified.


shooting distance



This competition was, according to the disc, the first time they opened competition up to police and LEO snipers.  If you think you are a good long distance rifle shot, perhaps someone who is sniper good, watch the video.  You may be surprised.

I never thought I was sniper good.  I can hit a 12 inch plate at 200 yards from the prone position, but that isn’t much of anything.  This competition wouldn’t let me stand by the gate.  The video had some interesting ideas.

Both the sniper and scout often had the same rifle optics with the same reticle.  This is taken a step farther and the spotting scope had the same reticle as the rifle optics.  This is to facilitate communication between team members.  Many stages had a provision that if you missed you had 10 seconds to correct and take a second shot.

One of the better teams switched off roles as sniper and scout as needed.  Perhaps one partner is better at calling wind at 700 yards than the other while the other was better at night shooting.  They utilized individual strengths for the team.  I recommend this approach from my own practical experience.  Match each shooter’s skills to the task at hand.

All the competitors zeroed at 100 yards and then confirmed it at 300 and 500 yards.  At least one team took time to discuss PDAs and ballistic software to calculate ballistic coefficients from the data they obtained at different distances.  The bullet drop calculation allowed them to dial in the correction for each stage.  Most of the events were staged with a short time to shoot and an even shorter time to get back to the next shooting position.  Clearly this wasn’t an event where everyone just took their time getting set up and making calculations.

The video also had little commercials about sponsors’ products, chiefly LaRue, Leopold and Nite Hog.  Still, there was information available about reticles, wind calculations, night vision and its screen resolution.

All the winners were military.  LEOs were outshot.  Why?

One shooter explained that you have to have a passion for distance shooting.  You have to make the sacrifice and get out on the range and shoot non-standard distances under different weather conditions.  You have to be willing to keep looking for the new next great thing, then evaluate and use or discard.

I watched the military use thermal spotting scopes with IR lasers to indicate the target to the shooter with their night vision system.  If you don’t have this gear, you can’t compete effectively against teams that do.

And finally, at what distance do most police sniping activities take place?  As one LEO sniper team told me last summer, “…if we have to shoot farther than 100 yards everyone is having a very bad day.”  Reaching out to 500 and 700 yards is not normal activity for the police as compared to the military.

Also competition at that level requires an all in approach and deep pockets.  A LaRue gas gun with 0.7 to 0.5 minute groups currently runs over $2200.  Let’s not even talk about the cost of precision ammunition.


If you get a chance, watch the video or call up one on YouTube.  I think you’ll enjoy seeing what’s possible with practice.