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


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!