Category Archives: Guns

Leaving the ER: Bwoop! Bwoop!

bluelighted

So, there I was, two days without sleep after two days in the Emergency Room with a parishioner, carrying my Glock while driving away from Emery University Hospital in northeast Atlanta, GA, three hours away and out-of-state from my residence and way out of state for the licence plate of the car I was driving, which was that of the new parishioner. So, of course:

“Bwoop! Bwoop!” Bluelighted right outside the Emergency Room while pulling away.

  • LEO: “Hello, sir.”
  • Me: “Hello, Officer. I have to advise you that I’m practicing carrying my carry.”
  • LEO: -smirk, smirk- (because I’m dressed, of course, as a priest with collar).
  • Me: “We’re just leaving the Emergency Room after two days there.”
  • LEO: “Yeah. I figured you weren’t up to any trouble here. Just wanted to let you know that you didn’t have your headlights on. I assume that you didn’t notice because the street in front of the hospital is so well lit up.” (It was just before sunrise).
  • Me: “Oh! Thanks Officer. I guess I’m not used to driving this car. [You can leave the lights on in a Subaru as they shut off automatically and come on the same way.] It belongs to my parishioner here. We came down from WNC.” I flick on the lights.
  • LEO: “Well, the lights work. Is your license up-to-date?”
  • As I struggle to remove the license from my wallet I answer “Yes sir,” and he doesn’t bother to have me even take it out.
  • LEO: As he walks away he says with a smirk, I suppose because I’m a priest carrying, he says: “You guys be safe out there.”
  • Me: “Thanks, Officer. You too.”

And that was the exchange. Professional. Polite. Pleasant. Humorous. I’m thankful. It was helpful to our safety. That’s how all interactions with the police should go. Great guys. It might be thought that my being a “white” “Jew-boy” and a Catholic priest to boot, and out-of-state, and in the South, might make for a different outcome when he saw all that. But, no. My experience with the police was fantastic.

It’s not always that way, of course. Some feel entitled to break the law and mortally endanger lives. It’s that which makes for a bad outcome. Not profiling. Not police misbehaving. That can happen, but, just as a for instance, here’s an instructive incident where none of that happened and the Officer was as polite as he could be. He had to do what he had to in calling for backup, but none of this was on him. This is how NOT to interact with the police:

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Shot at on “day-off” .30-06 M2AP or 7.62 x 51 M80 ball or… 81mm mortar?

Knowing nothing much about rifles I was guessing someone’s just been shooting in my direction with some version of the ever popular Armalite 15 over the last few years on the day-off. Not hitting me. So, what do I care? But what do I know about rifles? Zilch.

I was describing my experience to a law enforcement guy who shoots all the time with all sorts of weapons just yesterday and he scoffed at my mention of an AR 15. He said that what was happening could not be done with an AR 15, but is much more likely something shooting out a .30-06 M2AP or 7.62 x 51 M80 Ball. That would make sense. After an inordinately loud bang, the bullets would come smashing through a good half dozen branches before slowing down a bit, meanwhile having the tell tale “Whizzzzoooooosh!” sound round about again and again. It’s a sound next to your head that you don’t easily forget. The 7.62 is a good guess as the magazine holds some 40 rounds. But the shots were spaced out enough that individually chambering the .30-06 rounds would certainly have been possible. My dad had a .30-06 which I shot a few times as a kid. Anyway, I’ve never been hit, so, whatever.

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Pretty much everyone around WNC goes hunting with that which will take down their prey, whether that be a big buck, or an elk, or a huge wild boar or a bear, namely, a .30-06. To protect against that would require Level IV Armor, which weighs a ton, and it the little plate doesn’t stop you from getting hit elsewhere. So, I don’t get too excited about this kind of thing. If someone really wants to take you out, they can.

As I say, one time when I was particularly vulnerable, out in the open, and pretty far from my car (no big help there either) and couldn’t have escaped with the bullets whizzing about, I simply sat down and, in the otherwise dead quiet of the forest, between shots, I played Handel’s Messiah on the tiny speakers of my phone. I couldn’t see him on the close-by forest ridge just opposite me (say 200 yards), but he could see me. He had a rifle. I had a mere Glock. That ploy of mine, playing Handel’s Messiah, actually audible in the dead of the forest on that day, was a ploy of feigned insanity I learned in freshman year of high school in a special critical incident class for “special” students. That ploy shut the guy down better than any other reaction possibly could have. Great psychology, that. It worked. Some smart business owners play classical music, successfully moving the riffraff right along and away. It’s like an exorcism.

Anyway, that conversation with the law enforcement guy mentioned above started because this past Tuesday this was shooting thing was repeated now for the umpteenth time. But I wasn’t there for it. I was only shooting very briefly, just once through the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal tactical pistol course (a mere 30 rounds and my best DQ ever) and some 2+1 drills (again, best ever so that was that). And then I was gone for a half dozen errands down the mountain in super quiet Sassy the Subaru. Zip zip zip.

But maybe whoever it is just thought I was reloading magazines. He didn’t see me, as I wasn’t there by the time he got there. But he probably figured I would hear what he was up to. I’m told that this time the rounds were much bigger than a .50 BMG, common in the area. Much bigger. The guess of the one neighbor (he achieved “Expert” with one shot in the USArmy) was that this might be some sort of small rocket. From his lengthy descriptions I’m guessing the guy was practicing with 81mm mortar training rounds. I don’t know how legal or not those are. People can buy tanks without firing mechanisms, so… I don’t know.

One of these days I’m guessing this guy will put out a round which ricochets and hits me. Whatever. The thought of “could happen” isn’t a thought that phases me in the least. Terrorism doesn’t terrorize me.

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Day-Off: 2 to the body – 1 to the head. Cruel drill in church security training?

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People forget the reality. These are just a few pictures of victims in recent church shootings all around these USA, East and West and South. Lest we forget that we’re dealing with real people who didn’t have to die in such numbers.

My 82nd Airborne neighbor was speaking to me about going out shooting with yet another of our CIA friends now contracting for Main State, um, right locally, with the local part not being so weird since there are untold numbers of special people on both sides who come here. Some of the pilot-terrorists of September 11, 2001 infamy trained here and so many from our intelligence agencies and bureaus and branches of the military come here. We’re out of the way, but it’s not. It is what it is. Before going out to a private range with them, he said I should hone some skills with with the drill of two to the body and one to the head, he demonstrating how quick this should be: BaDa-BAM! Just that quick. And on target. And from the holster. Intriguing, thought I, not having practiced anything like this in a long time. I had to look up how it should be done.

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Typical “A” boxes are used, so I print these out on a 11″ x 8.5″ sheets of paper, which are then taped to a piece of cardboard, and held up seven yards out by “pigtail” wires (see above) which one can get at Lowes (see below). The vertical box represents the most stop-the-threat-ish part of the “body” (probably exaggeratedly a bit wide as it should be only about 3″ wide) while the little horizontal box at the top represents the size of the most vulnerable part of the “head” (the whole right-between-the-eyes thing: about 2″ x 4″). The SEALs allow themselves less than or equal to 2 seconds to get off all shots with accuracy, at least that’s what a SEAL guy said. Somehow I doubt that length of time as being purposely overlong. You can’t give all your secrets away, right?

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My first attempt clocked in at something like 3.5 seconds. After a few magazines, with accuracy, the last two attempts for my first session clocked in at 1.84 seconds and 1.81 seconds hot barrel. I’d like to get that down to 1.5 seconds cold barrel, but to do that, practicing relatively little, I’d probably have to get a speed holster, in which case I might be able to get it down to below one second. I saw one guy to this in 0.96 seconds with a speed holster and from only six feet away, meaning his target wasn’t reality between lower and higher hits. I ain’t goin’ there. You gotta practice with what you use for everyday carry, right? And not at just six feet, but at the normal statistical average for dealing with such aggression, which is 21 feet out, which is just about what would be the case anywhere in our tiny church. Otherwise, it’s all foolish. For me, this is about self defense and for the common good with what is basically 24/7 carry. I would never walk around with anything but a locked holster as it’s virtually impossible for a bad-actor to unlock and is still relatively easy for the carrier to use. After writing all this I did go out again for a few minutes on the day off and got it all down to 1.7 secs. So far.

Full disclosure: “accuracy” for me means I hit the “body” twice and the “head” once each time, but the hits are, since I’m a beginner, wildly spread out haphazardly within the allowed limits. That’s still effective. But for our CIA friend, one would see one bullet hole in the center-center of the “body” with both bullets hitting in the same place, while the one to the “head” would hit the center-center of the “head” box. And he’d still be quicker. Competition is always a hilarious thing to me. But in this case I would be the total student.

No matter what, if I ever had to deal with such a situation as an active shooter killing off my parishioners, men, women and little kids, one after the other, non-stop, and I went ahead and did the 2+1 for real, stopping the threat, stopping the grave wounding and maiming and killing, an unscrupulous prosecutor will undoubtedly put a post such as this before a jury saying that I didn’t want to just stop the threat, but that I had actually intended to kill the terrorist outright, making myself the judge and jury and executioner (if the perp dies), bringing America to the brink of tossing out the judicial system so as to promote vigilantism, thus putting me on death row.

So, let me just say this: I would never ever intend to kill anyone. No. I would, however, surely intend to stop an imminent, active threat: the active shooter. Two to the body for a guy who might well be wearing body armor is going to do nothing. Even if he’s not, and even if my two to the body take his heart right out of his chest, he’ll still have a good four seconds to pump bullets into my parish family, possibly taking out half my little congregation. The shot to the head immediately turns out the lights, so to speak, not necessarily killing him, but shocking the nervous system enough whereby he can’t pull the trigger anymore, that is, from that very instant. That’s stopping the threat with the immediacy called for by the particular circumstances.

We all surely feel sorry for the guy pulling the trigger, knowing that surely he had a difficult upbringing (not everyone with a difficult upbringing is a terrorist), that he surely had been going through rough spots in his life (not everyone going through rough spots is a terrorist), that he’s a coward (indicating all sorts of psychological problems) and that he deserves another chance: Dum spiro spero as the South Carolina motto says on behalf of the hope one can have if one is still breathing. Yes, to all of that. There is no sin we can commit that is greater than the forgiveness Jesus can provide to us if we want it. I would terribly regret if such a terrorist would die with no chance to repent of his actions.

  • On the one hand, with me being a priest, I would surely give him an absolution while running toward him, and then give the emergency anointing (taking mere seconds) while others called 911, and while I then administered first aid if one of our medical team wasn’t already doing that.
  • On the other hand, I would also terribly regret not assisting him, so to speak, in stopping his rampage of gravely wounding, maiming and killing my parishioners.

Here’s a post with links to various initiatives of the Department of Homeland Security specifically for churches. I’ve included in that post some other useful comments and graphics.

DHS Active Shooter Preparedness Program for Churches

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Church Shootings: Into the Fray 241

Two rules:

Rule One: When a shooter appears, everyone in church, if they cannot immediately escape, hits the deck. The shooter will remain standing, but now he’s the obvious target for those tasked with security; he is “acquired” and “isolated” with no one to hide behind. Those tasked with neutralizing the threat will know what to do depending on the policies of the church, either rushing him until he is immobilized (with possibly lots of people needlessly being killed in this scenario) or by – on their own authority in this diocese – using the proper tools to deal with him (with possibly much fewer people being gravely wounded, maimed or killed).

Rule Two: When a shooter appears, everyone in church, if they cannot immediately escape, hits the deck.

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“Day Off” Best DQ Best 2+1

  • I had about ten minutes today for the Glock. 100% accuracy for the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshall tactical pistol course but DQ’d for being overtime by 0.12 seconds for both parts of stage six.
  • For the two to the body one to the head drill, I was able to bring it down with accuracy to 1.7 seconds from a locked holster.

Btw, that’s not bragging. That’s me hoping that everyone who carries is able to throw out a few bullets each week to be frosty. That’s important. And competition is hilarious and encouraging.

Does your parish have a church security team?

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Day Off: Guns and Fiery Ecumenism (Russian Orthodox), and then… Yikes!

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The “Day-Off” started off at 2:00 AM editing this Wednesday’s post for Father Gordon’s These Stone Walls. What a fright! Then, after feeding the dogs, it was off with Sassy the Subaru to be checked out some 100 miles away from the rectory, a two hour trip with the appointment being for after 7:00 AM sometime. Sassy’s fine, but I’m thinking of trading her in for something… else…

Then the “Day-Off” brought me to Mission Hospital in Asheville to visit an elderly friend who was bleeding out for an unknown reason for days on end, getting lots of bags of blood being pumped into her. They figure she’s going to get better and will be home in a few days.

After some sacramental work, it was then off to the pharmacy, the “mail-box”, then lunch with some gun slingers, which brings me to some time at the hermitage…

The old ripped towel on the ground you see at the bottom of the picture above is for protecting click-dropped magazines from being clogged with forest floor stuff while doing timed tactical and combat changes, while in the action of falling to a knee after firing a shot and before another. I’m not sure why, but these are exercises I can do way under time with good accuracy (better than all the other stages of courses). Targets are 7″ pie plates all at seven yards out (three yards apart), typical of the average furthest distance in a critical defensive shootout with accuracy you want to have if at a gas station in an imminently life-threatening situation (as set up with the violent rhetoric of Maxine Waters).

Aiming for perfect scores with my little targets did see some progress, particularly with strings, in this case six pumped out as fast as one can pull the trigger. The grouping got smaller even as the timing shortened more than 1.5 seconds (from a few weeks ago), all under the time permitted for the Federal Air Marshall Tactical Pistol Course (pre-2001).

And yet, I got nothing near my best scores to date (always DQs for whatever reason, of course). I was terribly preoccupied with mulling over doing up a communication with the Holy See on recent dramas in Holy Mother Church. I should learn to not let myself be so lackadaisical during practice since one cannot and will not be otherwise preoccupied during a critical incident.

Anyway, I gave up in favor of doing up some practical ecumenism with the Russian Orthodox Church (sorry my Greek friends!). Another neighbor is Greek Orthodox well on his way to priestly ordination, with a beautiful family. He already has the famous moonshine wood stove I used in the hermitage. I marched up the ridge a couple of times to get the stainless steel stove pipe I used with bits and pieces of caps and clean outs, but about 15 feet of pipe all told. Winter is upon us!

And then, while talking with my other neighbor to the hermitage about all sort of topics, I suddenly and quite simply sent off an extremely brief email to a certain someone in the Holy See, asking a question I had been mulling for days, oppressively so, as mentioned above. Immediately I got back a response, very nuanced, offering new information and direction and encouragement. It was almost as if he had been waiting for my request and was ready to drop me that response since the time I had gone to Rome to give those two packages to the Holy Father. But I digress.

Still at the neighbors we talked about Jesus, as we always do. We spent some time on meditations involving the horrors of going to hell for eternity and how easy that is to avoid, and also about the joys of heaven and the desire to go there. It was as if a great, great weight had been lifted from me, even though what had transpired in those brief quick emails entails a huge amount of work.

So, of course, cherry ice cream with huge chunks of chocolate had to be devoured. Then “Day-Off” ended back at the rectory before midnight. Having been up since 2:00 AM, and it being waaaay past my bedtime, I had to stop along the highway and take a nap in the car. Sooo tired.

Meanwhile, the day-after, today, will be filled with sewerage up at the church, the second day for the plumbers to come by and see what in the world might be done so as to open up the parish again…

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After retreat: bullets, razored arrows, cops. “Quiet till you got back, Father.”

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This razored hinged hunting arrow was shot into my neighbors yard across corners of two other neighbors’ yards (with little kids about).

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It’s full of identifiers…

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It looks to have been modified, or fixed up with a bit of glue. Just that red bit at the end I think comes in at about $10.00.

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The hinged razors might retail for like $50.00. Let’s see: carbon shaft, special joiners… Maybe just this one arrow is coming in @$75.00. Or am I overpricing that? I’m not into archery at all, though I did shoot arrows round about as a kid with a fiberglass bow.

Anyway, that’s just an arrow. Just as disconcerting for the neighborhood are bullets ricocheting here and there. They’ve whizzed by the neighbor’s dog. I think the target is the neighbor’s propane tank. If I’m guessing who the perp is correctly, he’s not a good shot at all. I’ve never seen him pull a bow back or pull a trigger, so, what do I know? Nothing. It’s usually between, say, 3:23 AM and 3:43 AM. I look at my backlit el-cheapo Casio watch during such events. I bet his favorite TV show ends at 3:00 AM and that’s when he takes out his weapons, perhaps totally plastered.

Various of the neighbors have called in these shenanigans, which, in town, are totally illegal. I haven’t done it up to now, but maybe I should call it in. After all, people’s lives are unnecessarily put at risk by someone mixing alcohol and guns. That never works well. So, fine. I hate to call stuff in because that puts the cops at risk. That’s the very last thing I want to do. And yet…

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Ensuring Low Mass rubrical precision at diocesan priests’ retreat with a Glock

Some practice altars were set up to refresh the exactness of rubrics of the guys for low Mass.

It’s surprising who was assisted on this or that point. It’s always good to have other sets of eyes for that which is important.

When teaching a seminarian the low Mass back in 2010, he was cautioned that should he mess up on this or that rubric he might hear a gun get racked in the congregation as a warning to stay awake. There are those who get apoplectic with an honest mistake. When he made a mistake I would imitate the sound of a gun being racked. There was laughter all around.

He’s now a priest. He was with us sharpening up his rubrical precision. Upon a miniscule mistake I tapped my holster… click… to laughter… bringing things full circle.

One of the vicar foranes of the diocese, himself expert with guns, asked for the Glock and – ensuring it was empty of any possible magazine and any possible chambered round – waited for the next small slip up so as repeatedly to make the tell-tale racking sound with the slide multiple times, again to the laughter of all.

A good time was had by all. Newly scheduled low Masses are being added around the diocese. I love this diocese.

By the way and just to say, I once asked an FSSP priest if any of their members would make a breathless correction if anyone made an honest mistake. He said never. Not in the seminary. Not after ordination. Breathlessness is only for those who don’t know Jesus.

To the point:

  • All things liturgical are NOT about all things liturgical.
  • All things liturgical are about Jesus Christ, King of kings, Lord of lords, He who is the Prince of the Most Profound Peace.

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Day Off: Scoping & best dq to date. Automated course: pulleys, ropes?

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Just prior to my going farther up the mountain – where one finds Holy Souls Hermitage – I put up a target for some vet friends, Army above and Air Force below, so that they might set their scopes a bit more accurately.

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Then it was time for me to throw out a few rounds from the Glock 19 before the retreat begins in another handful of days for all the priests of Charlotte Diocese.

  • Five targets for the FBI course went up at all their various distances. That netted an “instructor” level result.
  • Three targets all seven yards out then went up for the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal tactical pistol course. This netted my best disqualification yet. 100% accuracy for all seven stages (with my 4.7 times smaller than regulation targets), all under time except stage six. Drat! The two sets to that stage (spinning from 180 degrees with holstered cover to hit three targets three yards apart  in 3.5 seconds. One set was 0.11 hundreds of a second over, and the other 0.32 hundreds of a second over.

Not quite getting it perfect and still not cold barrel keeps the challenge there. That challenge keeps going even when 100% and all under time is achieved every session since it’s a perishable skill. As the neighbor says: only God is perfect.

I wish I could get the description and timings for all stages of the SEALS TPC. Anyone? I won’t publicize it. Surmisings of a few stages are guessed at on the internet but that’s it. If you drop it in the comments box I’ll be able to copy it without letting it through the moderation queue.

Meanwhile, texting back and forth with number two guy above, he’s talking about jacking it up a level by building me an automated course on the cheap, with strings and pulleys and ropes that can be randomized. Timer would be counterproductive. That sounds waaaaaay out of my league, but surely a huge challenge. And that’s why it’s good for the day off, right?

 

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Domestic battery on woman

Situational awareness is nothing without a piece of mind…

Just now, after Saturday evening Confessions, I went outside to the parking lot and heard screaming, like a guy beating a young lady into submission. She came running by the church and I offered her a ride away from the violence. He then started chasing after the both of us. I brought her to the police, who noticed he had been beating on her face. He let her stay with them until the sheriff showed up. She was happy to be safe.

I asked the neighbor lady about it and she said it had been going on all day. “Stop it!” the victim would scream.

You just never know when you’ll be called upon. I was confident to help her because I had a piece of mind. I didn’t need it. But everyone has a piece of mind around here. Do you? Do you practice?

Anyway, time for Confessions and Mass again.

U

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Day-off: Getting professionally baited, you know, on purpose. ;-)

baiting

Waiting for boarding time for the trip to Rome, I’m noticing more old drafts that need sprucing up and publishing.

On my “day-off” the other week… month.. I returned the Sig Sauer P226 variant to “The Guy” (a label which can refer to any guy or number of people or group or groups of people in any number of places in any number of countries, right?). He lent his Sig to me to that I could see what a Sig is all about. He’s had it since the mid-1980s. I actually in the end didn’t like the grip, a bit like a revolver, almost the opposite grip-system as is found on a “normal” pistol, at least compared to my Glock 19 Gen4.

This time, our chat wasn’t a mere two or four hours. We went six hours non-stop.

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Before I could say anything at all – no, really, nothing – he gave me further lessons in shooting. Non stop talking. Like he was on assignment. Great, thought I, as I need all the help I can get. I didn’t say anything, just took it all in. Strange, though, as this time he was mentioning targets, as if they were assignments. Instructions were about how to kill as many people (all head shots) as possible as fast as one could pull the trigger, that is, how it is, counterintuitively, that one moves from one target to the next as fast as one can aim even while not quite aiming, if that makes sense. To real shooters it will. Imagine a row of small steel targets on springs but unevenly spaced and of uneven heights and all moving on horizontal bars in different directions but you able to get a “kill” each trigger pull as fast as you can pull the trigger. Its where your eyes are looking. Not where you think. This was scaring me, needless to say. I decided to let him just keep going to see where this was going to go. He was clearly baiting. Field guys aren’t always the best counterintel guys.

Before I could say anything at all – no, really, nothing – he gave me lessons in bomb making for all situations, for cars, for entire buildings, for suicide bombing – yep- or for events from which you could walk away before it happened, always looking for a reaction from me, a question from me, a request for clarification from me. I said nothing. I just watched the show of baiting. He described usage of Composition-C (C-4) and of other otherwise easily obtainable materials. On and on he went. And that’s not the first time he said he could actually obtain such things. I’m sure he must have been leaving out details – or perhaps all the details were entirely fictional – as I’m guessing that such lessons would otherwise be rather illegal. He knows I write this blog. I have to wonder what he’s up to. He didn’t mind that all-hearing-cell-phones were present… So…

terrorist suicide bomber

This is like the third time he’s shared bomb making, so I suppose he’s just venting about his life up to now in the military and The Company. But this was different with the detail, even named targets such as an elevator toward the top of the […!]. Was he looking for another partner in a group no one would suspect, you know, like, a priest? He spoke to that point rather incisively. I’m guessing these are not conversations priests casually have now and again. But, then again, this was a monologue. So, coming at that from a different angle, is he trying to frame me for some future event, or perhaps frame the guy who stole my identity, you know, if I took an interest in all this? It’s all too easy, isn’t it? But, whatever, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. For myself, I didn’t show any interest, ask any questions, or take any notes, or set any appointments to see some demonstrations. Nor did he push any of that. Probably just venting. Yep. That‘s what he’s doing. PTSD and all that. Fine. A bit weird all the talk on suicide bombs though.

Attempting to move on to a conversation instead me just watching a monologue for the longest time – as the hands of the clock were now spinning around – I recounted to him more of the baiting to which I’ve been subjected a few weeks ago by the GTMO guys with the bit about murder as “suicide” as an “assignment”. He said it was all perfectly familiar to him, that that’s how it’s done, how assignments are given out. Bingo, thought I. I asked: How’s that? He said it was all so familiar – expressly exclaiming this many times – but also signaling his recognition of details of what I was saying with his body language, point after point, nodding his head, smiling for just a nanosecond at this or that, pointing with a finger at any important detail… because, he said, this is all exactly the kind of thing he himself did, in detail, when he was stationed in France, baiting people, manipulating people, having people carry things out without their even knowing they were doing it at his bidding, expert, he thought anyway, at counterintelligence in a field-counterterrorism way. Why do things yourself if you can get your enemy to do them against himself for you? It’s all a rather murky world.

It gets so screwed up that in the end you don’t know who’s who and what’s what, whether the deep state is the real government or whether there are string pullers who make nations and governments a fiction and anything said to be deep into self-delusionary self-protectionist dramas lacking importance and influence on the world stage whatever individual players think of themselves. “The Guy” supported the view of just a few string pullers, while actual nations, including our own USA, are entirely irrelevant, unimportant, almost fictional. He himself, for instance, laughing at the upper echelon of The Company, in particular at Pompeo, then Director now Secretary, and Haspel, then someone providing enhanced interrogation now Director. Um…

Catching him off guard, I mentioned a possible connection down in the far western Florida panhandle. “So what?” he challenged, glaring me down.

Catching him off guard, I mentioned KSM singing after enhanced interrogation. This put him into controlled anger mode. He did well, but he was upset. To be clear, he was angry at the fact of enhanced interrogation being used, and his doubts that anything whatsoever actionable had been obtained in such fashion and where exactly did I get my information that KSM actually gave up anything actionable.

Mind you, it wasn’t all like this. We spoke of the faith. He also went on an on with social justice issues that he immersed himself into coming off of his ops. But in speaking of the faith there were a couple of topics which he himself brought up, as he always does, which put him into barely controlled anger mode, specifically anger against the Successor of Saint Peter, speaking not just of Pope Francis, but all of the Popes these past decades, none of them caving in on two topics, not caving in because of the truth of the matter (that being irrelevant), but because, he said, with white hot, momentarily shaking anger, because of power. They won’t give up on their power, he insisted again and again, with a crazy look in his eyes when he said ‘power’. The two topics making him so angry?

  • He supports divorce and remarriage (he’s happily married) because, after all, what difference does it make? This goes along with marriage for any reason, like LGBTQ “marriage”. I recall the Eritrean operative (Front of House for Pope Francis) who was murdered with the child in her womb as a shot over the bow when there was a referendum on “Gay Marriage” in Italy and there was huge pressure that the Catholic Church would make no intervention.
  • But the topic that made him really angry was that the Catholic Church teaches that women’s ordination is impossible regardless of any rite that anyone pretends to accomplish. It was like the Popes are interested not in truth, but just in ‘power’ because they follow the example of Christ.

Surreal, you say? No. Not at all. Actions against the Catholic Church are all about getting the Successor of Peter to cave in on but one matter of faith or morals, because after that, the Catholic Church is simply no more, because then Christ is a liar, the Church is as wishy-washy as anyone else, merely politically correct, a nothing, to be dismissed, which allows us, then, to congratulate ourselves, cursing God and feeling the power. Oooo! Power! He’s repeated very many times that these USA maintains a two-hour window in which we can assassinate any world leader. Some very few, one or two, might take just a bit longer, but it will happen very quickly. Think about that for a moment. The changing logistics needs massive teams just to be readied to do this in any given two-hour window.

Here’s the deal: Pope Francis wants his Missionaries of Mercy to go into and even beyond the peripheries, right out into the darkest of existential suffering, not necessarily to be successful, mind you, but to be a presence of mercy – at least the offering of it – for those who want it. In this case, it is to witness to the light of Christ regardless of the rage of the world.

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Day Off: church shootings, advice from diocese, best DQ with my Glock 19

priest glock

[Humor alert: no need to be triggered!] That’s not me in the staged joke-picture above that I gleaned from another priest’s site who took the opportunity a while back to make sure priests follow the directions of their respective (arch)dioceses in regard to firearms. Yay!

Anyway, the total amount of direction we got the other week from the Vicar General of the Diocese is that firearms shall play no officially mandated part of any plan for parish preparations for a critical incident of an active shooter on the church campus, a mass shooter during Mass, so to speak. And all the parishes are heavily encouraged to have a plan, the first part of which is always situational awareness.

Someone once asked the bishop about what he has surely said to the priests about priests having guns. His response was spectacularly that of a good American citizen, something like: Oh! I guess I’ve never had a discussion with priests about their rights as citizens in good standing as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. I love that response. A just and appropriate defense of self and others is a good thing.

Anyway, back to that staged joke-picture above: just to say, in case you were wondering: I do not have a holster like that as I do not have a light or laser on my Glock. I have not used a Hogue grip for a long time. I do not open-carry.  I do not carry on the side of the hip. Just not any of that, at all. Nothing. Zilch. Zippo. No. I don’t even have a set of green Roman Mass vestments. Get a life. Having said that, protesteth-ing way too much:

  • that’s not to say I don’t have a concealed carry handgun permit with its gazillion extremely thorough FBI criminal background checks;
  • that’s not to say I don’t have a Glock 19 Gen 4 that the factory down in Smyrna worked on a bit, they being very good to me;
  • that’s not to say I don’t keep my familiarity with my Glock somewhat sharp.

In fact, on the day off the other day at the hermitage I celebrated a minor victory with my Glock 19. Finally, a better disqualification, a better DQ, my best so far. I take what I can get. I was shooting the pre-Sept 11 2001 Federal Air Marshal course, which was ditched after the attacks for being too difficult. 5000 Air Marshals were wanted after the attacks. Only 50 could do this course. It was a fast, timed course used before flights. If you did it up right, you could fly. If you were 1/100th of a second over time on just one stage you were disqualified from the course and from flying, meaning you might just lose your job. The targets are small: just the “inside bottle” of the FBI QIT. But I use 7″ Styrofoam plates as an equivalent as they’re easy to set up with “pigtail” wires. Aim small, shoot small.

Finally, 100% and (even way) under time on the first five of seven stages. But then the sixth stage was overtime by some hundredths of a second, as was the seventh which I usually do in about half the time. But any overtime is a disqualification, a DQ. Rats. But, hey! That’s all progress for me. 100% accuracy but not as lightning quick as humanly possible is O.K., and leaves something to shoot for, so to speak. I enjoy it. I’d like to be able to do it cold barrel, and every time, with ease. Shaving off those milliseconds is important, right? Sorry, I’m being silly. I know some people have no sense of humor, especially with this topic.

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FBI Citizens’ Academy vs. Out of State Straw Purchaser at Walmart

straw

Doing some grocery shopping at Walmart today, there was an opportunity to stop at the ammo desk. There was a rough looking “family” (the “family” bit being doubtful) from a few states away. The “father”, looking every bit the mafia hit man, was now on his second day in a row harassing the retired law enforcement officers who were working at the ammo desk. There’s usually only one, but this mafia guy was clearly a threat.

The “father” was insisting on buying a concealable handgun for his underage kid by having the kid himself buy it, that is, with the kids own details on the purchase. The problem was that the kid wasn’t legally eligible to buy a concealable handgun. The kid had a super-apologetic look to him, as if he was sorry that he was being used by this “father.” They had another “family” member there, but he had incorrect details on his (false) ID. The “father” didn’t dare put his own information on the purchase.

One of the retired LEOs tried his best to explain that doing a straw purchase will end up with multiple people going to jail. The idea is that, for instance, the “father” is a felon who wants a gun but can’t get one himself. He uses some stooge to do the purchase for him and then acquires the gun from the stooge. That’s a straw purchase. The “father” just couldn’t understand. It was getting pretty tense as the “father” was obviously pretty desperate to get his hands on a gun. Of course, anything can happen. It was explained to him multiple times that he was on camera right then, right there. That didn’t work. I consider the ammo guys to be friends and didn’t want to abandon them. I tried to give the “father” a simple explanation of a straw purchaser and why he couldn’t do what he was attempting to do. He still couldn’t get it. I suppose I knew that would be the result, but by now the explanation wasn’t the point of giving an explanation. This intervention was a way of letting the “father” know that he would be outnumbered should he try anything stupid. Wow. The look he gave me then was very telling. But it was enough to get that storm somehow moving away from the desk and down the aisle and out of the store. Whew! Methinks that deescalation skills are becoming more important by the day.

I had a good chat with the retired officers after that. They were very relieved that it all resolved peacefully. Some people say that rule number one with disputes is not to intervene. Generally, that’s true, but every incident is unique and has to be appraised on the spot. This guy, with his little cohort of helpers, could easily have grabbed some guns and ammo followed by the unspeakable. But the intervention equaled the odds a bit. If you can nip it in the bud, it’s much better for all.

For those who are interested in being available for critical incidents, I recommend checking into the FBI Citizens’ Academy Community Outreach program which creates relationships through dialogue, as they say:

FBI CITIZENS ACADEMY

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Angels and dangers of complacency

angel face palm

I confess. This is my horrid sin: complacency.

Complacency is so horrid because it stops one from growing. It makes one overconfident, which is when mistakes are made. It’s a manifestation of pride, arrogance, self-absorbed, self-referential, self-congratulatory, Promethean, Pelagian. Yuck.

It all started when I was a kid, with escaping kidnappers and winning at fights otherwise to the death, and then with death-defying extreme sports. I figured I was indestructible because of thinking I was clever enough to get out of anything perhaps too happy to depend on guardian angels when I should not be testing them in the first place. So, how stupid was I? Answer: well, I think only my guardian angel could answer that adequately.

And then, even worse, complacency manifested itself with vehicles. In mid-teenage years, getting my first “cars”. The first I think was $50. A standard shift that was jump-started, meaning I had to park it on the downward side of a hill so that, in starting it again, I would run alongside the open door and jump in, throwing it into gear. Anyway, it took about a nano-second to go from (1) pushing the car around with the accelerator to (2) being one thing with the car so that it was like an extension of one’s body. That has one go to the limit with the car being just as immortal as I thought I was (at least acting that way much of the time).

I’m older now. I try to be somewhat self-aware. I try to be honest with complacency. This is not easy as by definition complacency militates against that honesty. Only God’s love, God’s truth can break through complacency. It’s a sign of complacency to think that we can successfully try to be somewhat self-aware, to be honest. But only God’s love and God’s truth can break through complacency. Well…

Yesterday, this “being at one” thing came up again. Not for any particular reason except my own deep-seated pride. But it just hit me that this is what just happened, a paradigmatic shift psychologically speaking. Here I am, complacent, once again.

This time, it occurred on the “day-off” at the end of shooting some courses  (FBI, Federal Air Marshal, DEVGRU, etc.). “Being at one” with one’s firearm, a step beyond “having” a gun (women, apparently, “wear” guns). The temptation with this is to be overconfident, which is when mistakes are made, such as thinking one doesn’t need to keep on edge by shooting courses (how many people do that?), keeping up on best-practices for deescalation, etc. (how many people do that?).

Mind you – and this is the stupid thing about complacency – it’s not that I had a spectacular day with shooting courses, like getting 100% on each course. Far from it. I sometimes go overtime. I sometimes miss.

An appropriate analogy might be getting the first level of a black belt, which is equivalent to what we call sophomore, a “wise-fool,” who is a know-it-all who is therefore unteachable. A first level black belt often looks for trouble. The top level guy, instead, will do everything he can to hide his skill, and then use it as little as possible so that he can just quietly walk away. A big difference, that.

Fortunately, recognizing the dangers of complacency was simultaneous to the temptation to be complacent. Credit for that goes, of course, to my guardian angel.

It would be good not to be complacent about recognizing the temptation of complacency. Psychologically, that’s basically impossible to our fallen human nature. So, I’ll ask my guardian angel about that. I’m sure he will be happy to smack me down in all charity.

When’s the last time you asked your guardian angel to smack you down with God’s love regarding otherwise unrecognizable complacency in any area of your life?

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Crackheads scoping home invasion

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The dogs are just playing. Note the no-teeth thing of Shadow-dog.

Home invasions usually take place during the day, not at night. The low-lifes wait until no one is home, usually during the day. And everyone else is gone, so no one is looking while they break in.

I was away at the supermarket and, I’m told by someone in the neighborhood who happened to be home, that a couple of crackheads were standing about 15 feet in from the road on the lawn scoping out the side of the house. He would know. He deals with the druggie “community” all the time. And it’s always the same people all the time.

Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog were letting them have it with barking. The dogs know who’s who right away. They absolutely didn’t care. And that’s what the firemen up at the hall told me, that professional robbers don’t care about dogs, as, without breaking their pace, they’ll just kill the dogs (using suppressors) and then smash through the doors or windows.

Anyway, that certain someone in the neighborhood told me he made sure that he had some wherewithal with him (though he could handle himself bare-handed) and then made it very obvious that he was noticing the presence of the crackheads. They then left. That’s when I came back.

I notice crackhead “gate-keepers” hanging out at the top of the street a couple of hundred yards away, especially recently, watching who’s home and who’s not I suppose, noticing when people do stuff or are away. Others “gate-keep” the opposite way, also a couple of hundred yards away, on some steps for our veterans memorial.

These’s guys aren’t always too aware of who they’re scoping out. Recently, one home-invader broke and entered into the home of USMC Sniper with a long list of confirmed kills, stealing most of his guns and huge collection of knives. That’s the guy you don’t ever want to do that to.

What a world. Heaven, instead, will be heaven.

Anyway, I’m happy to have Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog around.

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Guns and cripplely shooting (day-off)

glock 19 9mm gen 4

Above, when I started out a year and some ago. Below, the present state of affairs:

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Different phone-camera. But, other than that, and other than a bit of wear and tear, other than the backstrap being removed, there have been logistical changes. Those happened within a couple of months of getting the CCH permit. If you know what you’re looking at you know what you’re looking at. If I say “Yikes!”, it doesn’t refer to the lower picture, but rather to the one up top. BTW, in North Carolina, a CCW (concealed carry weapon) permit does not exist. The permit is abbreviated with CCH as a concealed carry handgun is the only weapon allowed in law. All others being carried concealed do carry a felony with them.

Since the last time I was out to practice the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course the leg went bad, again. I was wearing the metal brace, which is really nice, very helpful. But I was wondering how that would have an affect on scores, cripplely shooting targets like that. I wasn’t able to do the spin-from-180-degrees from cover stage, but – Hey! – you do what you can, doing that stage with its three targets just minus the spin. If I don’t take off points for that defect of course integrity, I did pretty well, getting 100% a couple of times. Well, not really. While I was way under time for some stages, I was also overtime on some parts of some stages, a disqualification. But I’m happier with greater accuracy than shaving off that hundredth of a second or so. But that’s the continuing challenge, crippley or not.

Other cripplely situations, like wheelchairs (with which I’m also very familiar), also draw unwanted attention. Those with nefarious intentions are also cowards, and so they look for those they think are vulnerable. Those who are vulnerable should be all the more prepared.

True story: an old guy in a wheelchair was in the parking lot of our one big supermarket in Robbinsville, trying to make his way to the store. But a young man with a knife came up to him demanding his money. The old guy in the wheelchair said that he had a question for the young man: “Why is it that you bring a knife to a gun fight?” And by that time the old guy in the wheelchair was already pointing his pistol at the young man, who then ran away. Hah! For those who think that is overkill, it’s not. A knife is a deadly weapon. Delivery of that deadly force is probable (demonstrated as a threat which inherently includes more than a threat) and imminent (right in front of you). The old guy wisely just let el creepo run away. I’m sure he had a good laugh. Stories like this can be multiplied.

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“Stop the spin, Father George.” “Genuflecting at Mass is forbidden.”

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A newly damaged again meniscus it seems.

  • I’m supposed to give up on the second to the last stage of the Federal Air Marshall Tactical Pistol Course during which one spins about from 180 degrees toward three targets seven yards away and each three yards apart from each other (I use a foam dessert plate 4.7 times smaller than the normal QIT target). The spinning bit, I’m told, is hard on the knees, which the knee doesn’t need for the foreseeable and perhaps unforeseeable future.
  • Also forbidden is genuflecting. I’ve been doing a half-genuflection (also difficult) or just bowing. I did full genuflections after the consecrations at Mass on Corpus Christi and both times the knee went CRACK! while attempting to stand up again.

[~break into cold sweat, pretending nothing happened, bewildered~]

And to think that I was able to genuflect perfectly just hours before. Perhaps some will understand why I defended ancient of days Pope Francis for not genuflecting when pretty much everyone was condemning him to hell for not believing in transubstantiation. Knees come and go even in the same person especially as one gets older. I’ll be over this soon enough. So, it’s almost like you can turn it on or off, but it’s not you who decide when you can go down on your knees or not; the decision is made by your knees. It is what it is. I have to say that I was impressed in celebrating Mass with Pope Francis recently, impressed that he held the Host and then Chalice up at the consecration for a long time – no, let me rephrase that – for a really long time, obviously personally entranced with the Most Blessed Sacrament.

I’m sure there will be some who will also condemn me to hell for not genuflecting. I remember when, while teaching in the seminary, the knee went awry for a while and I decided that it would be best to bow. Wow. The barking from some priests and seminarians was unbelievable. I went from being thought of as a believer to being categorized as a heretic in one second. Zero solidarity for suffering. Absolutely zero. Dismissed. Marginalized. Out in the darkest of existential peripheries. Why? Well, whatever. I guess I was already there. It just took that event to let me know how fickle people can be.

Anyway, while some are already busy writing posts on their blogs about how demonic I am for not genuflecting – just like Pope Francis – let it be known that I have had some trouble not only as a kid with my leg, but more recently, in Rome, in an accident, on which occasion the tibia turned front to back while the femur remained where it should, rubbishing the meniscus at the time. Two other accidents[!] saw the lower leg smashed to little bits and pieces, 25 in all, the first one requiring the cage pictured below (Piazza Farnese in Rome) with something like 5 screws from the cage into the tibia (as big as pencils) and 12 heavy wires going from one side of the cage to the other – that is, from the cage and into the leg, through the pre-drilled bone, out the other side of the leg to the other side of the cage – stabilizing everything, an invention created originally with some bicycle rims and spokes deep in a sulfur mine in Siberia. It’s better than months of perhaps useless traction and body casts but dangerous for infections. The other accident had to have an operation which removed the patella so as to drill into the top of the tibia so as to hammer[!] a tibial nail (as thick as a carriage bolt) right through bits and pieces and deep into the ankle. Hey! Why worry about any meniscus!

just me 07

So, the “Stop the Spin!” bit doesn’t refer to my writing. I don’t spin, though admittedly I do bait some few individuals when needed, when most appropriate, from time to time, even in this very post. :-)

The contraption on the left knee in the picture at the top of this post was just now lent to me from one of our retired Air Force parishioners who had worn it for years and now hasn’t had to wear it for a couple of years. The V.A. prescribed it for him, refusing to ever do any operation on any damaged meniscus, telling him that any rough edges just wear away over time. I don’t know if that was simply save-a-buck policy of the time and it’s different today or not. Some of you readers may know.

The brace itself is made of unbendable aluminum (which I would spell and pronounce differently as a kid (aluminium ail-lou-mini-um) since I guess we preferred the more scientific usage since 1812 (no prejudice to other periodic table elements like platinum intended).

forrest gump braces

Such a relatively smallish brace reminds me of the Forrest Gump scaffolding I was supposed to wear as a kid but didn’t, with my mom letting me get away with wearing orthopedic boots for some years just like in the picture immediately above. Perhaps I’m paying today for my negligence back in the day. The much smaller Breg X2K I’m now using would be super-expensive to purchase. Frighteningly so. Especially since I immediately see the benefit of the extensive scaffolding Forrest was wearing. The under-the-heal-of-the-boot framing keeps the bars where they should be.

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Last time you were at the gun range?

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Stage 3 of the FBI course (4, 4, 4 speed reload 4 – timed from cover, 16 rnd total at 21 feet). These would all be inside the inside bottle on more specialized QIT targets. Putting little foam dessert plates on political sign pig-tail wires is just easier. It takes zero time to change out targets or are easy to mark up with ultra-fat markers. Anyway, these should have a tighter group at the center of aim as this stage has no spinning from 180 degrees, or dropping to a knee, nothing. So, plenty of work to do.

I don’t go to ranges as you can’t do anything. No drawing from a holster, from cover, no spinning from 180 degrees, no rapid fire series. I go out in the middle of a private back ridge in the forests of WNC. But, that’s more recreation than anything. Going to a controlled range is important if you carry so as to do the drills you can, regularly. Forget the single shots. Do double taps, or drills involving two to the torso one to the head on the big targets you’ll have. There’s plenty you can do. Anything you do will help with readiness. That’s also a mindset. It’ll assist you also in keeping sharp with situational awareness (the opposite of paranoia: it’s about seeing ways to diffuse / deescalate situations). If you carry, or have firearms at home, when’s the last time you practiced with them? Is your carry permit up do date?

Carrying is a service. It does come with a price of initial layout, of training, or practice, and also of life and limb. Ironically, self defense comes at the price of being within the statistics that a carrier is something like four times more likely to be killed by gunfire than anyone else. Those stats are from ferociously anti-2nd-amendment crowd, so I don’t know about the accuracy, such as whether all those carriers were law-abiding. At any rate, I don’t think that such stats point to foolhardiness, but rather willingness to be of assistance even in dangerous situations. That’s not an evil way of life. Rather, it is just one more thing one can do for the common good.

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Unwinding old Glock grip for good

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Lots of stuff going on. I was very happy to have a day off the other day to unwind a bit, have a bit of recreation with the carry, doing up the FBI and FAM courses.

I really had to unwind my old Glock 19 grip in favor of another, and was surprised to see it all unwind and then come together quite immediately with the new grip as pictured in the foam dessert plate target above. This is pumping out a full magazine (15 rounds) fairly quickly at the maximum distance for NC State Qualification.

All the problems with the slide not locking back were, in fact, my “straight thumbs” grip (so that I was touching, even if just barely, the slide-lock), which I changed for a right over left thumbs grip. Wow. That was much quicker for aim, much more solid of a grip, and, because of not touching the slide-lock, the slide-lock locked the slide back when the magazine was empty. Finally. Surprising how habits can lock you into being entrenched in the wrong thing while you think you’re doing the right thing. It’s good to take the advice of others.

Putting up the FBI course, I was getting 100% until out at 75 feet. Then, as usual, some rounds went a bit wide for my reduced targets. So, only 90%. But that’s still a pass. I really should practice at that distance, but I don’t. It’s just so extremely rare than anyone would ever ever shoot at that distance. If someone is that far away, the question is whether you can’t just remove yourself from danger, though, of course, circumstances vary wildly as to why someone would ever do that (mass shooter, etc.).

Putting up the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshall course, I finally got 100%. However, it’s all invalid, I think, because I may have gone over some hundredths of a second on some parts of some stages (part one longer than the average, part two shorter, not bothering to do the average). More stages were way under the clock. What surprised me is that the thumb over thumb grip causes one to use more muscles in one’s forearms, so that there is actually noticeably much more control when doing, say, the one stage of the FAM course that had always been an extra challenge for me to do under the clock: at 21 feet out, one round in each of three targets each three yards apart (18 foot spread), starting by spinning about from 180 degrees (looking away from the targets) and from covered holster, spinning in one direction and then another (six rounds total) with 3.5 seconds for each sub-stage. [Disallowed in multiple ways on all non-private ranges.] This time all six rounds found the little foam dessert plates. But, there’s nothing smooth about it, confident about it, consistent about it. A good course is an anomaly. Unless this new grip really did do me some good.

I took a look at the FOIA provided MCOLES Firearm Standards for annual qualification (lots of great studies and advice) since it was mentioned by Mike the Cop. I wasn’t going to bother with it as it can offer stages that can be something like 1/3 the distance with a much larger target with two or three times the timing. But it does offer some some differences and those are always good. We’ll see.

I don’t know at all about the new police in my town, but the previous group, great guys, were all firearms experts with a wide variety of weapons, which is really good. Unprovoked aggression against police such as ambushes and assassinations is on the uptick, and more exposure to firearms practice, scenario training, and especially in situational awareness is essential.

 

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Lipstick for Glock slide-lock? Um. No.

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Just below the lower-right of the green flash-drive you see the slide-lock which keeps it all opened up when the magazine is emptied out. It’s never worked since I got this, my first and only pistol a year and some ago. A local Glock fanatic indicated that although the spring on the mechanism really is very loose, it may well be my fault anyway:

“Chamber a round. Then make sure the mag is empty. Put some lipstick[!] on the outside of the tab of the slide-lock, and shoot. You can wipe it off from the gun easy. The point is that if there is any lipstick on your right thumb after you shoot [with me being right-handed and having a ‘straight-thumbs’ style of grip], then you know that your grip placement is the problem, not necessarily the slide-lock. For all their fail-safe toughness, Glocks are super sensitive to anything touching the slide or slide-lock. Good luck.”

Smart, all that. But, no. It’s just not a possibility. So, instead, all I had to do was look at where my thumbs were when gripping the grip as if to shoot. Yep. The thumb was resting right on the slide-lock.

All this time. Live and learn.

But that means I’ll have to unlearn this grip of a year and some and adjust it or change it to a thumb over thumb grip, but this will be against all muscle memory.

All this time. Live and learn.

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