In medicine, grave circumstances sometimes require toxin-anti-toxin therapy: poison against poison. Chemotherapy may make a cancer patient feel sick in different ways, but it can save the patient’s life; therapeutic radiation may have ugly side-effects and therapeutic amputation literally costs you a part of your body, but if it takes the cancer away and saves your life, it’s an acceptable price. Having to kill another human being is a traumatic experience, but if it saves your life and/or that of another good person, it was worth the ordeal.
That’s something well understood by Dr. Richard Carmona. Under President George W. Bush, he served four years as Surgeon General of the United States. Prior to that, though, he had overcome being born poor by joining the Army, becoming a Green Beret medic and gaining combat experience in Vietnam, and thereafter working his way through medical school. He went on to become a pioneer of the SWAT physician concept: a doctor capable of performing emergency surgery if necessary right there at “the sharp end” to save a life when someone took a bullet. Dr. Carmona performed that function for the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, headquartered in Tucson, Arizona.
It was in that city when, in 1999, he was off-duty and came upon a vicious psycho with a gun who was about to murder a woman he was carjacking. Unknown to Dr. Carmona, that man had earlier murdered his own father. Carmona instantly drew his department issue Colt .45 auto, and saved the innocent woman’s life. In the course of that gunfight, he was wounded by the killer, but his own accurate gunfire killed the gunman.
I met Dr. Carmona early in this century, when he was Surgeon General and a guest speaker at an annual conference of ASLET, the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers. Many years later, I was able to sit down with him in Tucson and interview him.
That interview is now available for you to download for free at the ProArms Podcast.
I respectfully submit that what he has to say is very much worth the time it will take you to listen to it, and I herewith publicly thank Dr. Carmona yet again for making it available to you.
Several weeks ago, I was signed up to take Mikey Hartman’s instructor course in IDF (Israeli Defense Force) style combat shooting with rifle and handgun. Unfortunately, a member of my extended family came down seriously ill, and I had to bow out to be of assistance on that. Fortunately, our loved one recovered and is now OK, but I hated missing Hartman’s class.
Mikey Hartman is often described as the guru of IDF shooting techniques. I talking with him at length over the phone after missing the class, and it became clear that TODAY’S combat doctrine for IDF is not what it was years ago, though some on the gun-related Internet might have you believe otherwise.
For instance, except for the closest of close combat, Mikey tells me that the doctrine of Israeli combat shooting is definitely “aiming,” not “pointing.”
Below are links where you can read about the class that I (dammit!) had to miss:
Just finished our first class of 2017. Good to be back in the saddle. Thanks to ace instructor John Murphy who hosted us in Springfield, VA.
As a rule, the evil princess and I take off from teaching from mid-December to first week in February. It’s not a vacation – we use the time to get caught up on writing, podcasting, accounting, etc., and to squeak in a few shooting matches if we can. More of a sabbatical than a vacation.
Always good to get back to teaching, though. When I was a kid, I figured teaching must be one of the worst jobs imaginable: teaching the same thing over and over again to people who didn’t really want to learn it.
There’s teaching, though, and there’s teaching. In the kind of adult ed I do (http://massadayoobgroup.com) nobody’s there to get a ticket punched: the students are there because they WANT to learn, and that makes all the difference. It’s why I love doing what I do.
I know a lot of you reading this teach something to somebody sometimes. Share here what you like about it…and what you don’t.
The mood was upbeat at this next to last day of the SHOT Show as we awaited the January 20 inauguration of the most pro-gun President since maybe, oh, Theodore Roosevelt.
Interesting gun news: it was announced today that the Army will adopt as its new pistol the SIG P320. The announcement comes as a surprise to many. The Glock 9mm had been seen as the front-runner. After all, though, the contract was for an MHS – Modular Handgun System – and the P320 with convertibility in size and even caliber is as modular as the state of the art offers right now. The Army is also very big on manual safeties. That’s an option on the P320, and while this feature is not mentioned in the press releases thus far, photos accompanying the releases depict P320s with ambidextrous thumb safeties.
Lotsa new stuff this year. Some is good new stuff. Case in point: the MantisX Training System. It’s a module that slides onto your firearm’s accessory rail and coordinates with your Apple or Android device. Live fire or dry fire, aim at something and shoot. You’ll get a readout of how smooth and consistent your trigger pull was and, in the last instant, registers where even a “shot from an empty gun” would have hit. It tracks gun movement the whole time. The police department I serve IS gonna have one of these!
Some of the new stuff is…well…remember the classic gun book from 1955,“Firearms Curiosa” by Lewis Winant, with items like palm pistols and belt buckle guns? If Mr. Winant had been around to attend the 2017 SHOT Show, he would have found enough material for at least one new chapter.
There was a customized folding semiautomatic pistol in two variants, one of which when unfolded turned into a Glock with no trigger guard. There was an updated version of the pre-WWII Mossberg Brownie pistol with six barrels instead of four, which fires two .25 Auto barrels per pull of the trigger. The Evil Princess was particularly horrified by a holster that she and I figure can cost the shooter his or her life in at least three different ways. (1) The safety strap appears to be narrow enough to enter the trigger guard upon reholstering, causing the pistol to discharge as it is pushed the rest of the way into the scabbard. (2) That Velcro-closed strap, when secured on a holster designed to be worn inside the waistband, goes to the bottom of the holster requiring the shooter to reach so deeply down into his or her pants that they’re unlikely to be able to get a proper hold on it to pull it clear if they have to draw to save their life. (3) The holster is demonstrated with that safety strap going over the back of the grip panel, so with a proper drawing grasp, the web of the hand is likely to hold the strap against the gun and trap the pistol so it can’t be drawn readily in self-defense.
Overall, though, there was lots of good stuff, and a total “kid in the candy store” element for any gun enthusiast lucky enough to cruise the miles of aisles. Evil Princess logged five and a half miles on her FItBit at the Show today. I spent more than half the day in meetings and was spared some of that exercise. Lucky me.
SIG P320 with factory optional ambidextrous manual safety.
The compact MantisX training system is a stone cold bargain at around $150.
The SHOT Show goes far beyond just guns. One of the hottest accessories today is the sound suppressor – silencer – which is riding a huge wave of popularity that has yet to crest. My old friend Jeff Chudwin is a retired police chief, several-time national patrol rifle champion, head of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, and one of the great street survival gurus of all time. He has flatly stated that he thinks every police patrol rifle should be equipped with a silencer. Not just for tactical reasons, but also because of the risk of hearing loss in training with very loud guns. He cites the case of an officer he knows who lost 50% of his hearing when a brother officer fired a 5.56mm M4 rifle near him in the course of an on-duty shooting where naturally, no one was wearing ear protection. Today’s silencers are better than ever, and we have gun-makers such as SIG and Ruger making their own.
For some time now, the SHOT Show schedule has included not just show and tell/show and sell, but training. Some of it has to do with marketing and management for firearms dealers and shooting range owners, but some of it also has to do with survival. Some highly-credentialed people are teaching initial police response to mass murder incidents, and offering tactics for unarmed civilians caught up in such atrocities.
Today some of us from Massad Ayoob Group took a well-attended class on firearms dealers’ role in suicide prevention. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has joined with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to help gun dealers recognize customers with suicidal ideation in hopes of denying those people the means to carry out impulsive self-destruction. Though some have the impression that this is a new concept, it actually follows in the footsteps of the New Hampshire Firearms Safety Coalition under Elaine Frank, and the Gun Shop Project spearheaded by gun shop owner Ralph Demicco, an active member of NHFSC. This program puts suicide prevention posters and literature into the shops themselves, and offers training for gun shop staff on how to pick up subtle indications of suicidal ideation. There have already been “saves” with it, and many other states have developed programs modeled on New Hampshire’s. It is good to see a national organization picking up that ball and running with it, given that some two-thirds of the “deaths by gun violence” that prohibitionists cite as a reason for you and I not to own firearms are in fact suicides.
Christine Moutier, MD, Chief Medical Officer of AFSP yields the microphone to Bill Bussard of NSSF at SHOT Show suicide prevention lecture.
Latest variant of Ruger Mark IV .22 pistol, the 22/45 lightweight, mounts Ruger’s own suppressor. Handy thing to have around farm or ranch. Yes, suppressor requires BATFE licensing.