I get the feeling that you appreciate good quotes. Am something of a
small time collector of quotes and bits of good writing myself. Here's
one for you.
"You're in love, aren't you?"
"Yes," Thomas said.
"(Insert profanity of your choice here)," Sir Guillaume said in exasperation. "Love! It
always leads to trouble."
"Man is born to it," Thomas said, "as the sparks fly upwards."
"Maybe," Sir Guillaume said grimly, "but it's women who provide the
bloody kindling." ("Heretic", Bernard Cornwell)
"Live and learn, lad. If you live."
What I like about you is that I think you are a seeker of Truth and don't
come across as a know-it-all. I think you are honest and open-minded.
Those are two rock solid fundamentals the seeker of Truth must have if he
is to have any hope of being successful in the search.
I am a big believer in paying attention to lessons learned by the
experience of others. Broadens out your data set considerably as opposed
to the limited experience and mental capacity of a single individual. So
I like to go back as often as possible to see what the Old Boys said.
The survivors. Some of that is baloney and hollow rhetoric and may not
apply any more. But some of it is right and we need to pay attention.
As the old song says, "The fundamentals still apply, as time goes by."
The problem with lessons from the past is that they are quickly forgotten
and have to be learned again over and over, often at the cost of blood,
sweat, tears, pain, agony, suffering. Winston Churchill put it this way:
"Never despise your enemy is an old lesson, but it has to be learned
afresh, year after year, by every nation that is warlike and brave."
If you want to think about Stopping Power, I refer you to Chapter VII in
"Shooting to Live" by W. E. Fairbairn and E. A. Sykes. If you don't have
a copy in your library, by all means pick up one and re-read that chapter
every now and then to keep your feet on solid ground.
"But they were restricted to ball ammo and we now have much improved
ammo," you will say. Maybe we do. Or maybe we don't. If you get too
much expansion you will lose penetration and a round may be stopped by
thick winter clothing, bone, or simply by hard muscle. Simple ball ammo
that provides the penetration needed to reach vital organs may be the
better choice. Particularly when shot in small pistols or revolvers with
short barrels that don't provide the velocity needed for HP rounds to
function properly. Given the choice, I will rely on penetration first and
not be overly concerned about expansion. And always bear in mind that
bullet placement trumps caliber.
We were taught that situation and terrain determines tactics. You need
to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to go all out,
know when to run. Situational Awareness is a basic fundamental you need
to drill into your students. Awareness can save your butt. Lack of it
can get you killed. --- "A Snyder squibbed in the jungle. Somebody
laughed and fled. And the men of the First Shakaris picked up their
Subaltern dead. With a big blue mark in his forehead and the back blown
out of his head." --- A single round fired from a Single Action .45 in
a dark room and Billy the Kid was dead on his feet. --- A shotgun blast
from ambush in the empty desert and Pat Garret was dead on his feet.
All the strength, vigor, agility, and quick reaction time you may have
when young will fade to weakness and trembling if you live long enough to
reach old age. Old age is the ultimate enemy. If you don't die first it
will drag you down. You end up half deaf, half blind, with uncertain
knees and legs and slowed reactions. Might be good to bear in mind that
you really don't have to reach old age for those conditions to kick in.
Sickness, wounds, drugs, or alcohol can do it to you in minutes.
One of the defining characteristics of humans is that they are infinitely
capable of self delusion. To recognize Reality is one of the biggest
problems we face in life. As Mollie Brewer's grandfather, a cattleman on
Tongue River in Montana, said, "They say we live and learn. We all live
but damn few learn."
Maybe the biggest problem we face is the one of distinguishing between
True Reality and Perceived Reality. Culture plays a big part in that.
Culture matters, race does not. Change the culture and all the rules are
When young, iron sights served me well out to 600 or 1000 yards. I could
see rifle and handgun sights clearly and down range too.
Sometime in my late 40s I had to start using reading glasses to see
newsprint or handgun sights clearly. Sometime in my 70s I lost all
vision in my right eye to macular degeneration. I get along fairly well
now with the one eye and reading glasses but things are pretty fuzzy
without them. The older and less physically capable I became the less I
shot long guns and the more I depended on handguns.
I used to shoot tight groups offhand on 3 x 5 index targets with a
variety of pistols and revolvers at a range of 21 feet. Began to have to
use glasses to do it.
In the last twenty years have focused mostly on close-range combat
shooting for personal defense. Quickly realized you cannot rely on
seeing sights well at such times. Statistics tell us that most such
encounters occur in low light conditions. I began to practice shooting
in low light conditions to the point of almost total darkness. If you
got a fair number of hits on the 3 x 5 target you were a survivor. If
you got no hits at all you were dead.
Also quickly realized you can't depend on having glasses to improve your
deteriorating vision. In quick-breaking confrontations you won't have
time to find your glasses or put them on. Or you will lose them in a
struggle or other violent physical activity. Then you are not only half
deaf from gunfire but also half blind.
I started practicing this close range combat type shooting with no
sights. A friend and I took all the sights off a Glock pistol and began
shooting with it in a variety of light conditions on an 8 x 10 inch sheet
of paper at 21 feet. Using the outline of the gun itself we could
consistently get 4 and 5-inch groups on the target as long as there was
light enough to see the outline of the gun and the target itself. That
experience pretty much carried through with all the pistols and revolvers
I worked with, the flat-topped semi-auto pistols being the best. Just
come down until the topline of the gun goes to a flat line and shoot.
Jim Cirillo talks about this type of sighting in his book "Guns, Bullets,
and Gunfights"--calling it "the weapon silhouette point." It is a
practical low light shooting technique. Also works well for an old man
with poor vision who can't find his glasses. "It will get you through
the night," as a Deputy Sheriff friend of mine says.
"But you are young," you say, "and have excellent eyesight and don't need
glasses." Lad, you are about to get snakebit if you depend on that. You
don't need to wait until you are old to have deteriorating vision. Dust,
sand, smoke, wind, rain, sun in your eyes can wreck your vision in
seconds. As can a wide variety of aerosol sprays readily available in
any grocery or convenience store.
The lesson learned is that you cannot depend on strong physical condition
and good eyesight to carry you through a close-range personal defense
situation. You had better devote some serious practice time to working
on no-sights shooting techniques. That and the drill may well be what
saves your young butt.
"You can learn from where you've been, but you've got to go from where
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- Just Another Savage!
- I’m a Southern Boy, just 56 last November, I get around here and there, Central America, Africa, Red Bay. I’m a Father, Grandfather, Husband, Artist and general flunky of sorts. Live in a little historic town in an old building I remodeled. Just wanted to hear myself think I guess, talk about the need of simplification, show some art, express an interest or two, brag on my dogs and see where it goes. That’s it!, That’s the deal, Thanks