Ammo.Com: Asymmetrical Warfare and 4GW – How Militia Groups are America’s Domestic Viet Cong.

From Ammo.com.

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“It is interesting to hear certain kinds of people insist that the citizen cannot fight the government. This would have been news to the men of Lexington and Concord, as well as the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. The citizen most certainly can fight the government, and usually wins when he tries. Organized national armies are useful primarily for fighting against other organized national armies. When they try to fight against the people, they find themselves at a very serious disadvantage. If you will just look around at the state of the world today, you will see that the guerillero has the upper hand. Irregulars usually defeat regulars, providing they have the will. Such fighting is horrible to contemplate, but will continue to dominate brute strength.”Col. Jeff Cooper

When one discusses the real reason for the Second Amendment – the right of citizens to defend themselves against a potentially tyrannical government – inevitably someone points out the stark difference in firepower between a guerilla uprising in the United States and the United States government itself.

This is not a trivial observation. The U.S. government spends more on the military than the governments of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom, and Japan combined. Plus, the potential of a tyrannical government is arguably upon us – with the federal government spying on its own citizensmilitarizing local police departments with equipment and tactics from the War on Terror, and repeatedly searching Americans, which desensitizes them to this invasive process.

There is much historical precedent, however, for guerilla uprisings defeating more powerful enemies. For instance, the Cold War saw both superpowers brought to their knees by rural farmers – for the Soviets, their adventure in Afghanistan against the Mujahideen, and for the United States, the Vietnam War against the Viet Cong.

In both cases, nuclear weapons could have been used against the guerilla uprising, but were not. Even assuming the use of nuclear weapons from the position of total desperation, it’s hard to imagine they would have made much of a difference in the final outcome of either conflict. Unlike the invading armies, the local resistance enjoyed both broad-based support as well as knowledge of the local terrain.

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Now imagine such a scenario in the United States. You wouldn’t be the first person to do so. From Red Dawn to James Wesley, Rawles’ Patriots series, there is a relatively long-standing tradition of American survival literature about the hoi polloi resisting the tyranny of big government, either before or after a collapse.

For the purposes of this article, consider what a domestic American terrorist or freedom fighter (after all, the label is in the eye of the beholder) organization based on the militia movementwould look like in open revolt against the United States government. In the spirit of levity, we’ll call them the “Hillbilly Viet Cong.” They would most likely find their largest numbers in Appalachia, but don’t discount their power in the American Redoubt, or the more sparsely populated areas of the American Southwest, including rural Texas.

Here we have tens of thousands of Americans armed to the teeth with combat experience, deep family ties to both the police and the military, extensive knowledge of the local geography, and, in many cases, survivalist training. Even where they are not trained, militant and active, they enjoy broad support among those who own a lot of guns and grow a lot of food.

On the other side, you have the unwieldy Baby Huey of the rump U.S. government’s military, with some snarky BuzzFeed editorials serving as propaganda.

Could the Hillbilly Viet Cong take down the USG? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s difficult to imagine that the USG could take them down.

Indeed, even with a number of nasty little toys on the side of the federal government, we live in an age of a technologically levelled playing field. This is true even when it comes to instruments of warfare. While the USG has nuclear weapons, it’s worth remembering that a pound of C4 strapped to a cheap and readily available commercial-grade drone is going to break a lot of dishes.

This sort of guerilla insurgency has a name: It’s called fourth-generational warfare (4GW), and you might be surprised to learn that you already live in this world.

What Are the First Three Generations of Warfare?

To understand how 4GW is a new and improved form of war, we first need to explain what the first three generations of warfare were:

First-Generation Warfare

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The first generation (1GW) is basically what you would have seen in the movie 300. The hallmarks of this generation of warfare are armies from two different state actors leveraging line-and-column tactics and wearing uniforms to distinguish between themselves.

This generation is not entirely without subterfuge. For example, counterfeit currency was used to devalue the money supply during the 1GW Napoleonic Wars. Other examples of 1GW conflicts include the English Civil War and the American Revolutionary War.

Second-Generation Warfare

The second generation (2GW) comes with the advent of rifling and breech-loaded weapons. As students of military history know, the invention of rifling was one of the reasons that the United States Civil War was so bloody. This meant that firearms that were once mostly for show after 100 feet or so, were now deadly weapons – and tactics did not immediately evolve.

But evolve they did. Many things we take for granted as being just part of warfare – such as camouflage, artillery, and reconnaissance – are defining features of 2GW. The American Civil War is probably the first 2GW conflict. Others include the First World War, the Spanish Civil War and, much more recently, the Iran-Iraq War. The United States military coined this phrase in 1989.

Third-Generation Warfare

This phase of warfare, also known a 3GW, is the late modern version of warfare, where speed and stealth play a much bigger role. Weapons and tactics alone are less important. Instead, military units seek to find ways to outmaneuver one another before – or even instead of – meeting on the battlefield.

The era of 3GW was initiated with the Blitzkrieg, which marked the decisive end to cavalry and replaced it with tank and helicopter warfare. Junior officers were given more leeway to give orders. The Second World War was the first 3GW conflict, with the KoreanVietnam and both Iraq Warsbecoming further examples of this style of fighting.

What Is Fourth-Generation Warfare?

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The most direct way of discussing 4GW is to say that it describes any war between a state actor and a non-state actor. This is also known as asymmetrical warfare, but it’s not the only difference between 4GW and other, earlier forms of conflict. Asymmetrical warfare does, to be sure, blur the lines between combatants and civilians. This is in part what made the Bush-era “war on terror” so difficult and complicated: The war was against a set of ideas rather than a nation or even an extra-national army.

There are a number of characteristics that flow from the state actor vs. non-state actor aspect of 4GW. The first is the use of terrorism as a regular tactic, almost always on the part of the non-state actor. Particularly for the state actor, non-combatants become tactical problems – you simply can’t just carpet bomb and hope everything works out.

The non-state actors tend to be highly decentralized. One faction can stop fighting as another 10 crop up in its place. Funding and source of manpower and material comes from a wide array of sources spread out over nearly the entire globe. This necessarily makes 4GW long and drawn out over years or perhaps even decades. The psychological warfare, propaganda and lawfare aspects are an integral part of the conflict.

The genesis of 4GW lies in the Cold War and the post-colonial era. Insurgent groups and counter-insurgency groups vied for power, often times with state actors operating behind the scenes and in the background. Sometimes the goal was to establish a new state or reestablish a defunct one. However, many times the only goal was to delegitimize the existing state and create a power vacuum.

Places such as Laos, Myanmar, Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam, the Congo, Cuba, East Timor, Korea, Poland, and Afghanistan were all pieces in the global chessboard of the Cold War as various insurgency and counter-insurgency groups backed by the Soviets, the Americans, and/or the Chinese fought one another or fought against occupying forces.

What Is the Difference Between 4GW and Asymmetrical Warfare?

Put simply, all 4GW is asymmetrical, but not all asymmetrical warfare is 4GW. It refers to virtually any asymmetry in combat. This can be as simple as one military having more advanced technology than another – for example, the English longbow at the Battle of Crécy gave the English forces a decisive technological advantage. The Spartan forces were greatly outnumbered by their Persian adversaries and used the landscape to compensate.

In one sense, 4GW can be seen as asymmetric warfare come to full fruition. The less powerful forces must find a way to compensate for their relative lack of strength. On the other hand, the stronger forces must paradoxically find ways to compensate for their abundance of strength. This is because of the all-important propaganda war, an integral part of 4GW. State actors often seek deniability during war by proxy when engaging non-state actors.

John Boyd, Chuck Spinney, and 4GW

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Colonel John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Widely considered to be the greatest U.S. fighter pilot ever, Boyd developed the F-15 and F-16, revolutionized ground tactics in war, and covertly designed the coalition battle plans for the 1990-91 Gulf War. He foresaw 4GW, and he shunned wealth, fame, and power in his pursuit to get things done, despite the bureaucracy of the Pentagon.

Boyd closely studied Sun-Tzu (The Art of War) and Carl von Clausewitz (On War). This informed his push for greater adaptability and agility of United States fighting forces. Simple, cheap, effective, dependable, durable weapons were prized over flashy tricks. Decentralized command, control and communications were Boyd’s cause – looking for a way to avoid burying boots on the ground underneath layers of officers with potentially less field knowledge than they had.

Franklin C. “Chuck” Spinney became the voice of 4GW preparation after Boyd’s passing inside the Pentagon. He spent more than 20 years campaigning against rigid forms of thinking and budget bloat. Spinney believes that the 9/11 attacks should have been a wake-up call for the United States military, and sees 4GW as something beyond mere terrorism, but rather a new form of warfare. He believes the United States military is stuck in second-generation warfare thinking and is woefully unequipped for 4GW. Ultimately, Spinney believes that the United States military’s response to 9/11 in particular and 4GW in general was not enough.

Where Is 4GW Happening Today?

While many think 4GW is something in the far-off future, it’s actually happening right now. The most archetypal 4GW is perhaps the conflict with ISIS – a non-state actor with recruits all over the world in conflict with several states. Some of the conflict is classically military, but there is also the propaganda war taking place all over the Internet. In fact, ISIS was using the PlayStation network to communicate because they correctly believed it wasn’t being monitored by international intelligence services. These attacks on the West were not limited to the area controlled by ISIS, but extended all around the world.

Counter-attacking ISIS was a bit like trying to catch water in a net. Attacking ISIS proper was possible: There was territory. But attacking the support of ISIS was a whole other problem.

It’s worth noting that the international Islamist movement is not limited to ISIS. Al-Qaeda and its offshoots still exist. What’s more, they seem to multiply over time. This is another feature of 4GW. A state actor can make peace with one faction of a group while other, more militant factions simply retreat deeper into the metaphorical mountains to continue the fight – which is precisely the situation that the Republic of the Philippines has faced in its struggle against the Moros separatists of the Southern Philippines.

But the Philippines and Syria are all likely far away from where you live in terms of geography, sociology, demographics and culture. What does 4GW have to do with London, Paris or even Springfield, MO? Probably a lot more than you think.

Is 4GW Coming to the Developed World?

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Is fourth-generational warfare coming to the developed world? Quite possibly, especially when you consider the spectre of failed states in the West.

Many Western states are not quite as stable as they are made out to be. Sweden and France in particular have extensive problems with No Go Zones. Other parts of Europe want to secede, such as Catalonia in Spain, and are being violently suppressed from doing so.

Elsewhere around the world, previously first-world countries like South Africa are deteriorating in the span of a generation due to government mismanagement. The United States, for its part, is in what some have described as a “Cold Civil War,” with many futurists agreeing that the potential for outward civil war is greater than you’d like to think.

How might such a 4GW scenario play out in the West? There are two potential scenarios, one for Europe and one for the United States. Each of these is worth considering.

4GW: The European Model

For our purposes, we’re going to call this the “European Model” of 4GW. This is because this model is based on the political and social realities of life in Europe today. It is by no means the only place something like this could unfold, nor is it impossible that 4GW could unfold in an entirely different way in Europe.

4GW in Europe will likely be an outgrowth of No Go Zones and resulting failed states. Geographic areas within European nations will likely increase in size. And conflict will likely develop between the de facto areas of the No Go Zones, as well as more militant elements of the civilian population. While there is not much of a militia movement to speak of in Europe, in true 4GW fashion, people will find ways to improvise weapons out of what they have available to them.

It’s impossible to talk about this phenomenon in Europe without discussing the ethnic and religious character of the areas, as ethnic and ethno-religious conflict will likely be the infrastructure for such a war – especially since many of these areas have legal and social structures based on Islamic laws and customs.

In a scenario leading to a 4GW conflict in mainland Europe, attacks on civilians will escalate while the legitimate civilian authority is increasingly incapable of dealing with it. There will be both an inability and an unwillingness to maintain legal norms within larger and larger areas in Europe.

Next would come the formation of militias. The model here is close to what happened in Lebanon during its civil war. Militias will form around political, ethnic and religious lines. Some of these will be the No Go Zones attempting to consolidate their power. Others will be European civilians seeking to protect themselves and their neighborhoods from the growing power of the No Go Zones. This, in turn, will further fuel the breakdown in government control. Members of the government, both law enforcement and military, will increasingly pick sides in the conflict, leaving their allegiance to the rump state behind. In the end, this will make it more difficult for the state to assert its power.

The remaining government will begin taking measures against free speech and free association in an attempt to crack down and regain lost power. But at this point, the battle will mostly already be lost. Factions of the government will cease cooperating with one another, making it harder and harder to maintain order. These factions will, to varying degrees, start lining up behind the militias and parallel legal structures that have begun cropping up at the street level. This will also be the time foreign governments will step in and begin supporting local militias more. An example of this is Serbian-backed militias in Croatia and Bosnia during the Yugoslav Wars, or Israeli support of Maronite Christians and Iranian support of Shiite Muslims during the Lebanese Civil War.

Crime will increase, but not just petty street crime. Insurgent movements have a long history of using organized crime to fund their operations and the 4GW conflicts in Europe would be no exception to this. The drug trade, human trafficking and financially driven kidnapping are three examples of how militias will fund themselves using extra-legal means. This will serve as an additional cause to restrict freedom of movement through both de jure and de facto means within a nation’s borders, another case where the Yugoslav Wars and Lebanese Civil War are instructive cases. Conversely, refugee scenarios will develop, which will further complicate the situation.

4GW: The American Model

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The American 4GW Model is somewhat different and is based more on ideological and political differences than ethnic and cultural ones – though the ethnic and cultural differences will play a role, as we will soon see.

In the United States, the federal system of government can play a key role. For example, while the prospect of a gun ban causing the peasants to pick up their pitchforks and torches is unlikely, a scenario where states simply refuse to enforce the law is far closer to the realm of possibility. Consider that this is already starting under the Trump Administration – cities and states are refusing to comply with the President’s directives on federal immigration law. Flipping the script, it’s worth wondering just how much state and federal compliance a federal ban on AR-15s, a high tax on ammunition, or a call for widespread registration would generate.

This could happen one of two ways: Leftist states like California and Massachusetts balk at a new federal law, or more conservative and libertarian states like Arizona and New Hampshire refuse compliance. It’s worth noting that states themselves are not monoliths. California is largely still a conservative state outside of Los Angeles and the Bay Area, while several municipalities in deep blue Massachusetts went for Trump. On the other hand, Arizona has blue enclaves like Flagstaff and New Hampshire’s cities vote almost identically to Boston.

The red state / blue state divide is very real, but it also exists within states as well as between them. In the event that a cleavage between the two political and cultural halves of America started, this divide would become increasingly unstable within the states themselves.

Unlike Europe, the United States has a homegrown militia movement that is heavily armed and, to varying degrees, ready for battle. When the AR-15 is talked about as a “weapon of war on our streets,” it is frequently mentioned in the same breath how an insurrection in the United States would never stand a chance against the modern weapons of war wielded by the federal government. This would be news to the Viet Cong. People who make such statements are unaware of the dynamics of 4GW.

While the political aspects are very real, so are the demographic ones. In particular, there is the spectre of the Scotch-Irish in Appalachia. These are a people with hundreds of years of long skepticism (and often outright hostility) toward the federal government. It’s also, geographically speaking, a very difficult place to conquer. Eric Rudolph evaded the feds for five years in the mountains of North Carolina, despite being on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.

This segment of American society has a significant connection to both the police force and the military. Simple suggestions that local police, SWAT teams or even the military will be quick to crush such a rebellion are ill-informed on two counts. First, the aforementioned one: In many cases, the military and police who are being sent out are going to be friends, family and intimates of the Hillbilly Viet Cong. What’s more, due to the extensive military experience in this area, many of the foot soldiers of an anti-government rebellion centered in Appalachia would not only just be trained, but also battle-tested. Divided loyalties always play a role in 4GW, and the United States will be no exception.

The weapons of war are leveled in 4GW. There is air war by drones, but also the role of computer hacking, kidnapping and other unsavory activities. The point of 4GW, from the perspective of the underdog, is less about “winning” in some quick and dramatic fashion, and more about dragging out the conflict as long as possible, causing the dominant power to lose through blood loss and death by 1,000 cuts.

Consider the Vietnam Conflict: Between the end of the French occupation of Vietnam in 1954, through the Fall of Saigon when U.S. forces abandoned the city to the Viet Cong, the American Vietnam War lasted approximately 20 years. And that doesn’t count the seven bloody years of French occupation post-WW2, when French colonial forces lost approximately 100,000 troops attempting to put down the guerilla movement in Indochina.

Finally, there’s the U.S. government’s track record in 4GW. The United States does not have a solid track record of being able to defeat guerilla insurgencies. From the Filipino Insurrection in the late 19th century to the current Afghan insurgency – the United States military can make inroads against 4GW actors, but it’s never really able to seal the deal.

4GW in America: The Battle of Athens

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There is a history of 4GW in the United States and we don’t need to go very far back to find it. In 1946, there was an uprising of the citizens of Athens, TN (in McMinn County) to reestablish the rule of law. The story illustrates how American patriots resisting domestic tyranny can succeed in their struggles.

Citizens of Athens had complained about election fraud since 1940. The town was filled with battle-hardened veterans from both the European and Pacific theaters of World War II. This filled them with a militancy that did not exist before the war. Several citizens of Athens had complained, but the administration of Franklin Roosevelt did nothing, perhaps because the town was ruled over by an entrenched Democratic Party machine.

First, the men ran one of their own, a GI named Knox Henry, for sheriff. They wanted fair elections, so they petitioned the FBI to monitor, a request which was denied. The machine, for their part, imported 200 strong arms to “protect” the polling places from voters. In one case, a deputy pointed his revolver at a GI, ejecting him from the polling station and telling him “If you sons of bitches cross this street I’ll kill you!” Poll watchers were arrested and in one case, a black poll watcher was shot. Finally, the party machine locked the ballot boxes up in the county jail.

Despite lacking in numbers, ammunition and arms, the veterans used the key to the local armories belonging to the State and National Guard. This evened the score considerably. They went to the jail house and requested the release of the ballot boxes, but were rebuffed with the sheriff’s men shooting two of the GIs. A firefight erupted and the GIs were reinforced by men from neighboring Meigs County and their IEDs. Eventually, the sheriff and his men surrendered, releasing the ballots.

After obtaining the ballots, the men cleaned and returned the weapons. The GI candidate was elected sheriff and several others were elected to key county positions.

This demonstrates 4GW in miniature in the United States. For those concerned about nuclear retaliation or other heavy guns the USG has, it’s worth noting that the underdog can always obtain some of these weapons by hook or by crook.

The Militia Movement and 4GW

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No discussion of 4GW in the United States would be complete without touching on the militia movement, something specific to the U.S. While Europe has a history of factions in the military who oppose the government (the French Secret Army Organization is the most famous of these), it does not, to nearly the same extent as the United States, have men actively training in the woods getting ready for civilizational collapse or 4GW.

The militia movement began in the early 1980s, when it was known as the Posse Comitatus movement. It exploded (no pun intended) after the attack on the Oklahoma City Federal Building and the showdown at Ruby Ridge. By the mid-1990s, the militia movement had a presence in all 50 states and was comprised of approximately 60,000 people.

Note that the militia movement is no longer limited to the political right. Left-wing organizations have begun openly training with arms since the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016. In any kind of 4GW scenario in the United States, it’s likely that these two strains of the militia movement would come into conflict with each other, as well as the United States government. And don’t forget about the narcissism of small differences that tends to plague fringe political movements – the most bitter enemies in a 4GW conflict in the United States will likely be competing factions of left- and right-wing political movements.

Skills Required for 4GW

Combat isn’t the only helpful skill for 4GW. If you’re concerned with 4GW and want to get ready for everything to go down, here’s a list of skills for you to acquire in preparation for 4GW.

  • Weapons Versatility: Let’s just get this out of the way. Combat training with a variety of weapons is important for 4GW. This is because in 4GW, combatants often have to use weapons commandeered from their enemies. What they capture can vary widely from what their unit ordinarily uses.
  • Survivalism: Knowing how to live off the land is an indispensable skill for any SHTF scenario, and 4GW is no exception to this rule. 4GW combatants must know how to hunt, fish, trap, track, stay hidden, find potable water, and prep game.
  • First Aid: Any time there’s combat, there are casualties. 4GW requires the knowledge of first aid at the very least. Knowing other medic skills is a welcome addition to the toolkit as well.
  • Physical Fitness: Those involved in 4GW combat will have to walk long distances, often with a lot of weight strapped to their back. Being in top physical condition can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Navigation: 4GW combatants need to know the area, but they also need to know how to find their way around unfamiliar terrain. That means without electronic equipment, and instead using items like compasses and maps.
  • Demolition: This might also be filed under weapon versatility. Demolition is a big part of 4GW for depriving the enemy of a base and cutting off lines of communication and transit.

Many of the above skills are just as helpful when it comes to general survivalism, so you don’t have to be getting ready for 4GW to make them worth acquiring. And as with any kind of SHTF preparation and training, we hope you never have to use what you learn.

 

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Sooner Or Later Dana Loesch Will Shut Up.

Folks, I think it’s time to figure out what noisemakers like that idiot Dana Loesch is really trying to achieve on behalf of the pro-gun movement, because if we don’t, we’re going to waste an awful lot of time being concerned about something which I think has been completely misunderstood by our friends in the mainstream (i.e., liberal) media like The New York Times and MS-NBC.

dana              Of course the GVP needs all the help and allies it can get. But such relationships shouldn’t foreclose a basic responsibility we share to make sure that when it comes to the public debate, we get it right. And the reactions by many of my media and GVP friends to statements from Loesch which are usually referred to as being beyond anything which should be said in public simply are wide of the mark.

I’m talking about her new video trailer which has her about to burn a copy of The New York Times but then she pauses and says, “You know, I don’t even have to do this. You guys are doing a good enough job burning down your reputations all by yourselves.” Our friends at Media Matters posted this video and now the expected responses are coming in about how Loesch and the NRA are enemies of the press, the 1st Amendment, the usual bit. Home-school Queen Dana has been going after The New York Times for the past year, with this video being just her latest attempt to show her audience how outrageous, insulting and fascist-leaning she can be.

Want to know what’s really behind her continued attempt to say the most outrageous and provocative crap coming out of the mouth of any employee of the NRA? Take a look at the January NICS background checks which just came out.  Handgun checks were 501,638, which is the lowest January total since January 2014. Month-to-month long gun checks, 2016 to 2017, were down by 25 percent!  These numbers don’t represent just a little slippage in gun sales, they represent what could be the beginning of an industry-wide collapse.

What I find most funny in Dana’s continued attacks on ‘the old lady’ (a.k.a. The New York Times) is what has happened to the stock price of the ‘failing’ New York Times since Dana first began her rants.  A year ago the stock price was $14.80. Even after the big sell-off earlier this week, the current price is sitting at $24.80. Yea, talk about the paper failing away.

Now let’s compare the ‘failing’ New York Times to the recent stock history of a company called American Outdoor Brands, which used to be known as Smith & Wesson until the management, fearing that Hillary would be elected President and would shut down the gun business decided to rebrand themselves with a new name that would make everyone ignore the fact that 88% of company revenues still comes from the sale of guns.

When Dana first started spieling for NRA she presented herself as just another Mom who carried a gun in order to protect herself and her kids, the strategy being to open the female market to guns. If that approach is working, it sure hasn’t done much for Smith & Wesson or American Outdoor Brands or whatever they now want to call themselves.

Dana then set to work pushing the new NRA training and insurance program, Carry Guard, which has a whole big, two classes listed on the program website – two classes in the whole country? That’s right. Two.

Dana’s obnoxious rants against The New York Times are nothing more than a stupid and obvious attempt to retain some social media following now that the gun business doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of revival or long-term strength. Which is why the best thing my friends in the mainstream media and GVP could do is to should simply ignore her because sooner or later she’ll do us all a favor by shutting up and going away.

A New And Different Book On The 2nd Amendment.

I hereby issue an invitation to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, a radical activist and author who has just published a book about guns: Loaded – A Disarming History of the 2nd Amendment – to attend my gun safety course that is required in my state – Massachusetts – before someone can apply for a license to own or carry a gun. The reason I want Ms. Dunbar-Ortiz to visit my gun class is I think she might gain some fundamental correctives about why some but not all Americans are so invested in the ownership and use of guns.

loaded             The author’s thesis is that today’s gun culture grows out of an amalgam of racist ideologies and practices which justified gun ownership as a necessary adjunct to the settlement and exploitation of the wilderness with the consequent destruction of Native American communities, followed by the subjugation of the few surviving indigenous peoples as well as African-American slaves. Since this process could only be accomplished by armed force, the 2nd Amendment was inserted into the Constitution to give legal sanction for the emergence of a nation state ruled by white men. I think that’s what she’s trying to say.

The reason I would like Ms. Dunbar-Ortiz to come to my class is because she will spend some time with some folks who may decide to purchase and own a gun after they finish my safety course, which means going to the local police department, getting photographed and fingerprinted and having their backgrounds checked. Is there the slightest possibility that a single person in this class gives one rat’s damn about how the Wampanoag Indians got chased out of the Bay Colony in 1676 by a bunch of white men who wanted more land? That may sound like a pretty heartless thing to say, but such thoughts are the furthest from anyone’s mind.

Ms. Dunbar-Ortiz would like us to believe that current-day gun ‘culture’ isn’t just a figment of the gun industry’s fertile imagination to create the idea that guns are necessary to protect us from real or imagined harm.  In that respect she critiques the study by Pamela Haag (The Gunning of America) of how Winchester marketed its products noting that this work too narrowly construes the importance of the 2nd Amendment in justifying the conquest of Native American lands long before the Winchester Repeating Rifle helped ‘win’ the West. What Dunbar-Ortiz ignores is the fact that the tool which wiped out Native American society wasn’t the gun, it was the plow. Hence, the decision by Winchester to concoct a marketing scheme.

I am sure the students in my gun safety classes would respond politely to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s attempt to make the 2nd Amendment the deus ex machina for everything and anything having to do with guns. I also suspect they wouldn’t really understand anything she says. Because the truth is that folks who decide they need a gun to defend themselves aren’t going to spend one second thinking about whether the gun they buy and the Constitutional statute which protects that purchase has any historical or cultural meaning at all. They are going to buy a gun because they believe in some fashion or another that having a gun will protect them from crime.

I support gun ownership but I don’t support the idea that anyone should walk around armed just because they think it’s the thing to do. They need lots of training and they need to meet a government-mandated proficiency standard before they can walk around carrying a gun. And none of those requirements in any way limit or threaten so-called 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

I only wish that someone as experienced and knowledgeable as Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz had written about the 2nd Amendment in a manner that would make her book accurate and relevant when it comes to the issues of safe gun use that gun-control advocates deal with every day.

As for the final sentence of her book about ‘you’ll never have justice on stolen land.’ How profound.

Dave Buchannon – Make A New Year’s Training Resolution.

I hope you had a wonderful, peaceful and joyous holiday.  Now that you’ve digested all of those wonderful holiday treats, you’re probably ready to make some resolutions for the new year and I, for one, would like to see every gun owner make a resolution to train more frequently.

training2Now I’ve heard the complaint that it is expensive to practice your shooting skills frequently, but before you pick out your first class seat on the complaint train, let’s put “expensive” into perspective.

Back a few years I used to golf every Saturday morning with the same three guys.  We’d travel to different courses in our region because we’d always heard that some course “over there” was better then where we played “over here,” actually we just enjoyed playing different courses.  We didn’t play highbrow courses, we sought mostly nice municipal and private courses that were open to the public.  The point is, we usually paid around $35 each for a round of golf, which didn’t include the lost balls or the round of beers at the 19th hole.  We all considered thirty-five bucks a reasonable price to pay for a half-day of fun in the sun.  More importantly, our wives were all willing to pay that much just to get our butts out of the house for a while.

Today I can run down to my local sporting goods store or gun shop and pick up a box of 50 rounds of pistol ammo for about $12, and I do not live in an inexpensive region.  So for right around what I used to pay for a single round of golf I can buy 150 rounds of pistol ammunition… without any coupons or discounts.  Of course that doesn’t include the cost of my rod & gun club membership but that’s a sunk cost, meaning if I joined the club I’m paying for it whether I train once a year or three times a week.

So for about the same cost as a weekly round of golf I can get in at least two hours of training, even more if I’m pacing myself correctly.  The reality is that most of us get bored after an hour on the range, so in the future I’ll share some drills to help keep your range time interesting while building important skills.

But what if your limiting factor is time instead of money?  Or what if it’s difficult for you to get to the range, or what if you belong to one of those clubs with a range that’s so busy the only slot available is next week are at 2:30 am on Wednesday?  Find another club. Really.  Not all training though, has to involve throwing real lead downrange, there are some serious training alternatives you can use right at home.

If you want to improve your skills, laser pistols are great for training when you can’t get to the range.  There are a number of options you could cash those holiday gift cards on at one of your favorite online retailers for a reasonable price.  Avoid the temptation to go cheap.  As with all things in the gun world, you get what you pay for.  A well built laser trainer will give you years of service and you can even set up your own laser range with targets that respond to ‘hits’ and ‘misses.’  There are laser trainers that replicate the size and weight of most carry weapons fairly well.

You can get the same effect with a ‘laser bullet’ inserted into the barrel of your carry weapon.  These are like tiny laser pointers that fit into the barrel of your pistol like a cartridge would.  When you pull the trigger, the firing pin presses on a little switch and ‘fires’ the laser so you can see it ‘hit’ your target.

Want to practice your holster work?  Most ranges won’t allow it.  So spend a few dollars on a blue gun replica of your carry weapon and you can practice your draw and re-holster to your heart’s content without even the remote possibility of an accidental discharge.

So for 2018 resolve to train more, you really can afford it.

Dave Buchannon – Developing Muscle Memory.

You are walking down a busy city sidewalk when the world falls apart about 50 yards in front of you.  A sound like dozens of firecrackers going off causes dozens of pedestrians in front of you to part like the Red Sea.  A man with a large pistol in his hand is running down the sidewalk directly toward you.  You are armed.  As the bad guy approaches, he raises his pistol toward you.  What do you do?

buckyYou’re armed.  So what?  Can you put your hand on your gun safely? Quickly?  Do you know how to do it without looking or fumbling with your clothing, pocketbook, backpack, or wherever you’ve chosen to carry?  If you’re carrying a pistol, are you certain about how it’s loaded… is there ‘one in the pipe’ or do you need to ‘rack the slide?’  Where’s your extra ammo?

That’s a lot of questions, but if you require more than a split-second to answer them, you need to put the gun back in the safe.  I don’t mean to be rude, but you shouldn’t be carrying a tool capable of killing someone until you are solidly proficient in the most basic techniques, first and foremost is how to draw and present your weapon… safely.

Police officers learn to put their hands on their weapons, draw them safely, and move into any number of “ready” positions without taking their eyes off the threat or direction of movement.  Cops can’t hesitate or fumble around because even a half-second delay could result in serious injury or worse, mishandling might cause an accidental discharge.  They learn the same way you or I do, by practicing their “draw” over and over again.

Once upon a time I golfed every week, and even took a lesson or two to improve my barely mediocre game.  The lessons didn’t make me a better golfer, but they taught me that the average person needs 1,000 repetitions of a new movement to develop effective muscle memory.  So it’s reasonable to expect you’d need to practice your draw at least a thousand times before you no longer have to think about it.  Keep that in mind.

Begin with the unloaded gun you intend on carrying and the holster that’s most comfortable (most of us have more than one).  Did I say the gun must be unloaded?  You really only want to do this with a gun that is unloaded.  Have another person check to make sure the gun is unloaded.  Get the point?  Are you sure?  Good. If you live in an apartment, please find someplace else to practice this drill.

There are three rules:  the gun must always be unloaded, even though the gun is unloaded your finger must never touch the trigger, and there must never be anything between you and the ‘target’ or anywhere behind it.

First: place the unloaded gun in the holster and put it on.  Find a ‘target’ with no living things behind it – mine is a light switch that I particularly hate that’s on a wall with an acre or two of woods behind it.  Second: move any garments aside and put your hand on the gun, establishing a good, firm grip.  Third: draw the gun out of the holster and point it at the target (remember, no finger on the trigger).  Fourth: put the gun back in the holster and remove your hand.  Fifth: repeat for at least five minutes.

As you build repetitions with this drill you will quickly get to the point where you no longer need to look at the gun to draw it from the holster.  In short order you’ll get to the point where you won’t need to look it back into the holster.  In fact, try keeping your eye on the target – that’s what police officers are taught.

Keep going, and keep count.  By the time you get to 1,000 repetitions you’ll feel comfortable enough to begin safely carrying your gun outside the home if you so desire.

 

 

 

The Army Has A New Pistol But They Still Have To Learn How To Shoot.

Last year the U.S. Army decided to replace the Beretta M4 with a new battle pistol, the M17 made by Sig.  This is now the second time that the military has decided that no American gun maker can produce a handgun that works well enough to be carried by our troops in the field. Sam Colt and D.B. Wesson must be rolling over in their graves.

sig army              If we can’t design and manufacture a small arm that can make the grade, I would assume that at least the soldiers who will carry this new gun will at least know how to use it in the proper way. But thanks to a link in The Firearms Blog sent to me by one of our Contributing Editors, Dave Buchannon, I’m not sure that this is the case.

The 101st Airborne has released a video of some troops firing the new gun; they also have posted a bunch of pics on a Flickr site, with one pic (above) showing some kind of big-shot officer playing around with a gun. Of course he knew the gun wasn’t loaded, he’s only standing in the middle of a shooting range and everyone knows that guns are never loaded at a range.

But leaving aside the fact that Major Whomever-He-Is probably hasn’t held or shot a gun since who knows when, what I really found interesting are the numerous pics of soldiers actually banging away inside the range, in many cases with what appear to be firearm instructors telling them how to proceed.

I have to assume that these pics are going to show up in some kind of training manual for the men and women who have to learn the ins and outs of shooting the M17. And the reason I say that is because every gun manual that I have ever seen always comes with a chapter on the do’s of firing the gun as well as a chapter on the don’ts.  And I can tell you without fear of exaggeration that some of the photos of this gun being shot are definitely candidates for being put in the don’ts chapter; they certainly shouldn’t be included with the do’s.

There’s a pic, for example, of a Ranger holding his right hand around the grip and his left hand underneath the grip, what we call the ‘teacup’ style of holding a handgun, which basically means that you are trying to control the gun with one hand.  Now one-handed shooting works great in fast-draw contest at the turkey shoot held at my local range, but it’s not something you want to do when you’re trying to keep a military weapon on point of aim.

Then there’s another great pic, this one I really like, of a trooper whose left thumb is rubbing up against the slide. If he presses the slide hard enough with his thumb the gun might jam, if his touch is a little softer the felt recoil will basically result in his second shot going God only knows where.

If these pics represent how our armed forces have been trained to use a handgun I simply don’t understand why the military bothered to select and buy a new gun at all. The gun looks nice, it has a pretty sandy-colored finish and it comes in two sizes I guess because female soldiers usually have smaller hands. Actually, the smaller size is known as the ‘compact’ model, which will probably end up being worn by officers since the grunts are supposed to carry more weight. Either way, the U.S. taxpayer is going to be laying out $580 million bucks for a weapon which as far as I can tell, the troops don’t necessarily know how to shoot it straight.

For all we know, within a few years it won’t matter whether our military will know how to use any weapon at all because everyone’s talking about future conflicts being fought only with drones. If that happens, maybe we’ll see a lot of surplus Sig pistols coming on the market the same way that the Colt 1911 will be arriving soon.

Dave Buchannon – Why I Teach Gun Safety.

 

Don’t hate me, I teach people about guns.  More specifically I teach a state certified firearms safety course to people from all walks of life who want to own firearms legally and lawfully.  And I hope you won’t be offended, but the battle to protect “our Second Amendment rights”, politics, or gun violence prevention are not part of the curriculum – nor do I write about them.  Safety and responsible gun ownership are the primary rubric for this course, which everyone must take before applying for a License to Carry (LTC).

trainingIronically, in a state with some of the toughest gun laws in the country, students can pass the required safety course, get their LTC, buy a gun and walk around with it without ever having fired a single round.  Not in my class, where you have to fire five rounds at a target and I’m less concerned about your score than I am that you get a sense of what it feels like to actually establish a solid grip and stance, point the gun correctly, and pull the trigger to make it go BANG!  The sights, sounds, and smells aren’t for everyone, and that’s just fine.  But if you’re thinking of getting a gun, you need to know it feels like to shoot one.  A small handful of students have fired the first shot and put the gun down because they didn’t like it.  They didn’t like it one bit, and that’s okay.  At least they know what it feels like.

I teach, because I enjoy sharing my interest in guns with other people, especially those who are interested but haven’t been exposed to them.  On the other hand, I’ve been interested in guns since childhood – the first book I ever borrowed from my elementary school library was “Guns of the American West.”  Imagine that, a GUN book in a school library being checked-out to a second grader!  My father hunted with an old lever-action rifle but that and a snub-nosed 38 special were the only guns in the house until I got my Daisy BB gun on my 11th Christmas.  Despite being so sick I could barely get out of bed on Christmas morning I spent the next three days launching a whole milk carton full BB’s at a makeshift target set up in our garage.

Ten years later I was on the range in the Police Academy, for forty hours of extremely intense training and scoring.  What might sound like a lot of fun was really five days of grueling  work – ah, who am I kidding… it was a blast!  A ton of serious information that emphasized responsibility, skill building, instantaneous decision-making, focus, control, and responsibility, but it was also a lot of fun.  Yes, I did write “responsibility” twice, on purpose, because the responsibility for every round fired was emphasized constantly.  I still carry those lessons with me to this day, and I teach in hopes that every student leaves the classroom with a tiny sense of that same responsibility I felt after range week.

I also teach gun safety because a close friend of mine in junior high school accidentally shot his older brother while playing with the revolver their mother kept hidden in her nightstand.  The older brother died, the younger was horribly affected and lived a life haunted by that event.

I do not teach gun safety for the money, I worry a little bit about those who do.  Building a teaching practice sufficient to replace day-job income requires creating a sense of need. You “need” this training because it’s a dangerous world where attackers are lurking behind every tree and hiding around every corner.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Statistic after statistic and study after study have proven that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than having to defend yourself with a gun against a violent crime.  Want to protect yourself from a home invasion?  Don’t become a drug dealer… simple as that.  I cannot name a single time in 30 years when I needed to defend myself against violent attack, but if you think you’ll be safer with a gun, learn everything you can about the gun, and more importantly, the law.

I teach because I really enjoy teaching, and I really enjoy guns.

Be of good cheer!

When It Comes To The Armed Citizen, One Good Scam Deserves Another.

Once upon a time there was an organization called the National Rifle Association, started out by two Civil War veteran officers who were concerned because most of the troops they commanded in the war didn’t know how to shoot. In those days the Federal Government built a national army by calling up militias from the states and these militias were comprised of volunteers who showed up with their own guns. So the idea behind the NRA was to prepare civilians for military duty before they were called up because we didn’t yet have a military draft and we didn’t stick new draftees in boot camps in order to teach them how to march, fire their weapons and other military things.

CG             Once we began maintaining a ‘standing’ army either with draftees or volunteers, the whole idea that we needed to train civilians in the proper use of firearms disappeared.  But just around the same time (post-1900) that hunters like Theodore Roosevelt and naturalists like George Grinnell realized that hunting was inextricably connected to conservation, America’s ‘oldest civil rights organization’ began combining safety training and marksmanship with sport and preservation of the outdoors as its primary goals.

These themes predominated in NRA messaging until the 1980s when open range started to disappear along with the hunters who took guns out to the country to engage in sport. In fact, the whole definition of ‘outdoor sports’ veered away from hunting and fishing to embrace hiking, camping, trekking and kayaking down a whitewater stream rather than sitting in a rowboat and casting a line into the pond.

If the gun industry and groups like the NRA hadn’t discovered a new reason to buy and own guns, there would be no gun industry.  And the new reason, as we know, is the idea of using guns for self-defense which previously had been nothing other than a marginal issue basically to justify the manufacture of the little teenie-weenie pocket guns like the Baby Browning or the 1908 Colt.

This is not the time or the place to discuss why some Americans have recently decided that the only thing which stands between their survival and complete annihilation is access to a gun.  Suffice it to say, however, that the armed-citizen subculture is invariably promoted by Gun-nut Nation and certain pro-gun sycophants as being much larger and more vibrant than it actually is (the lack of attendance at the recent concealed-carry expo in Milwaukee being a case in point.) Nevertheless, since concealed-carry appears to be the only issue that is keeping the industry alive, there’s no end to the new products being rolled out to meet market demand.

And one of those new product lines is the concealed-carry insurance program, Carry Guard, being sold by the NRA.  Today I just received an email from Carry Guard which gives me the opportunity to download a ‘free guide to lawful self-defense’ basically a come-on for selling me the insurance package that will ‘protect’ me in case I have to pull out the old banger and bang away.

The guide, written by ‘experts in the field,’ offers advice on such issues as: What to do with my gun after I shoot someone; how much should I talk to the police; what should I say to bystanders, etc.  In other words, the information in this guide is designed to protect me after I used my gun to protect me.

This guide is so stupid that either the NRA believes its members would score below the idiot level on an IQ test, or they really believe that people will always respond to any ‘free’ offer, or maybe both. If anyone spends one second considering any legal advice from anyone other than their personal attorney, then they deserve to get scammed. Which is exactly what this Carry Guard product is – a complete scam. But since the idea that walking around with a gun will protect you is simply not true, one good scam deserves another, right?

Want To Play A Live Video Game? Try NRA’s Carry Guard.

Fast on the heels of their floparoo NRA Carry Guard expo in Milwaukee, the boys from Fairfax are now ramping up their promotion and huckstering of the insurance and training products that are aimed (pardon the pun) at what they believe to be the ‘armed citizen’ market whose potential will somehow make up for the fact that gun sales continue to go down.

training             The latest FBI-NICS numbers confirm that it ain’t that rosy in Gun-nut Land, with handgun and long gun background checks for August down 10% from August, 2016 and dealer sales of handguns for the first eight months of this year down more than 10% from the year before.  Meanwhile, the stock price for Smith & Wesson (oops, sorry, it’s now something called American Outdoor Brands) has now dropped to $13 bucks a share, having been up to more than $28 the day that You Know Who shocked the world by finishing in first place.

On an earnings call last week, S&W President Jim Debney announced some more bad news, saying that shipments of both long guns and handguns were way down in the last quarter and that quarterly revenue was off by 40% from the same quarter last year. Our friend John Feinblatt told The Guardian that the Springfield gun maker acquired Gemtech, an outfit which produces silencers, in order to bolster overall revenues. Let me break it to both John and Jim gently: When consumers stop buying guns, they also stop buying all the accessory crap and paraphernalia which goes along with guns.

So what do you do to boost revenues when your product market is saturated? You sell services which enhance the value or the utility of the products that are already owned. And here is where the NRA seems to be leading the pack by rolling out their new brand, Carry Guard, which so far consists of insurance protection and training for folks who want to walk around carrying a gun.

The Carry Guard insurance is advertised as ‘America’s Most Complete Self-Defense Insurance Program,’ but if you believe that hype, you probably also believe that Martians keep landing at Area 51.  Recently a writer for a concealed-carry blog posted a comparison between the Carry Guard insurance and the insurance offered by the United States Concealed Carry Association, and if the comparison is accurate, I can only say that the NRA product basically offers a lot less and costs more. The Carry Guard program also gives you ‘access’ to the training program but anyone can sign up for the ‘gold standard’ training courses whether you buy the insurance or not.

And what exactly are these new training courses? Here’s what they say: “The mission of the NRA Carry Guard instructors is to provide the skills, education and training necessary for today’s changing conflict space.” Would someone please explain the phrase ‘today’s changing conflict space?’  Are they talking about all those antifa people who are going to assault you while you’re strolling down the street?

You can sign up for a three-day, live-fire course which costs $850 but you must bring 1,500 rounds of ammo which will run another $300 or more. First you learn the ‘fundamentals,’ such as stance, grip, holster draw, sight alignment, blah, blah, blah. Then after shooting your 1,500 rounds (that’s 100 hi-cap magazines over 3 days) you get to play some ‘real world’ training scenarios with Airsoft guns (those are toys, by the way.) In other words, over a long weekend you’ll progress from a complete novice to an expert at protecting yourself with a gun, right?  See how well your hands hold up.

The NRA started as a training organization and as a trainer certified in six, different NRA specialties I can tell you that when it comes to defining how to shoot a gun safely, America’s ‘oldest civil rights organization’ has it down pat. But Carry Guard isn’t training, it’s video gaming with live guns. What do you expect, now that the video-game generation has come of age?

 

 

 

When It Comes To Gun Training, The NRA’s No Longer The Only Game In Town.

For years the gun violence prevention (GVP) community has lamented the fact that they do not have the strength or the financial muscle to compete with the NRA. And even with Mayor Mike’s help, pardon the pun but too often people who want to see an end to gun violence find themselves organizationally outgunned. But all of a sudden the boys in Fairfax are finding themselves challenged by the growth of another pro-gun organization which looks at gun ownership from a very different point of view.

training             I’m referring to the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) which started out as nothing other than an internet sales gimmick known as ‘tribal marketing’ which generates revenue by attracting (and retaining) consumers to internet sites; the idea being that the longer someone remains connected to a website, the more crap they will purchase from that site. And the trick is to make your web visitors feel that they have some special identity or interest which sets them apart from everyone else. And if you can find a single group of Americans who feel more special than the people who actually believe that they need to carry a gun around, let me know.

Like every other pro-gun sales organization, the USCCA got started by attaching itself to the NRA.  They had a booth at the annual NRA show, they used slogans about concealed-carry that were right out of the Fairfax playbook, and their basic product, CCW insurance, also copied a long-time NRA tradition of offering its membership with financial services that would protect their guns.

But the one area in which the USCCA could not compete with the NRA was the area in which the NRA has always ruled supreme, namely, the training area. After all, the NRA was founded as a training organization, currently has more than 125,000 trainers certified and enrolled on its books, and has developed training courses which most states use as the required training curriculum either for getting a gun license or qualifying for LTC.

The degree to which the NRA has always held sway in gun training, however, is now being challenged by the USCCA. Not only does the USCCA hold an annual Concealed Carry Expo, whose exhibitor list contains the same lineup of gun and accessory companies which display their wares at the annual NRA show, but Tim Schmidt’s group was booted out of this year’s NRA show so that America’s ‘oldest civil rights organization’ could unveil their newest insurance product, a real scam deal known as Carry Guard, without having to compete with the USCCA.

Where the USCCA also appears to be placing itself directly in a competitive situation with the NRA, however, is over the issue of training, where Schmidt and his organization are developing a national training initiative which is an exact copy of the NRA’s training network, including a process for certifying trainers that the NRA has been using for years. Right now it appears that USCCA is running, at best, about 10% the number of training classes that the NRA runs each month, but they do have classes listed in more than 20 states which isn’t a bad start.

What I find most significant about the USCCA’s growth, however, is that it seems to be happening without the crazy drift into rhetorical looniness which now characterizes the public face of the NRA. No astoundingly stupid, insultingly ignorant rants from Dana Loesch, no conspiracy theories from Wayne-o which, by comparison make Alex Jones appear calm. The USCCA’s message about ‘protecting loved ones’ is nothing more than hype, but at least it’s hype which stays within the bounds of rhetorical decency and good taste.

The USCCA says its training program sets an ‘industry standard’ but the truth is there is no training ‘industry’ nor is there any accepted ‘standard’ for gun training at all. Because this would require that gun groups take the one step they are afraid to take, namely, to advocate required training for anyone who wants to walk around with a gun.