Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A snappy answer to a stupid question

As usual after any mass shooting tragedy, the anti-gunners have been spouting their propaganda once more, including the tired old canard "Who needs a 100-round magazine?"  It makes for a cute sound bite, but has little or nothing to do with reality - particularly because most shooters can change magazines pretty quickly when necessary (as we'll see below), rendering the question moot.

Congressional representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky had a great answer to that question.

Nicely put, sir!

I don't have any very-large-capacity magazines for my rifles, because I've found too many cases where they jam or cause problems.  That's not to say there aren't some very good products out there, but many are of questionable reliability.  (Also, they're very expensive compared to standard-capacity magazines, and I'm not on a government budget!)

By the way, the often-touted 10-round magazine size limit, that some want to impose on all handguns and rifles, won't do much, if anything, to slow down someone who wants to kill a lot of people.  Indiana Sheriff Ken Campbell produced this video a few years ago, using "ordinary shooters" like you and I to demonstrate the point.  I highly recommend watching it, and using it to defend standard-capacity magazines against that sort of uninformed attack.  After a series of text slides, the live action gets going at about 1m. 45sec.

Ken Campbell has since retired from law enforcement, and is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Gunsite Academy in Arizona, founded by the late, great and sadly missed Jeff Cooper.  If you want some of the best firearms training in the country, whether for civilians or for law enforcement, it's a great place to visit.



CDH said...

Seriously flawed video. The vast majority of shooters in real life situations would run to slide lock, which adds significant time to the reload cycle. Again, real life is not a shooting range. Besides, his video could just as easily support the argument that mag size doesn't matter since mag swaps are so quick. The 'inexperienced' shooter is obviously sill fairly smooth and knowledgeable. Again, hardly the epitome of John-Q-public.

Uncle Lar said...

On the contrary, both shooters demonstrated that it pays to practice.
Whatever their mag capacity each fired one short with the first and one extra with the last.
Thus demonstrating the importance of practice including keeping track of rounds fired.
They fired in every case to empty the magazine and leave a round in the chamber which eliminates the need to hit the slide release upon inserting the new mag.
Of course for whatever reason I have the natural ability to keep track of shots fired, either my own or by other shooters. One of several reasons that movie gunplay will drive me to distraction.

Tam said...

You mean former Boone County, Indiana Sheriff Ken Campbell, currently COO at Gunsite?

Will said...


Yes, the format of the video test was badly done. That video should have been used by the sheriff to figure out where his mistakes were, instead of showing it publicly. Too many uncontrolled variables clearly exhibited by the shooters and the resulting numbers. Embarrassing, actually.

BTW, the Sandy Hook shooter left a trail of partially filled mags as he moved thru the school. He never ran a mag dry, IIRC.

John at ASP showed a video of an IPSC/police trainer a couple days ago, and again pointed out how virtually everyone in the ~5k videos he has seen have been shown shooting with just one hand. The IPSC shooter may have been hit before he began shooting (something like 4 seconds! to draw from concealment), but he did hit multiple attackers before they got their car moving.

A fair percentage of shooters have been off-duty police, but even in uniform, they default to one hand. In some cases shooters have something in their support hand they did not drop, and still attempt to use both hands, which clearly doesn't help in control.

I'm thinking that more practice time devoted to one hand shooting might be wise. What are your thoughts?

The other point he hammers on is that virtually no one in a gunfight reloads their gun. What the gun contains is all you have, so don't shoot so fast that you miss and waste ammo you may need. Reasons seem to be: your opponents leave, or drop, you drop or leave, in that order of possibilities.

capt fast said...

being a USAF trained marksman and skilled in airbase defense, years ago, I became very familiar with M-16 and several of it's derivatives. We used MAC .45 cal machine pistols and M60 and thirty eight specials six guns back in the day, yes, cowboy guns. Biggest mags for the M-16 were twenty rounds using ball ammo. Full auto was frowned upon, it makes you a target and you won't hit anything. Grazing fire is best left to your friend the belt fed weapon. Unlike LEOs, military used to not account where every single round went
I have found the thirty round mag with twenty five rounds loaded to be very resistant to jamming. those mags which jammed more than once got destroyed. An AR-15 or carbine has a lot of ...presence. The newer ammo options enhance the lethality of the weapon. That said, I prefer an 12ga shotgun at home. CQB at home demands absolute target identification as there will not be any survivors. Ammo selection, as I had said enhances lethality; your shooting a weapon not a nerf toy.
I have serious doubts I would survive an all out gunfight today, as I am almost 70 and a physically large human at 6'4" and it makes me a great target.Probably have an heart attack if you shot at me today. hiding behind twelve inch barricade leaves more than half my chest exposed. So, my training has been for aggressive response to an attack to make the attacker duck. going to bite it anyway so I am going to take the bastards with me.
basically, never piss off an old man with a DD-214. It would be like opening a box of chocolates, you never know what you will get.

Peter said...

@Tam: Oops! Sorry - my bad. Fixed it.

Mark said...

I’ve followed your blog for a number of years and find a lot of the articles both interesting and challenging. From my perspective in Australia, I must admit that some of the articles related to firearms in the perspective of the American environment are difficult to relate to.
I’ve had the privilege of visiting the United States on numerous occasions and I’m aware of your history, culture and views on many matters. These must be sufficiently attractive to me in order to keep drawing me to visit your beautiful country. However, like most Australians we are continually shocked by the number of firearm-related deaths in America and, in particular, the high incidence of mass shootings.
Even as I write, there is an active shooter in Philadelphia and 6 police officers have been shot.
Firstly, let me state that I’m not anti-firearms. They are a tool like anything else and many of my relatives living in rural areas need guns to shoot feral animals, put down injured stock etc. Also, I see the attraction of the use of guns for sporting purposes, particularly when being used by skilled, vetted and enthusiastic shooters.
The difference between Australia and the United States is that in the latter, firearms almost have a totemic significance. In Australia, we question why we have to live with guns, in America the question is how could you live without guns.
Australia’s response to the shooting deaths of 35 people at Port Arthur in 1996 is an example of our attitude to firearms. To cut a long story short, whilst there were stout defenders of the status quo, the vast majority of Australians were not prepared to pay the price of having easy access to large numbers of firearms if the potential of repeat offences was the price to be paid.
Certainly we still have people who get shot by criminals, by accident or as the result of domestic violence. I would chance to say that we’ve probably got the same percentage of bad guys, angry people and mentally ill people as the United States. What we don’t have is the easy availability or the use of firearms as the “go to” way of expressing that anger or frustration.
The result is that whilst the number of per-capita incidents in Australia is probably similar to the States, rarely do they escalate to the extent that people other than those directly involved become killed or injured. As an example, 2 days ago, a young man with a history of mental illness ran through the main streets of Sydney brandishing a knife. Sadly, one woman was killed (earlier in an apartment) and another wounded during the spree. Luckily, due to our firearms laws he had no access to guns and the huge number of potential victims was reduced as a result.
Whilst modern life requires you to be situationally aware of your environment, we can’t imagine having to be so alert as to be actually expecting to react to someone intent on mass murder in a supermarket. We would be askance if we required armed guards at our schools.
Every mass shooting is in itself a tragedy. Even more tragic is the easy availability and reliance on firearms in America means people have to be hyper-alert to the danger as they go about their routine lives. The focus on the right (and almost the responsibility) to be armed means that people need to live their lives like a lottery, just waiting for the inevitable ambush to occur and being ready to respond if it does.
Do people really want to live this way, waiting their turn to be the subject of the “hearts and prayers” response?
I know that we’re unlikely to agree in these matters but I think it useful for others to be exposed to our experience. Our world can be a better place in so many areas when we learn from others and be aware that alternatives exist.

Ritchie said...

It needs to be stressed that in a political setting, arguing over technical details is *completely* beside the point.

Will said...


what most people in other countries don't understand about the US is what sets us apart from them. We went to war with England when they tried to disarm the colonies. This was actually a war of succession from them. If they hadn't been so stupid, world history might be considerably different! After the war, the various states demanded certain guarantees from the nascent federal government. That became the Bill of Rights, which were chains on the government, intended to restrict how they treated the citizens.

What eventually came to be number two of that fairly short list of negative government rights was that there were to be no limits on civilian owned weapons. That included cannon armed ships! The basic purpose of this right was to allow the people to be able to remove the government when they got too overbearing. Our Founders actually expected this to happen on a regular basis, as it is human nature for a certain percentage of people to desire power, and to control others. Frankly, we are long overdue for a government reset, but, as history will show, when things are going well, too many people get complacent (fat, dumb, and happy). The socialists/communists in our midst are about to make the same mistake that England made. Probably just a few years, maybe ten, tops.

It only takes a brief look at history to see the results of allowing any government to disarm their people. The current example would be Venezuela. People are starving, and the government's response is to kill anyone who disagrees with their idiotic policies. >>People always need to ask themselves, what is the government planning on doing (to them), that they fear an armed population?<< THAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION YOU CAN ASK. They don't fear crime, that is just an excuse. In fact, they increase crime when they start restricting the people's use of weapons, and they are well aware of this.

A large percentage of our violent crime occurs in the ghettos of the large cities, which are almost universally (mis-)managed by decades long Democrat regimes. When the crime numbers in these black enclaves are removed from the calculations, the US looks better than most all the EU does for crime statistics. BTW, our crime numbers are real, instead of the mostly fake numbers issued by most of the world's nations. The rest of the world mostly cooks the books on crime numbers, using lots of accounting shenanigans to hide the actual results. For instance, England only lists a murder after a court conviction, so that leaves LOTS of wiggle room for number games. As a result, our numbers will ALWAYS look worse in comparison. It's always an apples to oranges comparison. On top of that, our socialist/communist controlled media works hard to make things look as bad as possible, to include lying about nearly all of it. At this point, it is correct to consider the Main-Stream-Media to be an arm of the Democratic Party. That's not an exaggeration, BTW. It's just not an official position.

RocketmanKarl said...


I think what most Western countries have forgotten is that "Man" is still a savage beast at heart. We are tribal, competitive, power-hungry, and prone to violence. It is only through the influence of a strong, and strongly-enforced shared culture that we have built the "high-trust" society that most western countries take for granted today.
In fact, they have convinced themselves that humans have "evolved" past the need for the capability of self-defence, or that their governments will turn against their citizens. The 1000 years of Western civilization is equivalent to yesterday on the evolutionary scale. It is that thin veneer of shared western values that keeps the cork in the bottle of savagery and despotism.
The Greeks understood this, idealizing the warrior/philosopher duality. A man must be wise enough to be peaceful, and capable enough to kill the bastard that isn't.
Our country's founders understood this basic truth, and wanted the citizens to be free to pursue their own happiness, and have the capability to defend themselves from any that would do harm to them, up to and including their own government.
As a well-armed American, I do not go through my days waiting to be in a gunfight. But I will be damned if I'm going to be caught unarmed if confronted by violence. I view it much like seatbelts in a car, nobody ventures forth in their car expecting to get into an accident. In fact, car accidents are an exceedingly unlikely event, and yet we all wear our seatbelts because, should we be involved in one, they drastically increase our odds of going home unharmed.

Mark said...

As a student of history, I agree with elements of your characterisation of the human condition regarding the undertones of conflict, power and anger. However, I suggest these are often overstated in order to justify political or lifestyle decisions. Also, these characterisations are often based on historical circumstances that are either not currently relevant, or require significant modification to match the contemporary environment.

I also don’t agree with your extension of the seatbelt analogy to justify the need to carry firearms for personal protection. As you state, seatbelts are used for the unlikely event of an accident. You don’t wear them on the expectation that the incidence of collisions will be dramatically increased due to other drivers deliberately ramming into you for no apparent reason.

I utterly disagree with your view that most western countries have “forgotten” these lessons. Most western countries have histories much more violent and recent to that experienced through the formation of the United States. In the past century or more, European countries such as France, Germany, Russia, Italy etc have not only had despotic and/or incompetent governments, they have fought several wars with each other costing tens of millions of lives and wiping out entire generations.

We in Australia fought a savage enemy in World War 2 directly intent on either invading us or isolating our country from the rest of the world.

You would expect the populations of each of these countries would have similar justification to that you’ve expressed by having an armed populace for their personal protection and defence, but the simple answer is, they don’t.

The memories have not been forgotten, travel around these countries and you will see that for yourself. These events are still very rich in the shared histories of these countries and we all could’ve followed the path taken by your country, but chosen not to. As a result, the levels of gun related deaths in most western countries are more than a quarter of that in the USA and in most cases much less than that.

The fact of the matter is that whatever the justifications, a significant and politically powerful proportion of the citizens of the United States perceive firearms as having an almost totemic significance to them. You perceive that the possession of firearms is an expression of your freedom and ability to protect and defend yourselves. It’s a mindset that’s taken root and this paradigm is strongly defended.

It’s also a mindset that is largely absent in other countries, and our lives are actually safer and more comfortable as a result.

In the USA, the more gun violence is experienced, the more a large proportion of the population feel disenfranchised by government, the greater is the justification for more firearms. This results in an upward spiral of gun ownership and related violence that the rest of the civilised world finds inexplicable and bewildering.

The cost is immense. Each year, with the United States having 10 times the per capita rate of gun ownership compared to Australia, you experience nearly 12 times the per capita number of gun related deaths. Each year, over 113,000 Americans receive gunshot wounds, and more than 36,000 die. Every 18 months or so, as many Americans die from gunshot wounds as those that died in the entirety of the Vietnam War.

RocketmanKarl said...

The gun statistics you quote, while accurate in total, are misleading the way you use them. Almost 2/3 of that total are suicides. While a tragedy, if that person didn't have access to a gun, they would select a different method, and would be just as dead. Almost all of the rest are gang/drug related gun deaths. That leaves about 1500 gun deaths per year, a number well below deaths by knife, or even bare hands/feet. And each year about 1-2 million violent crimes are stopped by the use or brandishing of a gun.
Some other interesting stats: more than half of the gun deaths occurred in 2% of the counties, and that more than half of the counties have zero gun deaths.
So does America have a suicide problem? Yes. Do we also have a gang and drug problem? Absolutely. But disarming law-abiding, responsible people in a attempt to prevent suicides and gang murders is not only naive, but ineffective. To reduce gun deaths, deal with the suicides, gangs, and drugs.
You are correct that guns are part of our culture. And most gun owners are among the most peaceful and responsible citizens. But there is no number of Port Arthur incidents that will convince Americans to turn in their guns, there will be rebellion first. That's because our right to bear arms (really our right to self defense) is not a right given to us by government, but by God. The second Ammendment is an express prohibition on the government to interfere with that right.
So, while Australia might have chosen a different path, it is one that America will never take. Our culture (and our Constitution) won't allow it. We will have to address mental illness and gangs in another way.
I wonder if, one day when the enemy is at the gates, Australians will wish they had their guns back...

Mark said...


Sure there are countries where the rule of society and law have completely broken down, Yemen, Sudan, Nigeria, Afghanistan and others are but few of the examples. Easy access to weaponry is required for daily survival and this is a tragic way to live.

My main point is that amongst western, "civilized" contemporaries, the USA is the one outlying country that has a completely different attitude to firearms. Despite the often similar (and sometimes shared) histories, your justifications for their need differs vastly to others. I'm also sure that the USA isn't unique in that many countries believe they also have guidance from their God.

Irrespective of how you choose to frame the statistics (and unsurprisingly I disagree with your assumptions on this aspect), your country pays a much higher price for these justifications and it isn't getting any better.

Like most countries if there are "enemies at the gates" (whoever you're fearful of), Australians would prefer a robust law enforcement and judicial system, a competent representative government and a strong, capable military. We wouldn't want an armed rabble of citizenry with no coordination, discipline or logistical support.

We are going to have to agree to disagree on this issue.