Last week, the pro-gun web site TheTruthAboutGuns.com hosted a Charlie Hebdo massacre simulation, but added volunteers acting as armed citizens to see if they could make a difference.

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The simulation was conducted with guns firing marker rounds similar to small paintballs. Numerous iterations of the simulation were conducted; in most, the armed citizens “died” without being able to stop the terrorists from killing everyone. But initial reports said in two of the iterations the armed citizen managed to kill one terrorist, while in another iteration the armed citizen provided cover fire that helped others escape.

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Of course, anti-gun web sites immediately concluded “armed citizens are helpless against terrorists”, and treated the simulation as proof that carrying a gun is pointless. In response, Friday I published http://chrishernandezauthor.com/2015/01/16/addicting-infos-nonsensical-analysis-of-an-active-shooter-simulation/, a refutation of an especially moronic article about the simulation on AddictingInfo.com.

The Young Turks also published their take on the simulation, and in line with other liberal web sites concluded carrying a gun is either pointless or makes things worse. Young Turks host Cenk Uygur even mentioned that the Hebdo terrorists in Paris spared some people they could have killed, but if one of the victims had shot back, the terrorists might have killed everybody. In other words, “Thank god none of the victims had a gun. That would have turned this massacre into a real tragedy.”

Shortly after I published my essay, I was contacted by the head of BreachBangClear.com, a web site I write for. Unbeknownst to me, one of the “bad guy” role players in the Charlie Hebdo simulation was Sonny Puzikas, a man I don’t know but who is acquainted with others on the Breach Bang Clear team. Puzikas had shared his opinion on the simulation with Breach Bang Clear, and asked us to share it as well.

According to his bio, Sonny grew up in Lithuania and served in the Soviet Army. He then emigrated to America where he became an actor, trainer and personal security specialist. While he appears to be a controversial figure in the firearms community, he is a very skilled shooter and trainer.

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The text below is from Sonny Puzikas. He wrote it specifically in response to the anti-gun story about the shooting simulation on The Young Turks. Since Puzikas’ first language isn’t English and his message was awkwardly worded and punctuated, I’ve edited it for clarity. No facts, figures or opinions have been changed. I’ll add the original text in a comment.

First of all- the video clip he [Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks] uses in his “report” is NOT from the event he is talking about, and he distorted and spun the simulation’s results.

Second- the presence of an armed individual DID make a difference at least in some way, almost every time. At the very least, it slowed the terrorists’ advance down. Sometimes significantly so.

TTAG in their “preliminary” report says that one of the “terrorists” was killed 7 times- I will say that the number is lower. Not by much, but lower. Here is why.

A few of the armed citizens continued engaging after being hit repeatedly- some more than 5, 10 or even 15 times in vital areas. The reasons are many; all participants except the “terrorists” wore full head protection (terrorists only had eye protection). Some of the armed citizens didn’t feel and thus didn’t acknowledge some of the hits to the head. Some allowed their competitive nature to take over and continued engaging after being hit repeatedly. That is normal and a serious drawback in many cases during force on force training and simulations. And I suspect there were a few cases of just pure panic shooting- pulling the trigger until it clicked regardless of anything.

The next thing this clown [Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks] is not accounting for is this: in real life it is possible that killing one of the bad guys would have some sort of impact on the ability, desire, and method of the remaining bad guy to continue doing what he was doing.

I will write more detailed account of my impressions from this event, but let me finish with this. I know for a fact I was “killed” twice; in one instance I knew immediately and have marks to prove it, as it was 2 rounds hitting my face. The second one I didn’t feel, but after removing my gear discovered 2 paint marker hits on my chest rig. In one additional instance I was hit in the forearm of my support hand, which at the very least would have affected my ability to continue using my rifle, and one additional hit in my upper leg, which at the very least could have affected my mobility. There were a few additional hits resulting from armed person continuing shooting after he was hit repeatedly.

Again- PLEASE share this post, not just the video- as the video does NOT tell the truth. I am guessing [Cenk Uygur] may have a certain bias…

One of the “terrorists”
Sonny

Not surprisingly, the anti-gun side views the simulation results as proof that carrying a gun is at best ineffective, at worst makes the situation worse. I have yet to understand how someone can say it’s preferable to let a murderer kill as many people as he can than to shoot back. But that’s what many people honestly believe.

However, Sonny Puzikas has a different opinion. As a terrorist role player, and despite the fact that he has far more experience than any armed citizens in the simulation, he was taken out twice and at least wounded twice more. As an experienced shooter and trainer, Puzikas believes an armed citizen can make a difference even when facing multiple well-armed and trained attackers.

Call me crazy, but I’ll take Sonny’s advice over the anti-gun side’s illogical opinions.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


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Kory Watkins, head of Open Carry Tarrant County. Associated Press photo

Kory Watkins, head of Open Carry Tarrant County. Associated Press photo

Back in the 80’s I was a big fan of the comic strip Bloom County. In one of the comic’s subplots the main character Opus the penguin, on a quest to find his mother, finally tracks her down at a Mary Kay Makeup animal testing facility. Just as he’s about to rescue her, the “Mary Kay Commandos”, old ladies with caked-on makeup and pink Uzis, arrive and order the animals back into their cages. Seconds later, the eco-terrorist Animal Liberation Guerilla Front bursts in to free the animals. Caught in the crossfire, Opus makes an observation.

“Saved from sadists by terrorists. Sort of a dream come true, you know?”

Yes, Opus, I know the feeling. Because I and my fellow reasonable gun owners are being saved from “tyrants” by open-carry douchebags.

On Tuesday, January 12th, Kory Watkins and his group Open Carry Tarrant County (OCTC) held a rally at the Texas Capital and won yet another victory for gun rights. By “won another victory”, I mean they acted like the complete fanatic morons they truly are and gave the anti-gun side yet more reason to attack gun rights and gun owners.

During the rally, OCTC members visited the office of state representative Poncho Nevarez (D – Eagle Pass). One of them videotaped the visit. The video shows an OCTC member asking Nevarez to support open carry of pistols in Texas. Nevarez politely says he’s not going to vote for it. The man shakes Nevarez’s hand and curtly but politely thanks him for his time. So far so good.

But then Watkins and his fellow traveling clowns decided to let their inner douchebag show.

OCTC members began calling Nevarez a “tyrant”, exhorted him to “read the Constitution” and told him “you won’t be here long.” Nevarez played along with it for a while – nodding and saying “I’m a tyrant, I won’t be here long” – then got fed up and ordered the open carriers to leave his office. The open carriers took this as a Batman symbol in the clouds ordering them to be the biggest flaming a**holes they could be.

One of them responded to the order to leave the office with “This is the people’s office!” Another told Nevarez “Don’t touch me” when Nevarez apparently tried to lead him to the door. After Nevarez said “I’m asking you to leave my office,” the man responded “I’m asking you to leave my state because you don’t take your oath seriously.” As they were leaving one even stuck his foot in the doorway, then asked “What are you gonna do?” when Nevarez told him to move his foot. He then challenged someone in the hallway.

Open carrier: “What are you gonna do, touch me or something? You creeping up behind me?”

The man says he’s not.

Open carrier: “That’d be one wrong move, bro.”

Courageous Open Carry warriors at the Austin rally

Courageous Open Carry warriors at the Austin rally

The end result of OCTC’s brave demonstration was a new form of gun FREEEEEDOMMMMMM!!!, in the form of “panic buttons” about to be installed in state representatives’ offices.

http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/House-approves-panic-buttons-in-wake-of-open-6015078.php

But that’s not all our brave open carriers nationwide have done.

Since that victory in my beloved Great State of Texas, open carriers in Washington State decided to spread some FREEEDOMMM!!! up there as well. On Thursday January 15th a band of brave open carriers went into the Capitol building’s public gallery during a protest. One of them was carrying his AR-15 pistol in this totally non-threatening way:

Washington State Open Carrier. AP Photo by Ted S. Warren)

Washington State Open Carrier. AP Photo by Ted S. Warren

A police officer unreasonably told the open carrier he was carrying his weapon in a “tactical manner”, which is against state law. The OCer was in fact carrying in a tactical manner. But the police officer was being unreasonable by pointing out something that was obviously true. OCers don’t like people who unreasonably point out obvious truths (i.e., “If you carry an SKS into Chipotle to buy a burrito you’re a f**king idiot”).

The police officer threatened to eject and/or arrest the OCer, who eventually concealed his pistol and left. Open Carry extremists had won yet another victory. This victory consisted of guns being banned from the Capitol’s public gallery.

http://www.guns.com/2015/01/19/gun-rights-rally-at-washington-senate-gallery-results-in-ban-on-firearms/

These are just two more great victories for gun rights, won by intrepid Open Carry extremists who bravely carry weapons in places where there is exactly zero threat to their safety and who convince businesses and local governments to ban guns from their premises. After previous Open Carry Mass Stupidity/”gun rights demonstrations”, Target, Sonic, Chipotle, Chili’s, Starbucks and other companies either banned weapons or asked people not to carry in their stores.

Every one of those bans was a victory. Right?

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Of course the best way to win political support is to harass, intimidate, threaten, bully and throw a tantrum like a spoiled brat when you don’t get your way! Way to go, open carriers!” And who could argue with that?

Actually, I can.

I’m a staunch 2nd Amendment advocate. I’ve been shooting and collecting guns for over thirty years. I’ve carried a weapon as a Marine and Soldier for a quarter century, including in combat. I’ve carried a weapon as a cop for two decades. I’ve taught friends and family to shoot. I’ve written about the foundations of the 2nd Amendment, and its modern relevance. I’ve passionately advocated for keeping private citizens armed. I own many weapons and have fired tens of thousands of rounds in military and civilian life, from .22 pistols to an M1 Abrams’ 120mm main gun. I love the 2nd Amendment.

And I think Open Carry extremists are doing nothing but damage to the 2nd Amendment cause.

To any OCers reading this: this ain’t no tyranny. You can own tons of guns, including military weapons suitable for resisting government forces. You can criticize anything you want in public or online. You can travel as you wish. You can spout ridiculous, nonsensical accusations (“The Sandy Hook Massacre was faked by the government! The Boston Bombing was a false flag operation!”). And until you idiots f**ked it up, you could have carried a weapon into Washington’s state capitol.

That’s not tyranny. That’s life in free-as-hell America. You think this is tyranny, try walking into a restaurant with an AK in some of the places I’ve served. Around two seconds after walking in, right around the time you’d get shot, you’d probably realize America isn’t such a dictatorship after all.

I’ve asked this before, and I’ll ask again: please, open carriers, stop “defending my rights”. You’re making things worse. People look at regular-guy gun owners like me, and they see you. You’re convincing the undecided that gun owners are heavily armed, crazed bullies. Even CJ Grisham, the not-so-moderate head of Open Carry Texas, calls you OCTC members “A malignant cancer for the gun rights movement”.

I personally would put you OCTC members above Moms Demand Action and Bloomberg as enemies of the 2nd Amendment. Why? Because MDA and Bloomberg are pathetically ineffective at getting guns banned. You open carry clowns are effective. You’re succeeding where the professional anti-gun agitators fail.

It should be kind of a clue that much of the pro-2A movement thinks you guys are being paid by the anti-gun side to make us look bad. I don’t believe that. But I do believe something worse.

You guys actually believe so strongly in your holy cause, you don’t care how much damage you’re doing to your own side. You’re the suicide bombers of the gun rights movement, happy to indiscriminately destroy anyone, on either side, who doesn’t live up to your standards of what a true 2A believer should be. Like all zealots everywhere, you’ll do whatever makes you the hero of your own little drama, without regard for the negative effects on others.

If you ever did rise up and overthrow “tyranny”, I’m sure whatever you put in its place would be worse. Passionate zealots tend to have little regard for the lives of those less passionate than them. You already view everyone who doesn’t agree with you as enemies or “sheeple”. Based on the veiled threats and petty intimidation you regularly practice, I’d expect you guys to be the real tyrants.

You don’t represent me. You don’t speak for me. I don’t want your help.

At least one other gun rights advocate partly agrees. Alan Gottlieb, head of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, based in Washington State, said this of Thursday’s confrontation.

“This is the result of a few stupid extremists on our side who not only handled their firearms unsafely, but made the hundreds of Second Amendment supporters at the rally look foolish. Irresponsible actions get us bad results. Unfortunately, some of the fools in town are on our side. This kind of childish theater hurts our cause. The gun ban crowd is having a field day over this.”

The gun ban crowd is having a field day because every time they think they’re losing, Kory Watkins and his circus sideshow give them a neverending belt of anti-gun ammo to use against us.

If Kory and his lackeys read this, I have no doubt they’ll dismiss it with “This guy’s not a real 2nd Amendment supporter! He’s hurting gun rights, not us! We should carry rifles into even more places, and create even more enemies, and get guns banned from even more places! That’s what real gun rights supporters do!” And they’ll do it. They’ll do more damage, cause more harm, and pat themselves on the back for it. That’s what mindless zealots do.

But what should OCTC do instead? Shut up, put the guns away, and disappear forever. That’s the best thing they could possibly do to support gun rights.

Because there’s no tyranny here. And even if there was, I wouldn’t want OCTC douchebags “saving” me from it.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


I recently read an article about armed citizens from the liberal website Addicting Info (http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/01/14/texas-ammosexuals-re-enact-charlie-hebdo-shooting-with-armed-civilian-everyone-still-dies-video/). The article purported to be an analysis of a mass shooting simulation, based on the Charlie Hebdo attack, carried out by the web site The Truth About Guns. The simulation and its results were extremely interesting, and eye-opening for people who don’t understand the dynamics of a mass shooting; Addicting Info’s analysis, not surprisingly, was extremely slanted against the idea that armed citizens should fight back against an active shooter.

Here’s a brief description of TTAG’s simulation (http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/01/foghorn/ttag-charly-hebdo-simulation-preliminary-results/):

Twenty-six volunteers played the role of civilians inside a simulated office building. TTAG ran twelve scenarios, each with one person acting as armed citizen and two as attackers armed with rifles. The armed citizens were (apparently) Concealed Handgun License holders, while the attackers were professional tactical weapons instructors. For the simulation TTAG used UTM guns, which are actual weapons modified to fire marking rounds similar to small paintballs. UTM guns handle exactly like standard weapons.

Of the twelve scenarios conducted, in only two was the armed citizen was able to “kill” one attacker. The attackers killed the armed citizen in every scenario except one, in which the armed citizen fled. In no scenario was the armed citizen able to kill both attackers.

Sounds bad, right? Addicting Info thought so. Their headline, where they refer to gun owners as “ammosexuals” and claim “everyone still dies”, is a pretty clear indication of their stance on armed citizens. Unfortunately for Addicting Info their reporting was not only so biased as to be useless, it was also objectively wrong.

Before I get into my analysis, I’ll lay out my background and explain why I my take on this exercise is so different from Addicting Info’s.

I’ve been a police officer for twenty years. I’ve spent the majority of that time, over ten years, on the street. I’ve worked for two small departments early in my career, then in the late 90’s moved to a very large police department. I also served eighteen months as a United Nations civilian police officer in Kosovo.

In the large department I currently work for, I was an assistant active shooter instructor. In this role, I helped train hundreds of police officers how to respond to mass shootings. I set up simulations similar to those organized by TTAG, and acted as the active shooter in most of them. I was also fortunate to receive advanced training on mass shootings from our SWAT team, and occasionally play the role of suspect in the team’s exercises.

I’m also a veteran of over 25 years in the Marine Corps Reserve and Army National Guard. As a soldier I deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. I was in combat in both countries.

I’ve also had the opportunity to attend several advanced pistol and carbine classes from private tactical training instructors. While I am not an expert on mass shootings, I am extremely familiar with the dynamics of mass shootings, the specific considerations involved in live-fire shooting simulations, and the general principles of both police and military lethal force encounters.

I’m going to quote excerpts from Addicting Info’s article, then explain why their analysis is incorrect. The excerpts will be in italics.

Occasionally, stupid people whose love of weapons transcends their sense enjoy attempting to justify a belief that the world would be virtually immune to crime if only we furnished every man, woman, and child with a firearm.

As an avid gun collector and shooter for over thirty years, I’ve never heard even one gun owner say every man, woman and child should have a gun. Even allowing for hyperbole (obviously nobody wants to arm children), and acknowledging the ridiculous and symbolic laws in some towns requiring every house to have a gun, there is no push on the pro-gun side to arm every adult. Some people are simply not suited to possess a gun, much less carry one. A significant percentage of our population has an uncontrollable temper, or suffers from mental problems, or has substance abuse issues, or a serious criminal background, or lacks sound judgment. Some – and this is important – simply don’t want to carry a gun. Speaking as both a cop and advocate for armed citizens, I don’t want everyone carrying a gun. But I do want those who are honest, sensible, trained and willing to take action to carry one if they choose.

I support armed citizens not because I think having a gun makes anyone invincible, or because it guarantees the citizen will win against an active shooter. I support armed citizens because I believe in the following principles (among others).

1) Armed citizens have a better chance of surviving a mass shooting than unarmed citizens.
2) During a mass shooting, armed citizens have a better chance of saving others than unarmed citizens.
3) An armed citizen can save lives even if he or she misses the suspect, because a suspect scared of getting shot is going to turn his attention away from unarmed victims who pose no threat.
4) You don’t deter crime by being a compliant victim.

So no, the world would not be safe if we blindly “furnished every man, woman and child with a firearm”. But America might be safer with greater numbers of trained, responsible armed citizens.

Not a single mass shooting has been stopped by an armed civilian in 30 years, but right-wing blasturbation club The Truth About Guns decided to play ‘Charlie Hebdo’ on Tuesday in an effort to show that an ‘armed civilian’ would have stopped two heavily-armed terrorists and saved lives.

According to a 2014 FBI bulletin on mass shootings (http://leb.fbi.gov/2014/january/active-shooter-events-from-2000-to-2012), between 2000 and 2012 three active shooters were shot by potential victims on the scene before the police arrived. Liberal site Mother Jones (whose study Addicting Info cited in their article) identified these three incidents but pointed out the “potential victims” who shot the active shooters were off-duty cops, former cops, or in one case a Marine. The Mother Jones article didn’t mention the Trolley Square Mall shooting in Salt Lake City, where an off-duty cop stopped an active shooter simply by shooting at him (he missed). The active shooter stopped shooting, retreated to cover and was shot by responding on-duty officers. It also didn’t mention the Clackamas Mall shooting in Oregon, where an active shooter retreated and committed suicide possibly because he saw an armed citizen maneuvering toward him (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clackamas_Town_Center_shooting).

Addicting Info and Mother Jones dismiss a shooting by an off-duty cop as totally different than a shooting by an armed citizen. I disagree. When I’m off duty, I’m effectively facing the same constraints and limitations as an armed citizen. I’m not in uniform. I have no radio. I’m not wearing body armor. I have no intermediate weapons or handcuffs. I have no backup. I likely have only a small concealed-carry pistol, with an extremely limited amount of ammunition.

What I do have is training and experience. However, the simple fact that I’m a cop doesn’t automatically make me better trained or more experienced. Generally speaking, cops have more training and experience than private citizens. But plenty of police officers have only the minimum training, barely manage to qualify the one time per year they’re ordered to fire their weapon at the range, and avoid additional training like it was syphilis. Not all cops are gun guys; far too many police officers won’t even carry guns off duty, even now when we’re under significant threat.

Armed citizens aren’t a monolithic block either. A lot of combat vets get concealed carry permits, and it’s fair to say that a large number of those are better trained and more experienced than the average cop. While it’s true that many armed citizens have only the minimum training to get a carry permit, many others have sought additional training or have significant experience (or both). Some of the most skilled shooters I’ve ever known were neither military nor law enforcement.

Whether someone is a cop or armed citizen, the basic actions in a mass shooting are the same: assess the situation, draw, move to the most advantageous position, engage if possible, and call for help. You don’t have to have a badge to effectively do those things.

The experiment was a massive flop. The group did, indeed, gather the requested number of volunteers [40]. Unfortunately for them, that was the most successful part of the adventure.

That’s just bad reporting. TTAG got 26 volunteers. And the simulation achieved a lot, in that it gave concealed carriers valuable experience they wouldn’t have otherwise received. TTAG never stated they were positive an armed citizen could take out two shooters with rifles, though they did theorize one could:

“We need your help to prove [those who oppose armed citizens] wrong . . . After our post-Newtown school shooting sim in Connecticut Nick and I reckon an armed civilian (or two) could have prevented a great deal of slaughter in the Paris terrorist attack. I contacted Dallas’ Patriot Protection to arrange a simulation to prove – or disprove – our theory.” TTAG’s post calling for volunteers later states, “If you’d like to show the antis the error of their ways (presuming), please send your name, cell phone, [etc].” (http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/01/robert-farago/ttag-apb-need-40-warm-bodies-tomorrow-dallas-charie-hebdo-sim/)

TTAG had a theory, tested that theory, and released the preliminary results even though those results refuted their theory. I’d give TTAG a pat on the back for that. (Full disclosure: I’ve written a few articles for TTAG and agree with many of their opinions, but strongly disagree with their support for the open carry movement.)

Volunteers gathered on a set. . . Armed with a paintball gun, the volunteers took turns playing the role of a heroic “good guy with a gun” in the office. Also armed with paintball guns were two “terrorists” who appeared to execute the infidels in the scenario. The “gunmen” were professionals from tactical training company “Patriot Protection.”

Just an observation here. A citizen armed with a pistol is obviously at a huge disadvantage against two highly-trained, professional shooters armed with rifles. But the two instructors from Patriot Protection don’t represent the average active shooter. Most active shooters have been capable of operating a weapon and shooting defenseless victims, but incapable of actually fighting.

Dedicated terrorists, on the other hand, are far more likely to be trained and experienced. Anyone who finds himself facing two trained rifle-armed terrorists, whether he’s an armed citizen, uniformed cop or Green Beret SEAL from Recon Team Delta, is in for a hell of a bad time.

No matter how well you’re trained, there are situations you’re not going to win. “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, highly skilled with weapons, was shot in the back by someone he thought he could trust. That doesn’t mean Kyle’s skills were worthless, it just means some situations really suck. The most highly trained gunfighter in the world is going to lose if someone drops an anvil on his head while he’s sleeping. An armed citizen facing two highly skilled terrorists with rifles isn’t an unwinnable situation, but it’s pretty damn close.

Over and over, the armed civilian was “killed,” along with those “gun rights” advocates claim he or she would have protected. In only two cases was the “good guy” able to remove even one of the gunmen from the scenario.

In two cases out of twelve, an armed citizen was able to kill one attacker. That’s a hell of an accomplishment. And it’s likely to save lives, since, you know, a dead terrorist can’t shoot anyone. Not only that, but a dead terrorist has a rifle and ammunition a good guy could pick up and put to use against the second terrorist. I’m sure the staff of Addicting Info would disagree, but the fact that someone dies trying to do the right thing doesn’t mean they were stupid, or “lost”. An armed citizen can die while saving lives. Most people would see that as an honorable act. Addicting Info doesn’t.

I’ll also point out that people really don’t like getting shot at. An active shooter can’t have fun murdering defenseless people if he’s worried about getting shot in the face. If an armed citizen shoots at an active shooter and misses, the active shooter still has to stop murdering people and focus on not getting killed. That change in his focus might save people’s lives.

Only once did the “armed civilian survive” — when she ran away at the first sound of “gunfire.”

This, folks, is what’s called “yellow journalism”. The armed civilian in that case did NOT run away at the first sound of gunfire. According to TTAG, “In one of the early scenarios, a relatively new shooter decided that instead of trying to confront the armed terrorists she would use her gun to cover her retreat and give her co-workers time to escape. This plan worked perfectly, and she was able to escape from the room while returning fire towards the attackers, allowing nearly everyone in the room to escape before she too turned tail and ran.”

In my world, that’s called a win. An inexperienced armed citizen managed to save some lives while under attack from two terrorists with rifles. I suppose Addicting Info considers it a failure because she didn’t save everyone; this is right in line with an odd belief on the left, which I summarize as “If you can’t save all, don’t save any.” Gun rights opponents will argue that it’s impossible for an armed citizen to prevent a mass shooter from killing people, but refuse to acknowledge an armed citizen can at least save some.

When a murderer walks into a room with an AK and starts shooting, people are going to die. Nobody, no matter how well armed or trained, is guaranteed to save everyone’s life. But a person with training, skill and will to act can make a difference and save some lives. That’s why most of us carry a gun; not because we can solve every situation and save every innocent person, but because we can save at least one.

Oh, I should point out that Addicting Info’s headline – “everybody still dies” – is obviously false, since in this scenario everyone did not die.

I’m sure Addicting Info isn’t going to let facts get in the way of a good story.

“Still got killed but did better than I thought I would,” said volunteer Parks Matthew. He says that watching everyone around him “die” has shown that he should not protect his children if he encounters a shooter in a movie theater — Matthew will ensure that they emerge from the situation fatherless, instead: “If I’m in a movie theater and someone pulls a gun, what am I going to do? I know now I’m not gonna just fall on my kids and protect them, I need to advance on the threat.”

Shouldn’t protect his children? Shooting back at a mass murderer instead of running, hiding and hoping for the best IS protecting his children.

Let’s say you’re out with your family and wind up in an active shooter situation. If the shooter is close and actively trying to kill you and your family, you pretty much have to immediately fight. If he’s far away (you hear gunshots and screaming down a hallway but don’t see anything, for example), you have time to direct your family to safety and then fight. An armed citizen has no obligation to advance on an active shooter, and if he or she decides to simply get their family to safety and leave I don’t (exactly) have a problem with that. But there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking action to protect other people. Addicting Info thinks resisting an active shooter is a guaranteed way to die; they don’t seem to have a problem with the multitude of incidents that show not resisting gets a hell of a lot of people killed too.

Of the twelve simulations, not a single one involved the volunteers finding themselves able to kill both shooters.

Again, not surprising. However, Addicting Info left out some pertinent information (totally honest mistake, I’m sure). TTAG mentions a couple of flaws in the simulations themselves, and one is huge: due to the temperature inside the training area, the full-face masks worn by the volunteers kept fogging up. This was a problem we constantly encountered when I was an active shooter instructor, and anyone who has played paintball has probably experienced the same thing. “Many volunteers complained that they were unable to see the attackers at all when they finally entered the room, and were forced to simply shoot in their general direction. Obviously in a real world situation fogged up face masks would not be an issue, so this is a problem that we experience trying to re-create the scenarios only and detracts from the applicability of the testing to real world scenarios.” Without fogged masks, it’s possible some of the armed citizens may have been more effective (although that may have applied to the terrorists also).

But what’s the most important lesson from this simulation?

An armed citizen managed to save people who would have otherwise been killed.

In each of these scenarios, the attackers were intent on killing everyone. The presence of an armed citizen, in most cases, didn’t stop them from doing that. While the armed citizens didn’t win and didn’t save lives in those cases, they certainly didn’t make the situations worse.

But in one of the scenarios, an armed citizen engaged the attackers, provided a means of escape, saved lives, and managed to survive the encounter. Maybe she only saved a few lives. Maybe only one.

That’s one person who would have been murdered, but survived instead. Addicting Info doesn’t think that one person is worth the trouble. I do.

4452_1084593231917_5914735_n (2)
Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


When I joined the Marines, I met a man who had survived a helicopter crash during a training exercise. The first time I saw him his head and face were covered in burn scars. A balloon filled with saline, that looked like a dinosaur’s crest, was implanted in his scalp to stretch the skin so hair could grow. Something that looked exactly like the checkered buttstock of an M16A2 was imprinted on one side of his head. He greeted me when I checked in to my unit, and totally ignored the shocked expression I must have had when he approached. He shook my hand, asked a few questions, then left with a friendly “See you later, PFC.” His demeanor left me with the absurd thought, Maybe he doesn’t know how strange he looks.

He had been assigned to my reserve unit while undergoing treatment at a nearby military burn unit. I wound up becoming friends with him later, and eventually worked up the nerve to ask him about the crash. Of course, I quickly followed my question with, “But if you don’t want to talk about it, nevermind. Sorry.”

He brushed off my concerns. “Nah, no problem. The day I can’t talk about it is the day it starts to haunt me.”

He told me about loading up with his platoon in the helicopter that day. He described what it was like to see the ground coming through the window and realize they were about to crash. He talked about grabbing his seat belt release, being knocked unconscious on impact by his rifle butt slamming into his temple, and waking up on the floor with his head on fire. He told me how he crawled toward the exit, in flames, past screaming, burning Marines trapped in their seats. He recounted his memory of shouting that he would come back to help them. He told me how he managed to drag himself over the edge of the helicopter’s ramp and fall into a rice paddy. He told me about other Marines who saw the crash and ran to save him and some others. He talked about all the friends he lost that day, more than a dozen. He talked about how much he missed being an infantryman, and how he had made peace with the fact that he could never be one again.

What struck me was how easily he was able to tell the story. I had never heard of someone making a decision not to let trauma affect their lives. I had a great uncle, still alive then, who had been a Marine in the Korean War. He came back traumatized, took years to get back to normal, and to his dying day never told anyone in the family what he experienced. Even after I became a Marine, he gave me only the barest details of his service. As far as I know he never told his Marine son either. Unlike my friend, my uncle couldn’t talk about his trauma.

I’ve experienced trauma myself. I don’t know how many murder scenes I’ve worked as a police officer. I remember the shock I felt when I walked up to a car after a seemingly minor accident and saw a two year old’s head lying on the floorboard. I stood helplessly outside a burning house as a ninety-two year old woman died inside, while her son screamed hysterically beside me. For years after my time as a soldier in Iraq I’d have a startle response if I unexpectedly saw a flash, like from a camera, in my peripheral vision (it reminded me of flashes from roadside bombs). Soldiers near me were shot, burned or killed by weather in Afghanistan.

My childhood wasn’t rosy either; early one morning when I was eight I heard pounding on our kitchen door, then was terrified to see a family member stumble into the house covered in blood after being attacked by a neighbor. Even today, after thirty-five years, I still sometimes tense up when I hear a knock at the door. When I was ten, my eleven year old best friend committed suicide because of a minor sibling dispute. He wrote a note, left a will, snuck his father’s pistol from a drawer and shot himself. I was severely affected by his death, and ten years later got a copy of his suicide note from the city morgue. After I read it, I finally felt that I could heal from that horrible event.

I’m no stranger to trauma, and I’ve dealt with it by writing and talking about it. I suppose I’ve always defined “trauma” the traditional way: a terrible experience, usually involving significant loss or mortal danger, which left a lasting scar. However, I’ve recently discovered my definition of trauma is wrong. Trauma now seems to be pretty much anything that bothers anyone, in any way, ever. And the worst “trauma” seems to come not from horrible brushes with death like I described above; instead, they’re the result of racism and discrimination.

Over the last year I’ve heard references to “Microagressions” and “Trigger Warnings”. Trigger Warnings tell trauma victims that certain material may “contain disturbing themes that may trigger traumatic memories for sufferers”; it’s a way for them to continue avoiding what bothers them, rather than facing it (and the memories that get triggered often seem to be about discrimination, rather than mortal danger). Microaggressions are minor, seemingly innocuous statements that are actually stereotype-reinforcing trauma, even if the person making the statement meant nothing negative.

Here are two examples of “trauma” from the “Microaggression Project” (http://www.microaggressions.com/):

My dad jokes with my younger sister that he remembers selling Girl Scout Cookies when he was a Girl Scout. She laughs, understanding the fact that since he’s a boy means that he could not have been a Girl Scout. Thanks, Dad. I’m a boy and a formal Girl Scout.

The assumption that Girl Scouts will be girls. That causes trauma.

24, female-bodied, in a relationship – so Facebook shows me ads with babies, wedding dresses, and engagement rings. Change gender on Facebook to male – suddenly I get ads pertaining to things I actually care about.

Facebook thinking a woman might be interested in marriage and children. That causes trauma.

A horrible example of microaggression: asking someone if they've been to Europe. Photo credit http://purpmagazine.com/lets-discuss-nu-microaggressions/swag

A horrible example of microaggression: asking someone if they’ve been to Europe. Photo credit http://purpmagazine.com/lets-discuss-nu-microaggressions/swag

As one might expect, “Microaggressions” and “Trigger Warnings” are most popular in our universities. In late 2013 A group of UCLA students staged a “sit-in” protest against a professor for – no joke – correcting their papers. These “Graduate Students of Color” began an online petition stating “Students consistently report hostile classroom environments in which the effects of white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and other forms of institutionalized oppression have manifested within the department and deride our intellectual capacity, methodological rigor, and ideological legitimacy. Empirical evidence indicates that these structural and interpersonal microaggressions wreak havoc on the psychophysiological health and retention rates of People of Color. The traumatic experiences of GSE&IS students and alumni confirm this reality” (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/931/772/264/ucla-call2action/).

A college professor expecting graduate students to write grammatically correct papers. That causes trauma.

In addition to correcting grammar, the professor insulted the “Graduate Students of Color” by changing “Indigenous” to the proper “indigenous” in their papers, thus reinforcing white colonial oppression of indigenous people. Oh, and he shook a black student’s arm during a discussion. “Making physical contact with a student is inappropriate, [the aggrieved Graduate Student of Color] added, and there are additional implications when an older white man does so with a younger black man” (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/11/25/ucla-grad-students-stage-sit-during-class-protest-what-they-see-racially-hostile).

A white professor gently touching a black student’s arm. That causes trauma.

More trauma-producing microaggression: asking someone about their ethnic background. "Typically, microaggressions are associated with subtle forms of racism, but they do go beyond race. For instance, 'You throw like a girl,' is a verbal microaggression, and the action of a White individual clutching his/her bag because a Latino is approaching, is a behavioral microaggression." From http://lagente.org/2014/01/gentistas-share-experiences-with-microaggressions/

More trauma-producing microaggression: asking someone about their ethnic background. “Typically, microaggressions are associated with subtle forms of racism, but they do go beyond race. For instance, “You throw like a girl,” is a verbal microaggression, and the action of a White individual clutching his/her bag because a Latino is approaching, is a behavioral microaggression.” From http://lagente.org/2014/01/gentistas-share-experiences-with-microaggressions/

I’ve reviewed these reports of “trauma”, and have reached a conclusion about them. I’m going to make a brief statement summarizing my conclusion. While I mean this in the nicest way possible, I don’t want victims of Microaggressions or supporters of Trigger Warnings to doubt my sincerity.

Fuck your trauma.

Yes, fuck your trauma. My sympathy for your suffering, whether that suffering was real or imaginary, ended when you demanded I change my life to avoid bringing up your bad memories. You don’t seem to have figured this out, but there is no “I must never be reminded of a negative experience” expectation in any culture anywhere on earth.

If your psyche is so fragile you fall apart when someone inadvertently reminds you of “trauma”, especially if that trauma consisted of you overreacting to a self-interpreted racial slur, you need therapy. You belong on a psychiatrist’s couch, not in college dictating what the rest of society can’t do, say or think. Get your own head right before you try to run other people’s lives. If you expect everyone around you to cater to your neurosis, forever, you’re what I’d call a “failure at life”, doomed to perpetual disappointment.

Reason.com

Reason.com

Oh, I should add: fuck my trauma too. I must be old-fashioned, but I always thought coming to terms with pain was part of growing up. I’ve never expected anyone to not knock on my door because it reminds me of that terrifying morning decades ago. I’ve never blown up at anyone for startling me with a camera flash (I’ve never even mentioned it to anyone who did). I’ve never expected anyone to not talk about Iraq or Afghanistan around me, even though some memories still hurt. I don’t need trigger warnings because a book might remind me of a murder victim I’ve seen.

And before anyone says it; being Hispanic doesn’t make me any more sympathetic to people who experience nonexistent, discriminatory “trauma”. Discrimination didn’t break me (or my parents, or grandparents). I’ve been discriminated against by whites for being Hispanic. I’ve been threatened by blacks for being white. I’ve been insulted by Hispanics for not being Hispanic enough. Big deal. None of that stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do. It wasn’t “trauma”. It was life.

Generations of Americans experienced actual trauma. Our greatest generation survived the Depression, then fought the worst war in humanity’s history, then built the United States into the most successful nation that has ever existed. They didn’t accomplish any of that by being crystal eggshells that would shatter at the slightest provocation, they didn’t demand society change to protect their tender feelings. They simply dealt with the hardships of their past and moved on. Even my great uncle, the Korea Marine, never expected us to tiptoe around him. He wouldn’t talk about his experience, but he didn’t order us not to.

So again, fuck your trauma. If your past bothers you that much, get help. I honestly hope you come to terms with it. I hope you manage to move forward. I won’t say anything meant to dredge up bad memories, and don’t think anyone should intentionally try to harm your feelings.

But nobody, nobody, should censor themselves to protect you from your pathological, and pathologically stupid, sensitivities.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


2014 in review

02Jan15

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 1,000,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 43 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


This was published December 9th on Breach Bang Clear.

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Remember a couple years back, when that plane crashed in that city and killed all those people? And all the news networks talked about it for months? And every guest interviewed on the news said, “I don’t know anything about flying, but let me tell you what that pilot should have done”?

Reason.com photo

Reason.com photo

Or maybe you remember that incident not long ago, where doctors tried and failed to save a patient with a rare and deadly disease. After the patient died, “experts” with no medical training, knowledge or experience talked nonstop about what the doctors did wrong. “Those doctors must have no idea what they’re doing. All they had to do was make the patient not die. How hard is that?”

What? You don’t remember those incidents? That’s odd. Maybe you’ll remember this one.

There was this cop once, in some small town somewhere. He stopped a guy for something minor and let him go, then realized the guy was a suspect in a bigger crime and stopped him again. The guy attacked the cop. They fought, and eventually the cop shot and killed the guy.

And for months, people with literally zero training, knowledge or experience with lethal force encounters blathered on about what that cop should have done. They spoke on national media outlets. They wrote articles for newspapers and blogs. They spoke at public events. And they constantly said ridiculous, stupid things like “The officer should have shot Brown in the leg.”

Or “All the officer had to do was use a Taser, baton or pepper spray.”

Or “There’s never a reason to shoot an unarmed person.”

Or “That officer fired six times and there’s no way that can ever be justified.”

Or “That poor young man was executed for stealing cigars.”

Or “The officer must have been lying. An unarmed person would never attack an armed cop.”

Or “The cop should have been put on trial for murder so everyone could see whether he was guilty or not.”

Sound familiar? Could be you’ve heard a little something about this case. I have, and I’m sick of the constant storm of ignorant bullshit being spewed about it.

images_RCS Moduloader Frame Paddles
Brought to you by JTF Awesome.

I don’t mean that I’ve simply heard reasonable criticism of police practices, or honest questions about use of force. The public has every right to question how we police them. But I’ve heard comments so moronic I wonder if the person making them remembers how to breathe without instructions. Since Officer Darren Wilson was no-billed by a Grand Jury, the nonsense has only gotten worse. I don’t want people to stop asking questions, and I’m happy to give answers. But for god’s sake, at least try to find out what the hell you’re talking about before you broadcast your opinion to the entire world.

What’s most frustrating is that dumb comments often come from otherwise intelligent, reasonable people who don’t second-guess pilots, doctors or professionals in other fields. These commenters generally stay in their lane and don’t hold forth about things they know nothing about. But when it comes to law enforcement, they feel completely justified prattling for hours on a subject about which they’re completely blind.

Why the difference? As far as I can tell, it’s because the public respects pilots, doctors and almost all other professionals. But cops? We’re different. Any idiot can be a cop. No intelligence required.

Maybe that belief is due to a lifetime-plus of cultural conditioning. Since before I was born, cops have been portrayed in popular culture as fools. Yes, we’ve also had positive cops on TV and in the movies; even so, not many people know Crockett and Tubbs or Barney Miller, while almost everyone knows Officer Barbrady and Barney Fife. The apparent result of this cultural conditioning is a widespread belief that police work is simple. Much of the public doesn’t know our job is complex, dynamic, challenging and sometimes dangerous; rather, they think it’s dull, plain, and frankly beneath anyone with even average intelligence.

Who knows, maybe police work really is that simple and easy. My experience may be a total fluke. Police work has put me in some of the most mentally and physically demanding situations of my life. I’ve had to fight for survival. I’ve had to talk people out of suicide. I’ve had to anticipate the next moves of desperate fleeing criminals. I’ve had to decipher the terrified, stuttering words of crime victims in a race against the clock to get descriptions out before suspects could get too far from the scene. I’ve had to ignore the horrible suffering of innocent people in order to focus on my task of ensuring the guilty didn’t escape justice. I’ve exercised every ounce of discipline I had and held my fire when a drunk pointed a pistol at me, because I wasn’t sure who was behind him.

None of that was easy. Many of those situations were incredibly complicated. I had to make multiple snap judgments based on training, hard-earned experience, and highly nuanced understanding of human nature and my own biases and weaknesses. I’ve worked with a lot of smart men and women who faced situations just as difficult, and sometimes far more difficult, than those I faced.

I want the public to understand the difficulties, challenges and realities of police work. So I’m going to briefly address some of the ridiculous, moronic misunderstandings that I’ve seen and read. None of what I’m about to write even hints that cops are always right, or that private citizens should never question them; we cops are beholden to the public we serve, and we should answer honest questions from good people (I myself have a LOT of questions and concerns about the Eric Garner case in NYC). I hope my answers help those who truly want to understand why Officer Wilson opened fire that day. But I also hope it encourages rabble-rousing, clueless idiots frantically running their mouths about how police “should” handle lethal force encounters to shut up and swim back to the shallow end of the pool.

“The officer could have just shot Michael Brown in the leg or arm.”

No, he probably couldn’t have. A leg or arm is a small, easy to miss target. Darren Wilson was firing center mass at a large target, and still completely missed with several shots. Even if he had hit Brown’s arm or leg, that wouldn’t have guaranteed Brown would stop, or live. Limb shots rarely immediately disable people. Plus, they can damage an artery and cause death within minutes.

Watch this video of a femoral artery bleedout:

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Read the rest at http://www.breachbangclear.com/ferguson-idiot-cops-and-experts-who-know-nothing-at-all/#comment-31654

4452_1084593231917_5914735_n (2)
Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com, Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


On November 28th, 2014, an active shooter shot up downtown Austin.

http://kxan.com/2014/12/01/chief-on-austin-gunman-hate-was-in-his-heart/

Unfortunately, that type of incident isn’t uncommon. The active shooter was a forty-nine year old man who was apparently angry at the government. That’s not uncommon either. Fortunately, before he managed to murder anyone he was killed by Austin police Sergeant Adam Johnson. That’s great, but it’s not exactly the most noteworthy aspect of this incident.

What really caught my attention was how the suspect was killed. Sergeant Johnson shot him from 104 yards away, with one shot from a pistol, firing one handed, while holding the reins of two horses.

A few comments I’ve read online suggested the 104-yard pistol shot was an Austin PD conspiracy, because such a shot is impossible. I’ve also heard people say Johnson must be lying or exaggerating. You just can’t shoot someone with one shot, one handed with a pistol from over a hundred yards away.

My own experience and training leads me to a different conclusion. That shot would be amazingly difficult, but not impossible.

My first experience with a long-distance shot

Most police officers never train to shoot past twenty five yards. I’ve worked for three departments, plus served as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo, and I can’t recall ever shooting a pistol at long range during police training. But I’ve taken a few pistol courses from private training companies. One of them was at Tiger Valley, near Waco, Texas.

The owner/instructor, TJ Pilling, lined us up on the pistol range one day and said we were going to have a competition. He told us to fire one shot at our targets, which were half-size steel silhouettes. We were at twenty-five yards, and we all hit. He backed us up to thirty-five yards and told us to fire again. We all hit. Forty-five yards. A few missed. Fifty-five yards. Only I and one other officer hit. Sixty-five. I was firing a .40 Glock 22, and aimed just over the top of the target’s head. I missed. The other officer hit.

TJ asked me if I aimed high. I told him I did. He said, “Aim center mass.” I did, and shocked the hell out of myself by hitting the target.

TJ walked us to a bay with a full-size silhouette target at 110 yards, and said, “If you have a 9mm, aim center mass. If it’s a .40, aim at the neck.”

The guys with 9mms started pinging the crap out of the target. I fired several shots standing and couldn’t get a hit, so I went prone and tried again. Eventually, after a spotter helped me walk the rounds in like a mortar, I made repeated hits.

I was, to put it mildly, surprised. I’d been a cop for twelve years at that point, and all my training had focused on shooting twenty-five yards and closer. I’d been in the military seventeen years but received almost no pistol training from either the Marines or Army. Conventional wisdom taught me pistols were last-ditch, close-in weapons, and shooting at someone even twenty-five yards away was stretching it. I had struggled to make accurate hits at twenty-five, had missed a target at that range more than once, and had seen cops and soldiers miss numerous shots even closer than that.

So how the hell was I hitting a target at 110 yards?

Tiger Valley’s training course taught me that my duty pistol was capable of far better accuracy than I thought. But I figured if I ever got into a real shooting on duty factors like movement, incoming rounds and reduced lighting would reduce my accuracy by about half. If I had a smaller off-duty pistol, the results would be even worse.

Then I went to a Graham Combat class

Last June I attended a Graham Combat class in Virginia. The instructor, Matt Graham, asked if we had ever fired a pistol at 100 yards. I told him about my experience having to lay prone and walk rounds in. He smiled and said, “We’ll fix that.”

At that class I was firing a 9mm Beretta Nano, more or less a pocket pistol. It’s a tiny gun, with a tiny barrel, and there was no way I’d make long-distance hits with it. Everyone else in the class was firing full-size Glocks and Colt .45s, and I figured they’d way outshoot me at any distance.

My Nano and me at the Graham Combat class. The pistol was accurate and ergonomic, but malfunctioned so often I stopped carrying it.

My Nano and me at the Graham Combat class. The pistol was accurate and ergonomic, but malfunctioned so often I stopped carrying it.

After we fired several hundred rounds during numerous drills, Matt lined us up at twenty-five yards and started the distance drill. As we backed up I found myself surprised again; I was hitting steel well past what I thought my pistol’s max effective range was. I didn’t start missing until we got to around seventy-five yards, but even then I was able to make adjustments and get back on target (the further we got, the further low and left I had to aim). We kept backing up, and I kept managing to put rounds on target. Some students quit, but a few of us kept shooting.

Eventually we were at 130 yards, the max we could do on that range. An officer with a Colt .45 went first, and made a hit with her first shot. Nobody else wanted to do it. I stepped up.

The Nano has a double-action-only trigger; every time you shoot, it’s like firing a revolver with the hammer forward. A trigger pull that long and heavy causes muscle strain that makes the shooter’s hands tremble, which decreases accuracy. That, along with the fact that at seventy-five yards I was aiming way off the target, convinced me I’d have to fire at least several shots before I managed to make a hit (if I was able to hit at all). I picked an imaginary spot in the dirt about three feet low and five feet left, focused on the front sight, and started to squeeze.

My hands were shaking badly. The trigger squeeze took forever. My front sight seemed to bounce all around my imaginary aiming point. The weapon fired. What felt like a long silence followed.

Then we heard a loud “ping!” as my round hit the target.

Surprised exclamations erupted from the other students. I probably yelled something like “holy S**t!” Then I looked around. We had two professional photographers with us. Neither had recorded the shot. Damn my luck. There was no way in hell I was going to try the shot again. Now I’d have to listen to my buddies accuse me of being full of crap, because I had no proof I had done it.

But I had again learned a valuable lesson about my weapon’s capabilities. Contrary to conventional wisdom and my own prior beliefs, even a small concealed carry pistol is good at distances past 100 meters. A good pistol plus good training equals a shooter capable of making hits at much longer distances than most people think possible. Graham told us he’s had students make pistol hits at 230 yards during his classes.

But training classes are far from the only proof that decent shooters can make long-distance shots with pistols.

An Airman’s long, lucky shot

On June 20th, 1994, an Airman provided proof of a pistol’s effectiveness. That day, another Airman about to be discharged from the Air Force against his will walked into a building on Fairchild Air Force Base, in the state of Washington, with an AK-type rifle. He killed a psychiatrist and psychologist who had recommended him for discharge, went on to kill two random victims, and also shot twenty-two others.

As the shooter walked outside, twenty-five year old Airman Andrew Brown, a military police officer, approached him on a bicycle. Brown jumped off his bike, drew his Beretta M9 and ordered the shooter to drop his weapon (for future reference, if someone is wandering around with an AK murdering people, there’s no reason to order him to drop his weapon before you engage). Brown was approximately seventy yards away when he shouted the order.

The shooter opened fire on Brown. Brown crouched low and fired four rounds. Two missed, one hit the shooter in the shoulder, and one hit him right between the eyes. The shooter fell dead. Airman Brown had made an amazing shot, killed an active shooter and undoubtedly saved numerous lives.

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=8767

Trick shooters and freaks of nature

Then there are guys like “Instructor Zero”, a former Italian Army soldier known for unreal weapons skills. Zero has a YouTube video where he makes several 300 meter hits with a pistol.

Crazier than that is this video, where champion shooter Jerry Miculek hits a balloon at 1000 yards with a revolver.

There seems to be no question that highly skilled and experienced pistol shooters can outshoot most rifle shooters.

“The police must be lying about that pistol shot.”

Probably not. Sure, any one cop can lie about what he did on a scene. But on a shooting scene, you have multiple entities crosschecking evidence. Patrol officers and supervisors make the initial assessment, secure the scene and any evidence they can see. Then homicide investigators arrive, usually with a Crime Scene Unit. Then investigators from the Medical Examiner’s office conduct their own investigation. In this case the FBI investigated as well.

Even if the patrol supervisors, Homicide investigators and CSU simply accepted Sergeant Johnson’s version of events (they wouldn’t), the Medical Examiner’s people and FBI wouldn’t. Distances are measured by each investigative division, the angle of the round’s impact is analyzed to determine what direction it came from, and the location of spent shells is recorded (shells are usually what’s under the little plastic markers you see in crime scene photos and videos). Everything about the shooting is documented and recorded. Each agency reaches its own conclusions about how the shooting unfolded. My educated guess here is that Austin PD chief Art Acevedo didn’t make his announcement about the 104-yard shot until after the Medical Examiner and FBI corroborated Austin PD’s conclusion.

But let’s assume Johnson shot the suspect from much closer, then lied about where he shot from. He would have had to shoot, then pick up the spent shell, then drop it at a different location further away. And he’d have to do it while a flurry of activity was going on around him, since a mass shooting in downtown Austin is kind of a big deal and brings out lots of witnesses. And Johnson would know tons of potential witnesses were around who could say, “Wait a minute, I was looking out the window during the shooting and saw the cop in a totally different spot than he claimed.” This was a high-profile shooting, investigated by multiple agencies. The chances of pulling off a whopper of a lie like “I shot the suspect from 104 yards away”, when the real distance was only 10.4 yards, would be next to impossible.

I don’t see how Johnson could lie about this one and get away with it.

But could Sergeant Johnson really make a 104 yard shot one handed?

That’s a fair question. Yes I made hits at over 100 yards, Instructor Zero did it at 300 meters, Jerry Miculek did it at 1000 yards, and Airman Andrew Brown made two shots at seventy yards when it really counted. But all of those were with a good two-handed grip against mostly stationary targets. How could Johnson make that shot one handed, probably against a moving target, while holding the reins of two horses that were also probably moving?

The answer is, he was extremely lucky. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have pistol skills; without significant training and experience, he would have hit nowhere near the suspect. But with so many factors involved, luck played a huge role. Maybe the suspect moved six inches in the half-second it took the bullet to leave the pistol and hit him, and that six inches caused the round to hit his heart instead of a non-vital area. Maybe the suspect stopped in front of a brick wall with nobody else around, and Sergeant Johnson was under less stress because had no concerns about hitting innocent people. Maybe the suspect had no idea Johnson was there (he was reportedly under pressure from other officers advancing on him), and that gave Johnson plenty of time to aim in and slowly squeeze the trigger rather than rush the shot. Whatever the factors were, they must have all come together perfectly to help Johnson hit him from that distance.

As far as I can tell, Sergeant Adam Johnson made an amazing and lucky shot, when the city of Austin really needed him to. I hope I get to shake his hand someday.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com, Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7



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