Setting The Record Straight

35

Let’s get this perfectly clear, okay? I’m not an expert. I’m just sorta “experienced.” They’re not the same thing at all. After telling you guys about “The Memsaab Mug-Wipe” in a previous post linked here, I got lotsa mail on it. Most of you were entertained, some were info-tained, but a couple of readers took me to the woodshed. They found an easy half-dozen tactical errors in the maneuver; things no “expert” on gunfighting would ever endorse, like revealing the presence of a gun before launching a drawing stroke.

They’re probably right, but I’m not an expert, remember? Heck, I think she shoulda called in an air strike on those dirtbags from two kilometers away. That woulda been “expert” in my book. I bet Clint Smith would agree. But instead, the Memsaab just had an “experience” and it worked. That’s kinda been the story of my life: gathering experiences, not expertise.

Mostly, I’ve just shuffled around the world learning simple things like “avoid trip-wires,” bushes that move against the wind could be getting pushed, and never let little people with guns take cover behind you in a firefight — they draw fire, and dang near blow your eardrums out when they shoot over your shoulder ’n stuff like that. It’s useful, but not “expert.”

In fact, I think some of the best things I’ve learned about gunfighting aren’t about hardware or tactics at all. They’re more like “peripheral considerations,” both for those whose job it is to seek out gunfights, and for those who try to avoid ’em if at all possible, and win ’em when they can’t. One of them is the fundamental importance of being silent, whether you’re sneakin’ up on trouble or tiptoeing away from it. Here’s my non-expert feelings on that and a couple more.

Shake, Rattle And Roll

Rattles: If you’re gonna make noise, make it “Bang!” It doesn’t matter whether you’re wearing puckerbrush- camo in Whatzistan, dutyblue in Boston or aloha-casual in Honolulu, if you go about armed, you shouldn’t tromp around soundin’ like Homeless Harry’s junk-laden shopping cart. Frankly, some of you have the noise signature of ceremonial Zulu dancers, complete with ankle bells and wrist-rattles.

Ditch that 42-piece key-and-trinket collection, and dump the loose change before it gets you dumped. I personally insist on silent footwear as well, eschewing hobnail boots, dancing taps and skinny-soled loafers that squeak like frightened mice. Get fully kitted out for your daily drudge, and then conduct a “shake & rattle test.” If there comes only one moment in your life when you desperately need to sound more like fog than like a dropped tray of silverware, you’ll be tickled silly you made the effort. If that moment never comes, then just drift around smug and silent.

Rivets: Rivet your Roscoe, Rambo. The finest ordnance and the best ammo ain’t gonna help if you reach for Roscoe and he ain’t there. No matter what position you wear your piece in, in what kinda scabbard, it ain’t certified for emergency use until you’ve subjected it to simulated fights, fits, falls and butt-whuppins. One pal of mine was almost killed with his own backup gun — a .38 snubbie in an ankle holster — while in foot pursuit of a fleeing felon. My buddy was gaining on the dirtbag when suddenly one leg felt a bit lighter, he kicked something, and then saw a familiar-looking dark object skittering down the sidewalk in front of him. Yeah; his trusty two-inch. It actually passed the suspect, who gleefully scooped it up. The encounter produced two results: First, an interesting game of “mine’s bigger than yours,” which fortunately ended well for my pal, and second, a new ankle holster acquisition, this one rigorously tested for tenacity.

Please note, this ain’t about the merits of ankle holsters, it’s about torture-testing and securing your rig. Hip holsters are subject to the same kinda slippage, especially if mated with a too-narrow belt. However you pack it, tack it down tight, folks.

Piece Petting: Never pet your piece in public. Off-duty cops and on-duty crooks are the worst about this, but concealedcarry citizens are a close second. Bluntly put, you guys pet, pat, fondle and grope your concealed roscoes in subways, supermarkets, bars and banks like you’re checking on a frisky pet weasel. Yeah, I know, it’s subconscious, and it’s comforting to just give Roscoe a little stroke to reassure yourself he’s there at your side. Don’t do it. I see it, and the wrong kinda folks see it too.

I see it mostly when people are getting outta cars or trucks, when they’ve just gotten up from a seated position, hustled across a street, climbed or descended stairs, all kinds of activities, but most notably in these two instances: First, when a uniformed cop appears, and second, when some dude suddenly materializes who looks like trouble — both of ’em being prime times you shouldn’t be petting your piece.

See? If you’re looking for expert advice, don’t look at me — I’ll be out getting more “experience.” And avoiding trip-wires.

Connor OUT