What’s Tactical?

Roy, your article a few months ago about the 32’s hit home with me. While digging through my safes this weekend I encountered the following guns: Colt 1903 32 ACP, S&W 5 screw K-32 32 long, 2 S&W M-30-1’s 32 long, a nickle Davis derringer 32 ACP, and even a Colt Official Police 5″ in 32-20 (does that count?). They are all fun to shoot!

Keep the good work with best three magazines in the industry,

David Medlin, sheriff Oldham County Texas

Article Link: http://fmgpublications.ipaperus.com/FMGPublications/AmericanHandgunner/AHND13/


Just wanted to let all know about the “problem” I had with Ruger the other day. A former friend banged up the ejector rod housing on my new SBH beyond polishing or repair. So I sent the folks up in Conn a simple email for a price on a replacement, describing the part in what I thought to be full detail. The response came from them for me to call. Jeez, how difficult can this be?

Okay, so I got “Mark” in the parts department, who despite all the details, still needed the serial number. So, after some mumbling on parts numbers, and “aha” or two, Mark said “,okay we got it and we’ll send it to you”. Since I needed it I didn’t discuss the price, so I asked to put it on a card, and Mark replied, “I’m sending it to you…no charge”. He wouldn’t take payment despite my re-offer!

It’s hard to find courtesy, professionalism, and customer concern at any price in these times. It’s astounding when it’s at no cost. Thank you, Ruger. And thank you, Mark!!

R. Doolittle
Mobile, Al

Conner really hit a “Home Run” with that article! The references to Ancient Rome parallel many current events. His use of the Latin phrase “Panem et Circenses” is clear evidence that Conner has a “classical education” in history. I only have one question for him. How do you say “Food Stamps and Football” in Latin?

John Stasnek
via e-mail

Gentlemen – American Handgunner has always been the best when it comes to any information about anything handgun-related. The addition of the “Tactics & Training” column adds even more to this stature. If your first two pieces are any indication, your publication will be the source when discussing the why and how of concealed carry encounters (as related so well by Massad Ayoob in “In the Gravest Extreme”) to add to the area you have already “owned” for years – the what (hardware). Further, the writing of the entire staff is just the best. In the May/June issue, John Connor uses his outstanding skills as a storyteller/journalist to shine the lights on something all of us should be familiar with – our pre-conceived notions of where someone is comin from – the tendency we all have – unfortunately – to profile someone. Once “Uncle John” made us all hear the “ice crackin,” everyone began a new education. Great job, once again, John Connor! In my opinion, there are no weak areas in American Handgunner – thanks for doing such a great job, fellas. Stay safe.
Via E-mail

I just read the new column about tactics (Tactics & Training, March/April 2014), and it was great. For an introduction about “tactical” it was excellent. I’ve often been amused by the (mis)use of the word, too. Mr. Mroz has his head screwed on tight and gives great advice. I might just add my own Rule Zero I came up with: Rule Zero: Anything you see about firearms on TV or in the movies is likely stupid and can get you killed. Thanks for a great article.
David W. Loeffler
Via e-mail

More On Being Tactical

After wasting a lot of my limited reading time perusing several of those “survival/tactical” books, I’m going to agree with nearly everything Ralph put forth in his article “Tactical: It’s All In Your Head,” (March/April 2014). The most important points include thinking through as many possible situations and scenarios you can imagine. Have a plan, or at least an idea of just where the line in the sand is for you when it comes to the use of force — especially deadly force. Know the laws in your state and locale, and take the time to read some “what if” publications, and articles like American Handgunner’s own Ayoob Files.

Notice above I said “nearly everything.” I take a slight exception to the statement about being “an NRA Instructor or club match competitor.” Maybe being an IPSC/USPSA or IDPA competitor doesn’t make you “street ready,” but I’d much rather have one of those types at my side in a crisis than the guy who only spent four hours taking a concealed carry course to get his permit, and only shoots once in awhile in a static range environment.

Many of the “club competitors” I shoot with every couple of weeks are pretty doggone serious shooters. They are accurate, fast, know how to shoot around obstacles from difficult positions and absolutely know their firearms inside and out. They can clear jams in a heartbeat, reload on the move and shoot accurately while moving. Most of them shoot a variety of different pistols and rifles on an alternating basis, and we have regular night matches as well. All of these skills, and the repetitive applications, make these folks far better shooters than the average armed citizen. I say that from the heart, and base it on my own experience. Before I started shooting competition matches, I was most definitely in the former category — an armed citizen. Now I honestly believe myself to be a prepared shooter. God forbid, if it ever comes down to it, I’m confident I’ll give a good account of myself. Couldn’t say that five or six years ago, but the competition, and everything that goes with it, made the difference.
Marc Rocque
Via e-mail

Marc, your observations are spot-on, but I think what Ralph was talking about is thinking that competition training is enough, that it will get you through. It will help, for sure, but dedicated defensive training by teachers who really understand what they are teaching will help to complete the picture. Competition teaches gun-handling skills, markshmanship and to handle a bit of stress. But as you say, there’s much more to it, and having a plan, knowing the laws and training in specific defensive situations is different from playing a game. I encourage any shooter to do all of it, including competition. It’s best to be well-rounded. My own competition skills definitely played a significant role during my police career on many occasions. Practice does makes perfect — or at least not as bad as you were before! RH

I just purchased the March/April 2014 issue at the grocery store and as always, I make a mental note to subscribe. But first I want to compliment Ralph Mroz for clarifying the meaning of the word “tactical” in the new Tactics And Training column. Over the course of almost 30 years in federal law enforcement I saw others define tactical as wearing so much Velcro if they fell they might be stuck to the my slide forward.
Your magazine is the best of its type in the world. When I teach, I always put the NRA first and American Handgunner second for students to buy. I want them to join the NRA first, then buy a subscription to AH. Congratulations to you and your fine staff.
Art Gonzalez
Via e-mail

Thanks for your many kind words and thoughtful letter. I always toss out those buffers in any guns I carry for self-defense, as I’ve seen countless ones broken to bits inside guns, just waiting to cause a jam. I find a bit of training from a knowledgeable teacher will help those who ride the slide forward instead of letting it snap. One other thing to keep in mind is the pesky loss of fine-motor skills for some people during high stress. Fumbling for that slide release might be hard to do, and/or you might miss it or be missing your thumb due to an injury. A whole-hand grasp of the slide is easier, plus it allows you to clear stovepipes or other jams at the same time. And, keep in mind, any semi-auto you pick up on the ground during a fight can be put back into action from a slide-lock position by simply running the slide. There’s no need to search for a slide release hiding someplace. Things to think about, eh? Thanks again for your support. We mean that. RH

Suspender Carry

I have reached that milestone in my life wherein my back has decided to retire, with or without me. I can no longer wear a belt, nor any other appliance which will constrict my spine in any way, shape or form! Thanks to your mentioning Duluth Trading Post side-clip suspenders, I’m able to carry a pocket holster in a pair of loose-waisted jeans (or Dockers) with the use of suspenders. All of the holsters I used to use are simply no longer an option.

I find myself drawn to bib overalls, but find them a mite awkward for CCW. I tried Duke’s method of wearing a loose belt with the holster below the waist while using suspenders, but that was a no-go. What would you guys recommend for CCW under these circumstances? It’s kinda like always being seen with the same concealed gun vest. You never used to wear bib overalls, suddenly you do, and everyone knows you’re a gun-guy.

As an aside, a pocket holster in bib overalls just “knocks about” in the pocket and beats the crap out of your leg. At the moment, I carry a Ruger LCP .380 in the cross pocket of the overalls, chest high. But like a snuff can in the back pocket of a pair of jeans, it will eventually print. Any suggestions would be more that welcome.
Ray Arellano
Via e-mai

Learned an easy trick from an old guy (when I wasn’t an old guy …) and have applied it myself in my own bib overalls — and even jacket pockets. Wrap the pocket holster in a good old-fashioned handkerchief, the classic, farm-type of handkerchief you see guys in bibs outside of farm stores pulling out. It tends to keep the holster in place, conceals it neatly — and also ensures you have a hanky if you need it. Sort of “wrap” it around the pocket holster, then stuff the lot into your pocket, with the gun open through the top, of course. Works great and is mighty comfy. I also saw a veteran street cop pull a big hankie like this out of his cargo pocket. He carefully unwrapped it on the hood of his police car and pulled out a pocket tool, small first-aid kit, BIC lighter and a couple of other things he needed. This was before all the fancy Maxpediton-type pouches, bags and sacks. I saw him use that same hankie as a sling on a kid one time. RH

Old Fashioned

I like firearms as much as the next guy and certainly own my share, but lately a question has occurred to me I hope your connections to the industry can answer. Many civilian firearms are stuck in the good old days. Sure, plenty of new materials are being used, but are they incorporated to improve performance or just reduce costs? How would you like to have to take apart and clean your car after every use? Don’t tell me about combustion and dirt, cars routinely encounter a lot more of both and still work reliably, far more reliably than most semi-autos. And why are firearms still entirely mechanical? We screw on plenty of electronics in the form of lights, lasers, rangefinders and even optics, and they work reliably in the mud and rain. Why hasn’t the connection between the trigger and the firing pin changed in the past 50 years? Why can’t it be electronic?

The 1911 is a perfect example. It’s a lot like a 1950 Ford, or maybe a vintage Harley, beautiful and a lot of fun, but let’s face it, antiquated. Drop it in the mud and it might not work at all. I just bought a Ruger Mark lll. I love it, but it’s like taking apart a cuckoo clock — little springs and tiny bits fly all over the table. It’s so bad they have a video just to show how to clean it. The point has been made to the effect a Glock, or any of the plastic guns, have the soul of a putty knife — but they don’t have to. Design teams can make equipment look and perform anyway the consumer likes, so maybe it’s us. Maybe we just expect too little for our money.
Jon Kime
Via e-mail

Jon, you bring up some embarrassingly good points, if you ask me. Old school is fun, for sure, but your point about an electronic trigger is especially interesting. And caseless ammo that actually works for us regular guys? Any of you manufacturers listening? Do consumers simply keep the bar too low? RH

LE Ammo

Having been in law enforcement for close to 40 years, I would be careful about basing my decision concerning what ammo to carry on what the local PD uses. It’s been my experience the budget will often dictate which ammo is carried by the officers. I would feel much more comfortable in doing my own research and basing my decision on what I learn, along with what weapon to carry and where. Thanks for putting out such a good magazine.
Richard Greenwood
Via e-mail

I agree with what Mas is saying when he’s talked about the choice of defense ammo in articles. I am retired from the Boise, Idaho, Police Dept. We were issued Speer Gold Dot ammunition by the agency and I chose to use the same brand in my personal-defense firearms. My rationale is simple. If asked about my choice of ammo (and if you are involved in a critical incident, you will be asked) my reply would be “The Boise Police Dept. researched ammunition and determined this was the ammo best suited to their needs. I use it because the Boise Police Dept. has far more money available for research than I do, therefore I will trust their judgment and follow their lead.” That response should be adequate for anyone. Keep up the good work.
Roger Byrd
Via e-mail

Amos Grundy Story

Just read your “Amos Overcharges” story (Insider, Jan/Feb 2014). Loved it. It reminded me of just how we shooters really are. Let me tell you a short story of my own. I had to stop competing in USPSA due to many spinal surgeries. During this time off other things happen to our bodies that just come with age. For me, there is little to no cartilage left on the wrist end of the radius. Very painful most of the time. 

I decided that it was going to hurt if I shoot or not and I might as well have fun while I’m in pain. Shooting my STI 2011 .40 S&W was probably not the smart thing to be doing to minimize the pain. I went on my Facebook page and asked my shooter friends if they had any load data for a minor power factor .38 Super. Same STI with a different top end.

Here’s where it gets good.

Julie Golob (the famous S&W team caption and shooter) responded, but since she has an ammo sponsor she didn’t really have much info. Then I received a response from Bruce Piatt. He supplied load info, and said it was the load he used for the Bianchi Cup. He also gave me info to look up other loads. 

The point is, I told this to some people at work and it meant absolutely nothing to them until a shooter/golfer explained a response from Julie and Bruce to a club shooter like me would be like Annika Sorenstam and Phil Mickelson responding to a handicap golfer. In other words, it would never happen. Shooters are just more grounded. I think it might come from having to pick up brass and tape bullet holes.

Shooters are generally good people. In my quest to develop this minor load I also met Rudy at Billy Bullets. To make sure I got the right bullet he had me bring the barrel, swedged it, and measured the result to make sure I purchased the right thing. Again, shooters are good people. 

The only downside to meeting Rudy? I think I want to start shooting revolver division too. I hope I don’t spend too much getting my revolver set up. I just wanted to remind everyone the good people in shooting far outnumber the bad ones.
Vince Padia
Via e-mail

Subscription Scammers

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thanks for your Roy Alert! published in each issue, warning us about the subscription scammers. I received one of these scams. Thanks to your warning I quickly threw it in the recycle bin. It’s nice to know there is still a company who cares about more than the bottom line. Thanks for looking out for your subscribers. Keep up the great work!
John Eisiminger
Lexington, Ky.

Glad you caught ’em, John. Keep in mind, unless it tells you to make the check out to American Handgunner (and not some sleazy third-party), or if the address is different from our San Diego addresses listed in my warning, toss it! Also, you can check to make sure the number on the top line of the renewal label matches your ID on the magazine label you receive. If it seems wrong, it likely is! RH


It was apparent after the first paragraph, this article (Ayoob Files, Jan/Feb 2014) would paint the victim black (no pun intended) and gloss over Zimmerman’s role. Very disappointing from the author of In The Gravest Extreme, a reference work I value because it makes reference to things like disparity of force and pushing someone into a fight and claiming self-defense. It pleases me George has gone on to show the world the douchebag he is. Yes, it got turned into FUBAR, but I fail to accept only his take is the correct one.
Carson Lemmon
Savannah, Ga.

Carson, opposing views are always welcome here. However, your theory Zimmerman pushed Martin into a fight was pretty well discredited by evidence presented at trial. As to his later peccadilloes, they have nothing to do with the shooting case. There’s substantial collective criminal justice experience at American Handgunner, so we still go with the “innocent until proven guilty” thing. Respectfully, Mas Ayoob

Old Vs. New

I got a perfect Christmas gift when my wife got me subscriptions to American Handgunner and GUNS. I couldn’t be happier.
As to the Old vs. New discussion I see in your pages at times, I find the new guns to be better for a number of reasons. First, there’s a much better variety to choose from and you can just about pick what you want with no extra cost. Second, the new guns will probably last and wear better than the old guns because of advances in metallurgy and machinery. Third, the new guns, for the most part, are much more accurate out of the box.

Having said that, I love the old guns for their history and workmanship for the period. I collect them because of that.
My final word is — both are great.
Rodney Linkous
Via e-mail

Cops Too Aggressive?

I always read Massad Ayoob’s articles first and “Lessons From Kevin Davis” (Ayoob Files, March/April 2014) about officer-involved shootings was no exception. Long before I took Ayoob’s LFI-1 class at the turn of the century, his writing was my window into the officer survival movement. I think he deserves some credit for the fact the number of officers killed by gunshot last year was the lowest since 1887.

However, I’m concerned there may be a downside to this success story. I believe our police forces have become too aggressive, too militaristic and too free with their gunfire, always in the name of officer safety. I also note in the jurisdictions around me, officers who kill in questionable circumstances seem to have little to fear from prosecutors, grand juries or their superiors.
I would like to know if Mas feels that the emphasis on officer survival has gone too far.
Dr. Michael S. Brown
Vancouver, Wash.

I’ve asked Mas to comment on it in a future Cop Talk column. Even if what you say is not the case in real life, public perception is still reality, so what is LE doing to create this concern? We’ll explore it. On a side note, our American COP Magazine often covers controversial topics like this, and we warn officers and agencies to monitor use of force trends and public perception. You may enjoy reading some of the editorials there. Go to www.americancopmagazine.com and click on the digital editions to see what real cops say to each other. It’s not full of secrets, just the truth about a wide-range of topics. RH

Arrows Vs. Bullets

I enjoyed Wayne van Zwoll’s review of our Native American’s expertise with their short bows (“Can Arrows Trump Bullets?” March/April 2014). His reference to Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, gives our French allies a bit too much credit however. The Mary Rose had been docked in Portsmouth harbor for refit when she was launched against the French fleet on July 19, 1545. She turned turtle and sank shortly after launch, while still in full view of the king and his reviewing party. Theories abound, and the facts are a bit muddled, but the addition of a higher gun deck and more cannons was surely the major factor. Henry, an advocate of the More + Bigger = Better theory, had added excessively to her armament. Apparently the Mary Rose opened her lower gun ports while making a hard turn, began a roll—and completed it without hesitation. She was indeed on her way to do battle with the French fleet, but was lost before receiving a single cannonball.

Much was salvaged at the time. The ship was relocated in 1971, raised in 1982, and is now on display at the Portsmouth Historical Dockyard.
Larry Stone
Bluefield, W. Va

Wayne Van Zwoll appears to have confused two heroes of the Republic of Texas in his article about bullets and bows. He refers to “Bigfoot Walker” as helping Samuel Colt develop the Colt Walker. Of course, Texas Ranger Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker did provide that service, but the nickname “Bigfoot” does not attach to Captain Walker. William A. A. “Bigfoot” Wallace was also a Ranger and his exploits are legendary, but do not include helping in development of the Colt Walker.
Ray Brewer
Via e-mail

Digital Editions

I would just like to thank everyone there for the digital posting of your fine magazine. Due to economic setbacks in my income, its hard to get a copy every time you publish. I have been a faithful follower of American Handgunner since the middle of 1976. You have great writers with a wealth of information for ordinary folks like me. So thanks again for making it possible for me to keep on reading your fine magazine.
Skip Whitehead
Mobile, Ala.

Frustrated Cop

Thanks for publishing the “State of the Onion” article (Guncrank Diaries, March/April 2014)! It made me laugh — instead of cry at the truth on the page. I’m a welfare fraud investigator in Southern California. We are a small, sworn, armed, POST agency here in the Republic of California. A couple years back our unit recovered over 14 million dollars just in fraud money. People on “SNAP” (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), free child care and cash aid were lyin’ cheatin’ and stealin’ — and those were just the ones we caught and could prove! It’s BS we continue to give money to people convicted of welfare fraud. Aid the children not the offender.

The welfare system was a great idea until we Americans got a hold of it. Then year after year we had fewer and fewer rules. We can be so mean — wanting people to work and contribute and all. How about this: In my county we actualy spend huge amounts of money to advertise to advertise SNAP — we don’t want to get fined for not handing out enough money. And yes, that really happens. Ever wonder why California is broke? I don’t.

How about some more programs for Veterans? You, because like … freedom isn’t free. How about some more programs to make people self-sufficient? So the “help” can be temporary? Maybe a program to teach english to our “immigrants” so they can enter the workforce. I know it all sounds a little crazy, but I’m just saying is all.

How about a hand up instead of a hand out?

Mr. Editorship, could you please keep me anonymous? You know we are all about freedom of speech, unless it’s a government employee of course.
Name Withheld By Request

Liability Insurance

I’m a former police officer, and one thing I know, if you get involved in a shooting you will probably get sued. Either the perp or their family will file suit, no matter what the circumstances were. Unless you live in a “Castle Doctrine” state preventing law suits in a legal justified shooting, get ready for the suit. This is why I contacted my homeowners insurance and inquired about a blanket liability (umbrella) policy of one million dollars to cover myself and my wife.

I explained to my agent we both have concealed carry permits and asked if our homeowners policy would cover us if sued because of a self defense shooting. The agent contacted their home office for an answer. They came back with “If the use of force was ruled justified, then you would be covered.”

The extra premium is worth the peace of mind knowing a bullet-chasing lawyer and the criminal I had to defend myself from aren’t going to get everything it took me years to acquire.
Tim J. Kader
LaGrange, Ohio

More Small Game

Just wanted to add my thanks along with the rest of your subscribers for the small game cleaning article (July/Aug, 2013). It’s that time of year and I’m putting bunnies on the table with my Blackhawk revolver in 9mm. Mine is accurate in 9mm no matter what the “internet experts” say! Please keep the articles on handgun hunting and steel revolvers coming, even though some people don’t think they’re as cool as little plastic pistols. We old timers know better.
Steve Bond

Amos Overcharging

Just finished reading through the Jan/Feb 2014 issue again. You guys have come up with a fantastic array of useful and entertaining articles. Special kudos to Alan Korwin for his “Is It Controversial to Know Our Gun Laws?” contribution. I couldn’t agree more that knowledge is power, and the more you know about the gun laws in your home state, the safer you are from those who may try to take your rights away. And a big thanks to Roy Huntington for his “Amos Overcharges” end piece (Insider). Always does the spirit good to have a good belly laugh on a regular basis.
John Smith, Ed.D.
Via e-mail

John, forwarned is indeed the best place to be. Also, Wonder Dogs Scout and Amelie have helped Amos solve another head-scratcher of a gunsmithing problem. Stay tuned for it in an upcoming issue. RH

When To Defend

The debate on when to come to the defense of others has been raging in the various online forums for sometime now. Kevin F. Carney’s “Are You Worth It” letter (Speak Out, March/April 2014) represents a valid perspective, but not the only one. We all must make the choice as to when we would draw our weapon and confront evil. For some it is only to protect themselves and their family; for others that threshold encompasses more.
Mick Marchi
Via e-mail

American Handgunner ® welcomes letters to the editor. We reserve the right to edit all published letters for clarity and length. Due to the volume of mail, we are unable to individually answer your letters or e-mail. In sending a letter to Handgunner, you agree to provide Publishers Development Corp. such copyright as is required for publishing and redistributing the contents of your letter in any format. Send your letters to Speak Out, American Handgunner, 12345 World Trade Dr., San Diego, CA 92128; e-mail: ed@nullamericanhandgunner.com

Email Roy at the address above, or leave a message in the comment section of this page. All comments can take up to 24 hours before they will be posted. We have the right to edit all comments.

All letters above published in The May/June 2014 Issue Of American Handgunner.

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2 thoughts on “What’s Tactical?

  1. mike smulski

    Great magazine, I love it, thanks to all your writers and editors for putting it together. The photos are great and the subject matter very interesting. I especially enjoy detailed writeups and comparisons of some of the old guns.
    Re. the use of the word “tactical” – I guess it’s like any other technical subject that develops it’s own jargon and catch phrases – seems there are no guns or weapons anymore, just “platforms” and “weapons systems”.
    I’m old and learned how to shoot and defend myself (seperate subjects) from Jeff Cooper at the old Orange Gunsite back in the late 1980’s and it all holds true today. Cooper spent at least a day of his 5 1/2 day 250 course on combat mindset, color code of awareness, etc. Back in those days the 250 course was 5 days and 2 nights of training, followed by a man on man shootoff on Saturday morning. I did my best to get the Marines, SEALS, and LA SWAT guys “tipsy” Friday night, so they might not be so sharp on Saturday morning.
    I watch the outdoor channel and it is full of folks rediscovering what Col Cooper taught us, or sometimes giving out questionable advice, some of which is dangerous.
    Thanks again for the nice magazine.

  2. Pat Nemes

    I would like to see an article describing the various means currently available to mount optics to handguns. Both those types of mounts that require gunsmith installation and those that the user can mount.

    Summarize which types provide the best accuacy and reliability.

Comments are closed.