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I worked as a fingerprint technician for my local police force some decades back. It surprised me when the officers would tell me about how criminals would try to pretty up their guns.
It wasn’t as if street level thugs would send their guns off for gold engraving. Instead they would paint them with nail polish, or wrap the grip with a brightly colored tape. If they used a shotgun to guard their crack house, then they would favor sidesaddle ammo carriers with different colored shells.
Some of this stuff would not effect the reliability of the firearm, but the painting and nail polish certainly could. Lucky thing that most criminals are dirt stupid.
Decorating guns on the cheap is certainly nothing new. Frontiersmen in North America would buy shiny brass tacks at the fur company trading post, and while away cold evenings in their rude shacks by carefully driving them into the stocks of their muskets to produce eye catching patterns.
That sort of thing pales besides how the rich spend huge sums in order to create works of art out of functional self defense tools.
Our good friend knirirr has been kind enough to clue us in to this web page, which discusses how the famed jewelry and luxury goods firm of Tiffany & Co engraved a number of guns in the period from 1880 to 1910.
The material most commonly used was silver, the worksmanship is without peer, and the engraving is amazingly detailed. Click on the link to view a sample of these works of art.
Of course, I am a most practical man. The thing that springs foremost into my mind when seeing such silver masterpieces is that they would be just the thing if I ever had to pistol whip a werewolf.
One of the constant problems I come across during my charity self defense course is how students are convinced that they know the basics of gun handling through video games and movies.
(Please click picture for full sized version.)
This usually crops up in that the student is convinced they are an expert shot before they ever pick up a firearm for the first time. After all, they see their media heroes wielding a handgun with one hand and never missing, even though the actor never takes time to steady their aim. Isn’t that reality?
Although it hasn’t come up too often, some of my students were fans of video games. These people always want to carry a bunch of guns.
There is a real world precedent, as those who like small revolvers will often carry a spare. This is more to allow them to increase their ready firepower than to have guns ready in case different threats pop up.
A journalist conducted a little social experiment earlier this year in London, England. She instructed her young daughters to look lost and scared, and then placed them in the path of busy shoppers. Over 600 adults walked by the waifs, avoiding contact of any kind. TV cameras recorded the shameful display.
The main reason why adults in the UK refused to even consider helping a distressed child in public is said to be due to pedophile hysteria, or an extreme prejudice against adults who interact with children. It would appear that even the most innocent and helpful of actions are seen only as overtures of a sexual predator to recruit new victims.
This sort of hypervigilance, and rush to condemn innocent adults, has been a problem in the United Kingdom for decades. Adults, particularly males, have been extremely reluctant to approach children that clearly needed help because of fear of arrest. This extreme prejudice has resulted in some unintended consequences beyond the preventible deaths of children, as males have avoided professions where they have to interact with children for fear of being branded a sexual predator.
I have always wanted to travel, particularly the United Kingdom. One of the questions I have puzzled over is what to do if I came across a child in distress, should I ever get the funds together to make the trip. My response has always been to do what I would do if I was at home in the US, and strive to protect and aid the child in whatever way I could while summoning help from the proper authorities. If this meant that I was to spend some time in a jail cell for my actions, then that would be fine with me!
But then news of a town in Great Britain named Rotherham started to hit the airwaves. At least 1400 children were the victims of sexual abused over a 17 year period, and the police knew about it! They just turned a blind eye, sometimes even arresting parents who were trying to save their children from such vile crimes.
So does this mean the pedophile panic in the UK was all a sham, and they actually welcome sexual predators who victimize children? Or is it just in Rotherham?
Any way you look at it, there are some mixed signals being sent.
Our good friend knirirr has been kind enough to pass along this news article. It seems that police in the United Kingdom have seen 110 “accidental discharges” in the past 3 years.
Regular visitors to this site know that there is no such thing as an “accidental discharge“. There are only four simple rules required to safely handle a firearm, and someone has to be stupid enough to have ignored at least one of them in order for the gun to go off unexpectedly.
What is really amazing is that the police were called upon to use their guns in the line of duty only 29 times during the same time period! So the police in the UK let loose an unaimed round in a random direction about four times more often than they shoot to save innocent lives. Absolutely amazing.
The article also mentions that Police Constable Ian Terry was killed during a training exercise. Pc Terry was sitting in an unmoving car, playing the part of a fleeing robbery suspect. A fellow officer was supposed to shoot out a tire with a “gas round” but instead shot Pc Terry at extremely close range, resulting in his death.
In the United States, such a news story about such poorly trained police officers would generate national outrage. There would be protests, the situation would be discussed at all levels of government, and the news media would be desperately digging up past shooting incidents in order to generate outrage and ratings. I can’t seem to find anything similar in the UK. I suppose they find these conditions to be tolerable.
There are two reasons why I don’t expect to get a job in the UK to train their police officers.
Firstly, although I have some experience in training military personnel in the use of handguns, I have never had any police officers as students. There are plenty of people in the US who have such experience, however, and it would make sense to hire someone with a proven track record.
Secondly, it would be political suicide for any politician in the United Kingdom to even suggest that the country needed to hire someone from America to train their police. The media in the UK is full of news stories and editorials that condemn the culture in the United States as being savage and violent, so it would be seen as a confession of complete incompetence if they hired someone from here in such a delicate position.
I don’t see this as being an acceptable state of affairs, but I don’t see it changing any time soon.
Besides the image above, there is also an excellent video and article.
There are a few handguns which are marketed as being perfect for self defense, but which don’t catch on in that role. One of these is the Taurus Judge.
This strange looking handgun is actually a tiny shotgun, one chambered for the .410 bore. Besides being the smallest and weakest shotgun ammo you are likely to find in your friendly neighborhood gun store, the .410 is also the only popular shotgun which is known by its diameter instead of the gauge. That is probably for the best.
The .410 shells most widely available for sale are loaded with bird shot, which are teensy tiny pellets designed to kill very small animals without tearing up the carcass too much. Limited numbers of people have purchased this type of handgun for concealed carry in recent years, and it is now possible to occasionally find ammunition which is loaded with more potent buckshot. Even so, such defensive ammunition is far from common.
That was extremely fortunate for a college student named Christopher Moeller. He was shot four times by an assailant wielding a Taurus Judge, at a range of about 25 feet. All four rounds seem to have been solid hits, but the young man survived due to the fact that the criminal had loaded his gun with bird shot. Even so, he almost didn’t make it due to blood loss.
What is my take on the Judge? There are certainly smaller and lighter revolvers that fill the role of an emergency defensive arm, and some of those smaller and lighter guns are chambered for extremely potent calibers. Add in the fact that all of those other calibers are easier to find in the gun store, and usually have a lower price tag, and I would have to say that the Taurus Judge is a solution in search of a problem.