I Watched With Surreal Fascination

June 29th, 2017

During my charity self defense days, I chose only those in extremely dire financial straits as students.  If they had money, they could afford to pay for a standard course of instruction.

This meant I would have to pay for just about everything needed for the self defense course out of my own pocket.  Safety equipment, ammunition, targets, range time.  All came out of my meager disposable income.

One thing I would never do was give away firearms.


The reason for this is way obvious, as the potential liability was too great if the gift would be used in an irresponsible manner.  Besides the fact that I am hardly made of money myself, and guns are rather expensive.

This means my students would train in the classroom and at the range using my firearms, under my close supervision of course, but then would have to obtain their own guns to provide for their defense.  This resulted in a lot of old family heirlooms being cleaned up, checked out, and put into service.  Long after the original owners had become less than memories, their firearms would still be safeguarding the lives of their descendants.

But sometimes there were no old guns lurking in attics, or tucked away and forgotten in basements.  When that occurred my students would buy new, but they didn’t have a lot of cash to spend.  So they would try to something that was serviceable, effective, and devoid of expensive extras.  I would suggest Hi Point firearms.

Ugly, blocky, clunky, heavy.  All these things and more.  And yet they were also reliable, dependable, and chambered for effective calibers.  Although they look like they will come apart after but a few shots, they are rated for +P ammunition in case you want to load up something with extra punch.

And they are inexpensive!  At the time of this writing in 2017, one can buy a brand new, factory fresh Hi Point chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge for about $200.0 USD (£155.00).  Those chambered for the adequate .380 ACP cartridge are even less dear, with a new model coming in at $180.0 USD (£140.00).

Can one get a better gun for more money?  Yeah, sure, of course one can get a better gun for more money!  But you can’t get any better for this kind of money!

Bottom line is that a lot of my students were able to live their lives free from fear due to Hi Points.  But one thing I never knew was that they are just about indestructible!

Watch to the end.  You won’t believe that the gun can still function, but it still goes bang.

Keep in mind that I don’t recommend anyone treat their firearms the way that the gun in the video was treated, so viewer discretion is advised.

What Are Pocket Pistols?

June 11th, 2017

The answer to the question posted above is rather simple.  Pocket pistols are handguns that are small enough to be carried around in your pocket.

The quest for small handguns that were easy to conceal has been around for centuries.  The first successful design that was cheap enough for purchase by someone of average income has to be the Deringer, otherwise known as the derringer.

Extremely short barrel, extremely small grip, extremely short range, but still chambered for an effective caliber.  You might only be able to hit a violent criminal attacker if they are within leaping distance, but you had a good chance of putting them down if your aim was true.

It is the large caliber that distinguished the original Deringers, as most pocket pistols were chambered for teensy little calibers that were less than potent.  When revolvers became popular, manufacturers were still offering firearms chambered for small and underpowered calibers in an effort to keep the guns small and light enough to be unobtrusively carried everywhere.  One sterling example is the Velo Dog revolver.

Riding through the countryside on bicycles used to be a great deal more popular then it is today.  As bicycles and the like were once known as “velocipedes“, you can guess by the name that the Velo Dog revolver was designed to be carried by bicycle riders in order to defend against any overly aggressive canines that might be encountered during a bucolic pedal-powered interlude.

Velo Dog revolvers and their ilk were very small, very light, and presented a snag-free profile with the folding trigger swung up out of the way.  They were perfectly designed to be concealed handguns that could be carried anywhere.  They were also chambered for cartridges that were of marginal use.

This drawback was addressed with the introduction of bulldog revolvers.

Very short barrel, very short grip, only effective at very short range, yet chambered for a potent caliber suitable for defense.  This is kind of like a revolver version of a derringer.

So one can see that the desire for small, concealable handguns is pretty much constant.  Another constant is the trade off between small and concealable versus effective.

Nothing has changed in modern times.  The most popular pocket pistol today are probably tiny autoloaders chambered for the puny .25 ACP cartridge.

Small frame revolvers chambered for the .38 Special cartridge are very popular, and a firearms company named Charter Arms even produces a bull dog revolver chambered for more potent cartridges.


Recognizing the desire for smaller, more concealable handguns, most gun manufacturers offer different sizes of the same gun.

(Picture source.)

The picture shows the three sizes available for the Beretta Px4 Storm, with the smallest being called a “subcompact” size.  Most subcompact autoloaders would fit the bill as being pocket pistols.

So what is the lesson to be learned from all this?  If you want to put some bang in your pocket for emergencies, you might as well make sure that it delivers a decent punch.

The Writer’s Guide To Weapons

June 11th, 2017

You might be interested in a blog I stumbled across titled The Writer’s Guide to Weapons.

As you might imagine, it is an attempt to educate professional writers about various weapons.  Not only will this keep the author from sounding like an idiot if their work is read by someone in the know, but it also will keep those same educated readers from swearing off the author’s work in the future.

If you are interested in writing for a living, you could certainly do worse.


You Say Saber, I Say Scimitar

June 11th, 2017

I have no idea what kind of sword is pictured.  Might even be a wall hanger fantasy thing for all I know.


Long time reader knirirr sent me an email, stating that the sword appears to be one of these.

Sure looks like we have a match!


If You Would Have Peace, Prepare For War

June 11th, 2017

Interesting talk from 2012 by General Peter van Uhm, who was the top military commander for the Netherlands at the time.

General van Uhm explains why it is important to have effective armies, and how the armed forces of a country go a long way towards promoting a peaceful world.

Worth a few minutes of your time, I would think.

This Is Not Safe For Work

April 26th, 2017

I was browsing Youtube a few days ago and came across a group of very short videos, most of which featured rather crude humor.  (NSFW!)

The people in the videos were obviously veterans of the US armed forces, and there is usually some sort of firearm involved.

So what were they trying to get us, the general public, to buy?  Firearms training courses?  Perhaps gun gear and accessories?

No, none of that.  Instead they were selling coffee!

Of course, coffee and the US armed forces have a long history.

US Navy ships are dry, which means no alcohol is allowed on board except for extremely limited quantities that are kept for medicinal purposes.  Coffee, however, is rather prevalent.  Members of the Royal Navy which have to spend some time aboard US Navy warships routinely complain of painful caffeine withdrawal after they resume their duties in their own fleet.

The Black Rifle Coffee Company claims that they are veteran owned, pro 2nd Amendment, and Conservative in their politics.  And they want to sell you coffee.

One of their stated aims is to hire 10K veterans.  That seems rather ambitious to me.  But, hey, maybe there is a lot of more money in the coffee biz than I realize.  After all, look at Starbucks!

Is That A C.O.P. In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

April 23rd, 2017

After my short outline on tiny guns, I thought I’d bloviate about a really neat little self defense gun that was briefly marketed in the 1980’s.  It was a 4 barrel derringer chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge that went by the name C.O.P.

The gun was loaded by tilting the barrels up.

Four shots of .357 Magnum, an extremely potent handgun cartridge and my personal favorite.  It could certainly get the job done if need be.

The gun was intended to be carried by off-duty police officers while they went about their daily routine.  It was constructed of stainless steel, and was of rather high quality.  I had a chance to put twenty rounds through one a few decades ago, and found it to be very serviceable.  I wasn’t putting each bullet through the same hole at ten yards, but every round was kind enough to strike within walking distance of the X ring.

There were two main complaints.  One was that the trigger pull was heavy and long, and the the other was that the gun was rather heavy for the size.

The design never was popular, and the remaining examples fetch premium prices as collector pieces.  It certainly is a distinctive handgun, and it keeps showing up in movies and TV shows as some sort of futuristic firearm.

While searching the Internet for pictures of a C.O.P., I came across a post at No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money from February 2015. It seems that a company named Signal 9 Defense was looking to manufacture and sell their own version of the C.O.P.

This one would be chambered for a variety of calibers, and you could buy extra barrel assemblies so you could change the caliber of your gun.  The .357 Magnum is not one of the choices available, alas.  It has some polymer parts, particularly the grip, so it would be significantly lighter than a C.O.P.

The post at No Lawyers may be more than 2 years old as of this writing, but it appears that Signal 9 never did get their product to market.  Not that I am in the market for such a gun, but it seems like a nice idea that some people may find suits their needs.

Big Punch, Small Package

April 23rd, 2017

At various times over the decades, a student would show me a tiny handgun that they would want to use for self defense.  Usually they would be small autoloaders chambers for the .25 ACP cartridge, but sometimes a gun chambered for a round more suitable for self defense would crop up.  I am speaking, of course, of a derringer.

The original concept is simple enough.  Make a handgun as small as possible, but chamber it for a potent full sized defensive caliber.  The perfect point-and-shoot instrument, shorn of any distractions, they are not intended to be used for any prolonged gunplay.  If the attacker is within arm’s reach, then derringers come in to their own.

The person who had this flash of brilliance was Henry Deringer, an American gunsmith based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Come about 1825 or so, he started to offer handguns with extremely short barrels and minuscule furniture, but which would fire a ball of hefty and deadly caliber.  These guns originally used a flintlock ignition system.

By all accounts, sales were through the roof in a very short period of time.  Everyone, it seemed, who was interested in armed self defense was also interested in ultra-concealable guns that packed a good solid punch.  Henry couldn’t keep up with the demand, and other gunsmiths very quickly started to copy his basic idea.  Outraged that others were profiting on what was to be his only real contribution to firearm technology, Mr. Deringer took several to court.  He always lost his suit, but the copycat gunsmiths started to market their creations as derringers, with an extra R in the name just so Henry would reconsider any lawsuits and leave them alone. Henry only had his one shop, and everyone else flooded the market with their knock-offs, so the bastardized name stuck and the family name of the true inventor was forgotten.  Every time I type “deringer” the spell checker on my computer has a hissy.

The reason why Henry never won any of his lawsuits was because he really didn’t come up with anything truly innovative, he just figured out how to arrange things in a new an novel way.  Flintlock guns had been in use for at least two centuries before Mr. Deringer, he just attached it to a really short barrel and a really small handle.  He might have been able to make a legal argument that the makers of derringers were ripping him off if he had filed a patent or two when he started to market his deringers, but he never did.  Apparently he did very well for himself making and selling his own teensy guns, but there was an awful lot of money he missed out on by not filing a few documents down at the patent office.

Derringers continued to be made and marketed over the past two centuries, with new firearm technology being incorporated as it became available.  Flintlock derringers were supplanted by cap-and-ball versions.

When cartridge technology came about, well, why the heck not?

So are derringers serious self defense tools?  Did I voice my approval to the students who said they wanted to use derringers as their main defensive arm?  No, can’t say that I did.  In fact, I actively discouraged them.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Nothing wrong with derringers as a last ditch, emergency self defense gun.  The problem is that I deliberately chose people with no background in the shooting sports as my students.  Desperate people who had a pressing need to develop safe and effective gun handling skills, but who had no idea as to where to start.  I would give them as much training as I could, and insisted that they fire at least 500 rounds of various calibers before I was satisfied, but there is no substitute for experience.  It seemed to me that such small guns were just a bit too easy to get turned the wrong way unless someone had a few years of going to the range under their belt.

Did I make the right decision? I think so, but I can certainly see where someone would have a different opinion.

I thought I’d post this small essay about the smallest of defensive handguns when I came across this page from the FBI website.  The author discusses the methods used to authenticate the derringer recovered from the Presidential box at Ford’s Theater the night that President Lincoln was shot in the head by John Wilkes Boothe.

If you read the FBI file, note how the author keeps spelling Deringer capitalized and with one R.  Obviously someone who wants to give credit where credit is due.

Selling Gas Is For The Birds

February 27th, 2017

Taken right outside Coahoma, Texas.

The Start Of Gunfight Tactics

February 24th, 2017

If you are involved in the shooting sports, you find out very quickly that there are a lot of products out there that have “tactical” as part of their name.

What does that mean, “tactical”?  Just that the product is supposed to help one prevail in a gunfight.  Everything from accessories for a defensive handgun, to clothing and beyond, carry the tactical name.

A lot of training programs also claim to pass along tactical skills, which also means that their course of instruction is supposed to increase the odds of survival is there is an armed encounter of some kind.

Long time reader knirrir was kind enough to give a heads up to the following magazine article.

Rumor has it that this was originally published in Outdoor Life magazine in 1918.  If so, then it is an interesting artifact in that it shows the beginning of modern tactical training, even though some of the techniques outlined are a bit dubious.

Case in point is the first picture, where one is supposed to use a judo throw to send any female companions to the ground so they would be out of the way during a gunfight.

I have to admit that this has a certain appeal, should one be spending time with a companion who is prone to doing the wrong thing during high stress moments.  I remember a time when walking alongside a road with a young woman, and a minor fender bender occurring in the street caused her to try and shinny up me like she was a cat and I was a tree.

Sounds a lot more amusing than it was at the time, as she essentially anchored both of us in place at a time when it would have been better to be able to dodge should the need arise.

Tossing people about aside, the pictures above don’t do too bad.  How to carry concealed is addressed, including small of the back which shows some forward thinking.

Interesting to me is the thoughts on retaining the handgun.  Modern training methods spend a fair amount of time on handgun retention, which means holding on to your gun if someone should try and wrestle it away from you.

It is a bit different in the old Outdoor Life article.  It appears to be taken on faith by the author that those interested in armed self defense will not only carry a handgun, but also a large fighting knife.  This makes holding on to your gun relatively easy, as the violent criminal is either trying to grasp the sharp blade of a knife, or trying to wrestle a handgun away while one goes all stabby with the knife.

Would I advocate any of these methods?  I think the training we have now is better suited to the times, actually.  But that doesn’t mean the old ways are completely worthless.