In a Barnes and Noble bookstore in May, looking for something to read when it was my lovely bride’s turn to drive as we went between training classes, the impending Memorial Day drew me to the history section. One of the books I bought that day was “The Rifle,” reviewed in the last blog entry before this one. The other was “Against All Odds” by Alex Kershaw.

“Against All Odds” is the riveting account of four men in a single unit which accumulated more Medals of Honor than any other in that gigantic conflict.  The most famous of the four was Audie Murphy.

The legendary Murphy was a consummate warrior. His preferred weapon was the semiautomatic .30 caliber M-1 Carbine, which held a fifteen round magazine that would later be doubled in capacity.  His skill with it and with other weapons saved his life many times, and saved countless more lives among his comrades.

Murphy had grown up shooting since he was a little kid, and was already a superb marksman and woodsman before he joined up.  There is a lesson there.

If Murphy was the most famous infantryman of World War II, he shared a lot with his predecessor Alvin York, of whom the same could be said in World War I. York had been the man to beat in the “turkey shoot” rifle matches in the hills where he grew up, and fed his family with game shot in the woods.  Similar backgrounds marked USMC Gunnery Sergeant Carolos Hathcock in the Vietnam war, and Chris Kyle in the most recent conflict.

If we are going to send our young people overseas to fight with guns, they’ll be a helluva lot better at it if they got a running start in riflery beforehand. 

When I was interviewed by British media in the wake of the Uvalde atrocity and asked to defend the concept of an 18 year old being allowed to have a military-looking rifle, the clearly anti-gun interviewer posited that in the 21st century there was no need for a Second Amendment, let alone such guns and skills. I pointed them toward the Ukraine, whose government in recent weeks desperately issued fully automatic AKs to volunteer citizens who didn’t yet know how to use rifles, and reminded the interviewer that there were still living people in both our countries who remembered Pearl Harbor and the Blitz. You know…when England desperately reached out to American citizens to send rifles, shotguns, and pistols to civilians dragooned into the local civil guard when they feared a land invasion of their country by Nazi Germany.

The following photo comes from “Shooters’ Journal,” published by the Shooters’ Rights Association of Great Britain. It gives you an idea what it looks like when citizens have to defend their country from heavily armed invaders.  And, yes, those are wooden replicas of AKs those Ukranians are training with.


  1. Well that is what happens when there is no 2nd Amendment and invaders come to your country. Note… we have invaders coming to our country now.. from the, what used to be, Southern Border!!

    Yes we are being invaded now. Right now.

    • Deaf Smith,

      Yes, we are being invaded right now. AND, the invaders are not armed and shooting at us. If they did that, we would repell them.

      These invaders are smarter than the Nazis. They are invading us without weapons, and using our money to pay for the invasion.

      Don’t worry about Russia, China, Iran, or Jihadists, worry about the Democrats and their stupid voters.

  2. The photo of the Ukrainians with wooden rifles is a harbinger of our future if we continue to allow our rights to be eroded. Of course, in some circles the wooden replicas would trigger people into a panic. A large segment of our, and England’s, population has allowed itself to become divorced from the reality of our violent past & the current violent reality in most of the present world.

    • Mark,

      People are so afraid of guns, I bet I could walk into a bank in San Francisco or Portland, Oregon, form my hand into a finger gun, and rob a bank with it.

      • Roger, it’s now safe to commit heinous crimes in San Francisco since Inspector Harry Callahan has finally retired, or was he kicked off the department by some high ranking LTBG politician?

  3. Great thought, being trained as well as access. Some of us remember the days as a young soldier or airmen in the military, when if you purchased a pistol or rifle you were asked to check it into the military base police armory. We all would comply with that directive and check them in for storage. We used to theorize what would happen if and a terrorist attack hit the base and not only were the duty weapons secured, but our own personal weapons of choice were also locked behind a reieforced steel door. A crick and a paddle.

    • When I was in the Air Force I lived in a pretty insecure barracks. Very often it was hard to tell friend from foe. I went off base and bought a Winchester .30-30 carbine, loaded it, and put it in my barracks locker, at least partly to have it for protection from dangerous wildlife when I went wilderness hiking. Only by chance I learned about the armory requirement and took the weapon there. The defenseless situation pretty well decided me for not choosing to stay in the USAF. Part of the problem was the heavy drug use of many of the USAF Security Police at the time. Hundreds of illicit using SP’s were eventually apprehended in a giant Sting and separated from the Service.

    • We used to theorize what would happen if and a terrorist attack hit the base and not only were the duty weapons secured, but our own personal weapons of choice were also locked behind a [reinforced] steel door.

      And then someone else theorized it … and made it a reality.

      Once at Fort Hood, once at the Navy Yard, and again at Fort Hood.

      Has that directive changed? Or is the military brass still hoping that after three proven failures, more of the same is the answer?

      (There’s a parable for public schools in here, too, somewhere.)

      • Certainly the left has, as an ultimate goal, not just gun free school zones (shooting galleries) but, also a gun free military. With drag queen social worker militias!

    • I keep saying, if the Uvalde police’s response to the actual attack had been to charge in and overwhelm the killer — or at least distract him and give the teachers and kids time to evacuate — and if their PIO’s repeated answer to all questions was “The investigation is ongoing, and we’ll provide more information as we learn more about what happened” for the first week or so, people would be much more forgiving.

      Instead, they diddled around outside for over an hour, and the department was so eager to explain their (in)actions that their narrative has necessarily changed more times than I care to count (and will continue to “evolve” as individuals come forward with documented proof they’re not telling the whole story), including (for example) the Chief of Police saying he didn’t know he was in charge (WTF?) and offering a half-dozen excuses why he didn’t even have a radio (all of which are B.S.).

      Complete Charlie Foxtrot on all sides (except the killer’s; things seemed to have gone swimmingly for him).

      It’s no wonder people are pissed off, and rightly so.

      • Archer,

        I also find fault with the parents who refused to confront the threat. They are Texans, with 2A rights. Oh, I’m sure the police would have tried to prevent the parents from entering the school. So what? There should have been more parents there than police.

        If the police refused to confront the murderer, and held armed parents back from confronting the murderer, then I would say the police were accomplices to the crime. They aided and abetted the criminal.

      • Roger Willco,

        Agreed. If I had been there, I would have physically fought the police to get into the school. Dozens of police versus hundreds of worried — and increasingly angry — parents? I know which way I would bet.

        There will be hearings to “address” the police response, and the safe prediction is that “qualified immunity” will stand and nothing significant will happen.

        But I think that “qualified immunity” should cover only those who are … well … qualified. By “qualified”, I mean they are trained and equipped to respond, make a Good Faith effort to respond to the best of their ability, and do so to a reasonable standard based on what they know at the time (not demanding perfection or omniscience here). Not carrying basic equipment (like a radio, or breaching tools capable of forcing steel doors — which firefighters carry, so why not police/SWAT?), standing around while kids were murdered (despite the long-accepted best practice of confronting the killer as quickly as possible), and forcibly preventing others from intervening to stop the carnage, IMHO, makes every on-scene Uvalde police officer, from the Chief on down, distinctly unqualified for the job.

        I can forgive honest mistakes, but Uvalde was such a perfect storm of screw-ups, followed by an over-the-top CYA campaign, that it almost feels deliberate. They couldn’t have created a more ideal scenario for mass murder (or botch the response any worse) if they actively tried, so I cannot ignore the possibility they DID actively try, and this was the result.

      • Archer,

        Come to think of it, the murderer had about an hour to himself, yet “only” killed 21 UNARMED victims. With all of that time, and the police dithering, he could have done more killing. Was he afraid the police would come rushing in at any minute? Is that why he barricaded himself in one classroom?

        If both the police and the murderer dithered, that could mean they were both afraid of each other. That fear, in the murderer, saved the lives of the victims he could have killed, but didn’t.

        I’m just guessing. But, if you have an hour to kill people, wouldn’t you run out of ammo killing people? I’m sure a Jihadist would spend all his time killing infidels before his martyrdom. Once a Jihadist ran out of ammo he would kill infidels with the butt of his rifle, or a dull knife.

        Some sheeple think there are too many guns in America. When the attack occurred in that Uvalde school, there were too few guns present.

        I heard one critic say he wished people would be more polite to each other. All the readers of this blog know how a polite society can be achieved, but the cowardly critic would recoil in horror if we told him how his dream could become a reality.

        The group of police at the school failed to enter, for whatever reason. During the Iraq War, I thought house-clearing was a bad, risky tactic, which put the lives of our servicemen at unnecessary risk. But let’s look at the contrast. A bunch of police could have gone into a classroom to confront one, armed, barricaded killer. The men who volunteered for house-clearing duty in Iraq entered houses with multiple, armed killers, hiding with rifles and hand grenades, and I’m sure some rooms were booby-trapped.

        Clearly, our troops who volunteered for house-clearing in Iraq faced a greater threat than the police in Uvalde.

        How would I clear a house in Iraq? I’d use artillery, a tank or an A-10 Warthog. My troops would be a safe distance from any houses in Iraq. I don’t care about destroying Iraqi houses, nor do I care about collateral damage, but that is just me, and I am not in charge. I want to preserve the lives of MY men. I don’t care about the enemy, and I have seen the concern over collateral damage cause the US to lose three wars.

        Caring about collateral damage sounds like a wise, merciful, just war doctrine. But, it has proven to be a doctrine for losers, not winners. Losing a sports game is a small deal. Losing in business is a small deal, but losing a war is a big deal. (Of course, if you lose to the USA, then you will prosper, like Germany and Japan. But, that is just a quirk of history. Normally, losing a war meant enslavement).

    • Yes. I found a sentence in that article that needed to be fixed:

      “FOR SEVENTY SEVEN MINUTES not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children,” Arredondo said.

      There. Now his words are truthful.

      And not incidentally, when I look at the photo of the school in the article, do you know what I see? Windows. WINDOWS!!! But those professional officers apparently couldn’t figure out how to break them.

      • John Mohan, RN,

        Thank you. I was wondering if there were windows or not. OK, if the police were too afraid of collateral damage to break a window and shoot, they should have broken a window and tossed in a flash bang or tear gas.

        The police should have disobeyed the police chief. We are not bound to obey unlawful orders.

  4. Mas, I have technical question(s) for you.

    It appears that the police in Uvalde stood around for more than an hour because they did not have the key to unlock the steel class-room door. This is one of the main criticisms of their response.

    I am not a member of law-enforcement but I have been under the impression that it is possible to use a shotgun to breach a locked door for police entry. For example, see this article:

    I find it hard to believe that, with multiple police officers on the scene, none of them had access to a shotgun and ammo suitable for breaching the door.

    So, my questions:

    Was there something special about this door? Are steel doors, such as might be used in public schools, impossible to breach with a shotgun? Or, could a shotgun, properly fitted with muzzle device and suitable ammo, be perfectly capable of blasting the door lock and breaching this door? You would know, mas, a lot more about door-breaching shotguns (and the tactics of using them) than I. So, please enlighten me.

    I am just trying to figure out why the door was not just breached instead of everybody standing around, with their hands in their pockets, waiting for a set of keys to show up!

    Also, the Texas Tribune News Story, linked above, raises another question. The Officer-in-charge at the scene says he was out of communication and did not know about the 911 calls from people inside the room begging for help. However, he also said that he sent out requests for extra armor, weapons, the infamous keys, and more officers.

    So, if he was out of communication, how did he issue these pleas for extra resources? Did he send up smoke signals? Send off a pigeon with a message tied to its leg? Write a note and hand it to one of his men and send him off as a messenger?

    How is it he was able to send messages but could not receive any?

    Sorry folks, but my B.S. detector is pinging on this one!

    • On a heavy steel door, regular buckshot/slug is contraindicted. You want the special breaching rounds generally issued only to SWAT. Moreover, most police today have left the shotgun behind for the AR15 rifle, which is not the best thing to use for shooting locks off doors. TN, I’m going to wait a bit longer until all the info is in to comment on Uvalde; we all saw what a classic example of “breaking new is broken news” during the first days and weeks. Give the investigators some time to put the puzzle together.

      • @ Mas – “…most police today have left the shotgun behind for the AR15 rifle, which is not the best thing to use for shooting locks off doors….Give the investigators some time to put the puzzle together.”

        So, it seems that, when the police rushed to adopt the AR platform as standard, they may have gained advantages (longer range, less recoil, more precision, greater ammo capacity, etc.) but they sacrificed advantages as well. They sacrificed the intimidation value of a racked 12 gauge at close range plus they sacrificed all of the extra abilities that a shotgun can bring with specialized ammo. For example, non-lethal “bean bag” rounds and, especially, the door breaching abilities of the 12 gauge.

        This would seem to argue that a total switch-over to the AR may have been too hasty. Perhaps a better approach would be to equip half of the squad cars with the AR and the other half with a shotgun and a selection of specialty ammo (slugs, buckshot, non-lethal, tear gas, breaching rounds, etc.)?

        This way, once 3 or 4 patrol cars arrive upon the scene of any emergency, all options would be on the table with respect to available long arms.

        As for waiting for the “investigators” to “put the puzzle together”, there are problems. The American Public has been lied to, so often and so repeatedly, by the media and various government agencies, that trust in any investigator or government agency is at an all time low. Shifting the timeline on this incident, on an almost daily basis, is not helping matters.

        To be credible, the investigation will have to clearly identify the failures and the people who made them. Those at fault will have to suffer real consequences for their failures. Otherwise, this will all be put down to “Yet another corrupt government whitewash and coverup”.

        Our trust has been systemically destroyed over the last decade. It is flat on the ground. It will take a long, long, long time to build it back up again.

      • The many and varied “advantages” of the shotgun are over emphasized and, in some cases, been taken over by other equipment like the TASER. I’ll let it go at that. Back when we eliminated the shotgun I suggested that we keep a few for use as universal master keys. What killed the idea was the cost of keeping everyone qualified on them and variations in doors/locks. Since this is a public forum, I won’t get more specific on the hardware, but many buildings now have little similarity to homes.

      • Agreed, WR, one of the reasons I can’t hold it against the Uvalde officers for not applying a shotgun to the door.

      • TN_MAN:

        The 12 gauge shotgun can fire a greater variety of ammunition than the AR-15 but in almost all departments, only the supervisors have anything other than the standard issued 00 buckshot. Door breaching rounds are loaded with powdered lead instead of pellets or a slug to reduce injuries from projectile fragments. Commercial/industrial type doors as used in schools have a metal frame and heavy duty hinges which are not easily breached by a few rounds of small arms fire, unlike a residential door with wood frames and light hinges which are readily blown off by shotgun rounds.

        However several well placed hits by a .233 round, especially aimed at the bolt should sever it. The high velocity projectiles will literally burn through the metal whereas lower velocity shotgun rounds will not. It would be a good idea to hold a ballistic shield or vest close to the area fired upon to prevent fragments from striking the shooter. Forget shooting the hinges with a .223 as they will do little damage and they are not visible on an inward opening door. Same with the lock itself. The target should be the bolt and a few shots should cut it.

      • Mas, the school that I worked maintenance at (for years) had good, sturdy, fire-proof steel doors. Every school should have a railroad-style pry bar, various crow bars, and a heavy pinch bar. I never had to lever a door open with a bar, but I would bet that I could rip any door open with one of my heavy bars in one short series of attempts, in just a few seconds. I always had keys with me to open any functional lock. Some classrooms had windows, some didn’t. We maintained visual cover from inside with various blinds. At least some of the teachers’ steel desks could deflect or stop some bullets.

      • According to this news report, the use of a shotgun, or other tool, to breach the door is moot. This story says that the police never even tried to open the door according to video surveillance footage. For all we know, it was unlocked all the time! See this link:

        It will, indeed, be interesting to see what comes forth when the “investigators put the puzzle together” regarding what happened in this fiasco.

        At this point, it looks like the final investigative report will likely be either (1) a bombshell that blasts and condemns the police response in the strongest terms, or else, (2) a whitewash and cover-up of such epic scope that it will put even the efforts of the D.C. Rug-Sweepers to shame! Given what has already come out, it is hard to imagine how the report could fall into the middle of these extremes!

  5. It’s incredible what we’re seeing in DC right now – mass hysteria being used to distract low-information voters from the true problems of the country and onto gun rights. The whole idea of gun ownership is constantly in flux, as I’ve said since before I could drive. It remains the single most important freedom because without it the 1st amendment would never survive.

  6. Can’t blame the Socialist Democrats for wanting to disarm the citizenry….if you were screwing people the way they are, you wouldn’t want anyone to have guns either !!!

  7. I heard someone on FoxNews point out that the Left can’t define what a woman is, but they think they know a lot about AR-15s.

    I’ve been wondering if I was wrong to blame the parents for not going after the murderer. I just remembered what happened in 1966 at the tower in Austin, Texas. Those Texans fought Charles Whitman by shooting back. (Fight Crime. Shoot Back). They were right to do that, so I think that vindicates my comments.

    • I’ll be honest as a liberal and say I don’t know what an AR-15 is, because I’m not a gunsmith.

  8. The many and varied “advantages” of the shotgun are over emphasized and, in some cases, been taken over by other equipment like the TASER. I’ll let it go at that. Back when we eliminated the shotgun I suggested that we keep a few for use as universal master keys. What killed the idea was the cost of keeping everyone qualified on them and variations in doors/locks. Since this is a public forum, I won’t get more specific on the hardware, but many buildings now have little similarity to homes.

  9. “Give the investigators some time to put the puzzle together.” Hmm, me thinks give ’em more time to baffle us with bullsh*t and down the memory hole it goes, albeit, institute more gun controls because…

    • Larry, in fairness, homicide investigation is part of my regular job and I can tell you that correlating 21 victims and countless witness statements really is going to take a long time. You saw how screwed up early reports were. A classic case of “breaking news is broken news.”

  10. From the D.C. v Heller case, in an amicus brief by retired U.S. flag officers:
    “Moreover, private ownership of firearms makes for a more effective fighting force. Military recruits with previous firearms experience and training are generally better marksmen, and accordingly, better soldiers. In short, experience has taught that individual ownership of firearms is an indispensable element of national security.”

  11. If they can not ban Ar 15 rifles out there now going ban ammo that used in them.

    BREAKING: Biden Administration Moves to Cut Off Lake City .223/5.56 Ammo From the Commercial Market
    By Dan Zimmerman -June 15, 20222

    Lake City Ammunition Plant
    Lake City Ammunition Plant (courtesy US Army)
    ◀Previous PostNext Post Coming Soon…▶
    Apparently not content with its efforts so far to make gun ownership more difficult and expensive for America’s 100 million firearm owners, a source tells TTAG that the Biden administration is taking steps to constrict the availability of .223/5.56 ammunition available to the average shooter.

    A source with knowledge of the situation tells us that, more than just “considering” the move, Winchester, which operates the US Army’s Lake City ammunition plant, has been informed that it may no longer sell M855 and SS109 ammunition produced in excess of the military’s needs on the civilian market.

    How would that affect the civilian supply of .223 and 5.56 ammunition? We understand that approximately 30% of the commercial market’s sales volume of .223/5.56 is produced by Lake City.

    Standard capacity ar-15 magazines
    The motive here is obvious. The Biden administration is attempting to further spike the price of ammunition, squeezing the owners of America’s favorite rifles…the scary black ones that the president assures us are only good for killing people and taking down Kevlar vest-wearing deer.

    Let’s face it. Even the hapless Biden administration must realize that they don’t have any realistic prospect of getting another “assault weapons” ban through the Senate. Instead, they’re doing the next best thing. They want to make shooting most AR-15 rifles as expensive as possible for the Americans who own between 20 and 25 million AR platform guns

    We’ve reached out to Winchester for a statement on the Biden administration’s move, but haven’t received a response yet. We’ll updated this post when we do.

    In the mean time, it’s just possible that the Biden gang may have shot themselves in the foot (metaphorically speaking, of course) with this ploy. John Cornyn and Chris Murphy pulled out all of the stops to reach a compromise deal in the Senate that got 10 Republicans to sign on. They announced it with great fanfare over the weekend.

    Meanwhile, as the actual legislation is now being built around that deal framework, in crashes the Biden clown car with a heavy-handed maneuver that is sure to further anger tens of millions of gun owners.

    Will the ten GOP Senators who agreed to the Cornyn/Murphy deal framework stay on board now? Possibly. Maybe even probably. But the administration’s ham-handedness here can’t be making it any easier for bipartisan ten to maintain their resolve in the face of a snake-belly-low move by the ostensible leader of the Democrat party.

    This is a developing story. Stay tuned.

    • We understand that approximately 30% of the commercial market’s sales volume of .223/5.56 is produced by Lake City.
      That would be a huge hit on Winchester’s bottom line. “Now that we’re at war with Russia, let’s hammer the company that makes military ammo.”
      I wonder if there’s an exemption for law enforcement.
      It’s like Team Biden gets up every morning and holds a strategy meeting on “How much lower can we drive our approval stats today?”

    • Richard, if you have not gotten a barrel in a different caliber for your ARs, you surely can. 6.8 RPC might be a good move. I still prefer .30-06 in M1 Garand, and even the Military bolt-actions.

      • An AR-15 barrel in .300 Blackout/Whisper will not require a different bolt or magazine, making a caliber switch more simple. For a higher performance caliber, try out the .224 Valkyrie, 6mm ARC or 6.5 Grendel which beats out the 6.8 SPC. I have a scoped Thompson Center Contender 14″ barrel in 6.8 SPC loaded with 130 grain spitzer bullets which I consider a sniper pistol out to 300 yards. I would prefer the 6mm ARC but it’s not available in the Contender pistol.

  12. Mas, is there a link to your interview with the British journalist you mentioned?

    Also, I recently (re)discovered a legend about a very early active shooter incident in my old country, which is commemorated by 9 crosses. Historical records are fuzzy, but indicate 9 people killed by 2 shooters during the course of a wedding, in the year 1540(!). The only English version of the story I could find is a Google translation of this Wikipedia article:

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