Particularly after the recent murder of an Arizona rancher who had turned in to authorities a quantity of drugs he’d found cached on his property, Arid Zoners have taken to arming themselves with a new level of determination. They are well aware that they may find themselves up against VERY heavily armed people: see the photo below  taken by law enforcement at what was reported to be a Zeta Cartel training camp just south of the border.

A good friend of mine who is heavily into teaching concealed carry classes in Southern Arizona, and supplemental courses for soldiers out of Fort Huachuca, with whom he is very well connected due to his own long and honorable Army service, tells me there is much interest among the ranchers in learning defensive employment of military style rifles.  Makes sense to me. I’ve seen a recovered firearms training manual recovered by US law enforcement from cartel members, which indicates that they are attempting to train themselves to a military Special Forces standard. Folks with combat skills like these will be moving fast and taking advantage of hard cover: this makes it important to have a gun in the car that can send bullets punching through auto bodies and heavy, tempered window glass. Multiple, fast-moving targets require lots of ammo, too: twenty-round and larger magazines make sense here.

The US Border Patrol is struggling valiantly to contain the problem, but is short of manpower and budget. THIS VIDEO shows some of the scope of the problem.

During our sojourn on the border, we had an M4 in the car, and also my idea of an ideal “car gun,” Springfield Armory’s super-handy, super-controllable SOCOM-16 semiautomatic rifle in caliber 7.62mm NATO. Didn’t need it, of course, but it provided a sense of being ready for the worst…

Could such hardware ever be necessary on American streets? FBI Director Robert Mueller knows the answer. Read IN ITS ENTIRETY his 2009 speech HERE where he discusses the possibility of an American Mumbai.

FN SCAR 5.56mm with Trijicon ACOG is an excellent self-defense rifle. Here, firearms instructor Dave LaRue kicks brass sideways and lead into the target with one.

7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester) is an effective answer to homicidal threats ensconced in motor vehicles.


  1. Is full metal jacket the way to go as far as an all round defensive .308 Win round (pictured)?

    I’ve always had the POU that 150gr SP was a more capable defensive stopper albeit not as effective against barriers like vehicles, but more than adequate. Doubles for hunting as a bonus.

    A sincere question, maybe I’m missing something?

  2. Mas,

    How do you secure the long guns in the vehicle? Vehicle break-ins are not uncommon in this area, and I don’t think a rifle/shotgun in a cruiser style mount would last very long in a parking lot.

  3. One of many heavily-armed Arid Zoners here…

    Thanks again for coming out to our neck of the woods, and not only bringing this issue to the attention of your many readers, but also doing the hands-on, personal-level work of imparting the knowledge and skills that we in Southern Arizona need to employ our weapons effectively, lawfully, and with speed and confidence.

    As in all things, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst” – while we hope we will only ever fire our guns for recreation/training/competition, we should always remain aware of, and prepared for, the potential need to “shoot for blood” as Doc Holliday(played by Val Kilmer) put it in the modern cinematic classic, “Tombstone.”

    P.S. – for the record, I AM NOT the “Philip” who commented on your previous post, and I hope no-one made the mistaken assumption that I was…

  4. Hi Mas,
    I would take the 7.62 everytime over thr 5.56. When I served in the forces we were armed with the SLR. In encounters in Northern Ireland the IRA generally used the armalite in 5.56. The were very cautious in engaging us due to the weight of the fire. No point in hiding behind a car as the round punched through it.
    My eldest son is in Afghanistan armed with the SA80 and they are outgunned by the Taliban who mainly use the AK47. The UK government has just started using the L129A1 which is again 7.62.
    Many of us said at the time replacing the SLR with a lighter round was a mistake as our enemies would soon realise its shortcomings.
    In the wide open spaces of Arizona the extra punch and weight would come in handy.
    On a side note not seen much mention of Texas. Do they not have similar problems?

  5. Hi Mas, loving the column as always. This topic is really close to my heart, as my mother-in-law has a ranch in New Mexico and I worry a lot these days. If things are really getting that intense on the border, I hope that National Guard units are deployed eventually, as many of them as are actually left in the states (it’s called the National GUARD for a reason, after all). A lot of people I talk to these days are discussing that the easiest way to fight these bastards is to cut them off at the knees by legalizing and regulating their product; deprive them of black market profits and you deprive them of black market weapons. As a cop, do you think that this would make things safer for cops and citizens?

  6. Howdy all.

    Mas, you are really focused on the AZ border, and for that, and the attention you bring to the problem, THANK YOU.

    Phil Wong, I had no doubt that the other phil was not you. Good to see you here mate. You, unlike people that don’t spend time along the AZ/Mexico border, understand the problem and the caliber of combatants.

    While prohibition has never been a favorite, some things should be banned in the interest of safety. If we legalize drugs we will still have the drug cartels filling some illegal black market void, be it people, drugs, booze, sex, or even cement if cement were illegal to manufacture, purchase, or own. Hence criminals will fill a void, as that is their way and mindset.

    The National Guard is but a bandaide solution, when surgical intervention is needed. Until they are allowed to close with and engage the enemy, and the enemy is anyone that is trying to enter this country illegally in my opinion, we will continue to have the problems we have on our border.

    Yes I am frustrated with how our borders, and it’s problems, have been ignored by those elected to represent us. If you want to see where America is headed all one has to do is study the Roman Empire. The Cliff Note version is: Rome fell in large part due to it’s immigration policies.


  7. Knight 99: While .308 full metal jacket ball would be an excellent choice for engaging threats ensconced in motor vehicles (See Roger’s post!) I would personally consider your choice of 150 grain softpoint, or my own current preference of 165 grain softpoint, better for all-around use with that cartridge. The ball ammo was the closest to hand to photograph, to illustrate a photo theme of “.308 ammunition.”

    Matt: Do a Google search for Big Sky gun racks. Out of sight, out of mind, to those outside the vehicle…but readily accessible to those inside,and as solidly locked as you can get.

    Steve: As others have noted in commentary on this series of blog entries, yours is a topic with far-reaching ramifications, and one which does not lend itself to short answers. You ask me to answer it “as a cop,” and on the law enforcement side of my life, it’s outside my main SME (Subject Matter Expertise). Forgive me, but I’ll pass on that one.

    best to all,

  8. Mas,
    Thank you for bringing the facts about AZ to this column so those who read it will understand and hopefully pass this info on to their friends. I live in the foothills of the Adirondacks in New York State, but I can understand the plight of the US citizens that live on the border and applaud what the folks in Arizona have done in order to attempt to keep their state safe. I support them 100%+.

    Thanks again,

  9. Steve, even if it is legalized, there will be a black market on it because there will always be those who want to obtain them under the radar.

    Look at guns: they’re fully legal and regulated, yet there is of course a nice, tidy black market for them for those who want to get guns under the radar.

    It’ll be the same with drugs which are currently illegal. AND, seeing as how outside of strictly regulated medical uses these drugs really do screw you up (including Marijuana…. we’ve already got one legally-obtained intoxicating substance…. we don’t need ANOTHER) badly and have lead certain folks into unstable, violent rages, then legalizing them is far worse than keeping them illegal.

  10. Excellent article, Massad. Quick question: I have been stocking Lake City (American Eagle) XM-193 5.56 ammo for long-term storage. Would like to start stocking .308 ammo, but not sure on brand. Would like to stock military-type 147/150 gr. FMJ rounds. How good is the American Eagle ammo you pictured in above article? It is an attractive price, but how reliable/accurate for combat is it?



  11. Joe, I was running most of the time with my buddy Dan Southard,and the SOCOM in the car was his, fitted with an optic I haven’t seen before called the K-Dot. Dan is really happy with it.

    My own SOCOM-16 back home just has the Springfield factory iron sights (aperture). For a knock around car gun, I’m leery of anything remotely fragile or battery-dependent.


  12. P.S.

    What about the S&B stuff? Also, is there much difference in impact between the 147/150 rounds?



  13. No 7.62 NATO, but I do have my vz-58 in 7.62x39mm with several spare mags in covert carry case for trips around the Great State of AZ. Minute of felon at 200 yards with mounted EOTech, hopefully that will be good enough.
    It is getting worse, and our Washington elected officials seem to be jamming their fingers in their ears as hard as they can while humming loudly….

  14. Wow Mas, of the two blogs I couldn’t refind you managed to get the videos I saw and wanted to get links to you. Great job I think they speak a great deal about the present admin’s knowledge about the problem and how they’ve closed their eyes to it. And the American public will suffer for it. God help the republic. Muslims are recruiting all over, even here in Oshkosh Wi. A school teacher told me they tried to recruit him. We are in grave danger if more don’t wake up. Thanks for the posts Mas!

  15. Shawn, I don’t recall using the Sellier & Bellot .308 ball, but I’ve found that brand acceptable in some other calibers. The American Eagle is good stuff, accurate and reliable. Personally, I find very close point of aim/point of impact between the various 147 and 150 grain .308 loads AT THE SAME VELOCITIES, but you always want to zero them in YOUR gun to be sure.

  16. WITHIN PAST DAY, Border Patrol agent having large rocks thrown at him by illegal aliens on the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez border had to shoot and kill one of them.
    FINALLY – big change – Washington’s top fedcop bureaucrats said that the Border Patrol agent was correct to shoot the illegal alien! The Mexican government, predictably, has gone ballistic.
    This change in Washington elite’s attitude is truly “the shot heard round the Western Hemisphere.”

  17. I read in this AM’s paper that Mexican immigrants are leaving AZ. A lot of them . Pulling kids out of school and going. Legals and illegals alike It didn’t say where, back or across the US. Many who are criminal will just bring trouble with them.

  18. “Mexican immigrants are leaving AZ.”


    That’s the best news I’ve heard in a while, but for every one that leaves, three Guatemalians take their place. The ones I deal with, daily, are criminals and not for crossing the border even though that too is a crime.

    I fear that the border country is coming to a war and our leaders will be too inept to handle it.


  19. The early report I heard said that 4 Mexican BP agents came across the border, picked up the shell casing and dropped it by the boy on the Mexican side. Gee, is that considered professional courtesy or something? or is it trying to frame the US BP agent? I think the latter.

  20. Biker,

    If somehow that war can be held off for at least 2 years, we can possibly have an administration that would allow the gloves to be taken off the states and off the National Guard, and we’d show them what American Resolve looks like.

    Stones are the same as large bullets in effect, just different material, weight, and ballistic speed, but still very deadly (just ask a Judge of Sharia Law how well heavy rocks work at killing people). They throw cinder blocks at us, we respond by throwing tripple digit grain count .308 rocks at high speed back at them. Except we hit what we’re aiming at most of the time.

  21. More detail coming out on this incident at the border. Turns out now that the Mexican BP guys or whoever they were, pointed rifles at the US guys and forced the US to withdraw from the scene. Read the AP story yourself and see how this is getting real ugly.

  22. “If somehow that war can be held off for at least 2 years,”

    That’s a pretty big “IF” James. 🙂

    I honestly don’t think it can be stalled for two more years. Truth be told I’d prefer to not see such an event, but I do fear it’s occurence.

    As for knowing if a rock is a deadly weapon/instrument or not, yup, I’m pretty well attuned to that fact. Take care all and stay safe.


  23. BikerRN, with what’s coming across I fear it’s not just going to be a boarder country war. The radical left is saying this week is a turning point. They’ve turned on Pelosi as too soft. I fear the worst. God help the Republic. I hope i’m wrong.

  24. Biker, not so big an if as you might think, I think.

    See, the war will mainly have to come from the cartels and/or the mexican army. Both are quite busy fighting each other to mount a sufficiently powerful offense against our border.

    They have enough weapons, YES, but not enough organization to mount an offensive strong enough that a citizen’s posse and tactical teams from the sheriff’s offices around the state couldn’t round them up into BP custody.

    If these guys want to start a border war, they’re going to need the organization and coordination such that the only real answer we could give to them would be a military one, not a mere (not to denigrate those concerned citizens, though) citizen’s militia and SWAT teams.

  25. All you have to do is revisit prohibition and the results. During Prohibition, the mafia made fantastic profits on smuggling illegal liquor generating the massive influx of power and leverage the mafia experienced during that time (Capone, Bugsy, etc…). When it was rescinded, most of those illicit profits disappeared. Did it eliminate all the attempts by the mafia to control and profits, no.

    But such a policy change would sure put a large crimp in the massive over $40 billion yearly in profits for illicit drug trade.

    Without that huge leverage, the criminals will have to diversify as they always do. Without all that extra cash, they wont be as attractive to recruits or afford as much bribed connections as they currently enjoy.

    Also have not seen a single medical review that shows legalizing illicit drugs will cause a spike in addicitions where such a policy change has been implemented. Funny how most of those llicit drugs were legal at one time in the US, yet what were the addicition rates then?

    Mankind has been atuned and willing to get a buzz since the dawn of time, it is human nature, and no matter what kind of education, laws, force you use will ever, ever change that.

    Besides, like booze, let the government tax and control and articificially set low prices that undercut the cartels and watch what happens. That way some semblence of quality control can be achieved making the commodity safer. Screwy arguement to some, but rather than letting ultra pure heroin on the market as is happening today causing many overdoses, such things could be reduced even further.

    Dont take away the restrictions jobs have on drug uses etc.

    Not perfect, but since heroin, cocaine, and marijuana are the majority of the drugs smuggled across the border, 40% of prisoners in the US jailed for marijuana offences, you see what could be done fairly quickly.

  26. We could save ourselves a LOT of money right now if all prisoners who are in the slammer for drug POSSESSION were just let out. Jailing people for possession is pure out and out nonsense on the face of it.

  27. The problem with trying to bring up prohibition is that before it alcohol sales were legal. With drugs, they were NEVER legal to begin with and were not a national staple for enjoyment. THAT is why prohibition ultimately failed. It wasn’t passed because alcohol caused such uncontrolled derangement even with casual use (though there is pure, unadulterated truth in the Bible in its warnings against drunkenness and overindulgence of alcohol) like illegals drugs allow and do cause, it was passed because of a small group of people who were imposing Methodist legalism (and I kindly ask folks to refrain from using the highly inaccurate term of “puritanical”…. the puritans did not teach legalism) upon the entire country.

    However, the reasons for keeping illegal drugs ILLEGAL is because of the gross harm they bring except in the most highly controlled uses. This is a far different case than alcohol (which is still tightly controlled even for its moderate, responsible use by way of liquor licenses, drinking laws, etc.), and thus the references to Prohibition and why that failed ultimately are a demonstration of a false equivalency.

  28. I watched Hannity on FOX last nite and he showed videos from these two sights. Will pop your eyeballs. It was overloaded when I tried to get on. I did get on this one- The principal behind these said he with some friends at a gas station 40 mi. from the border saw some illegals come out of the brush and back tracked to see where they were traveling. They found choke points in the trails and set up some cameras. After a montage was made for some congresscritters their cameras started getting stolen in serious amounts. WTF?

  29. Guys,

    Don’t completely discount the .223/5.56 NATO when it comes to hard target penetration. There are many loads designed to give better hard penetration than common FMJ’s or softpoints. Look to loads with bonded cores, all copper bullets, etc. Most of the major ammo manufacturers have such loads. That way you still retain the lighter weight, lower recoil, bullet expansion, etc. of a .223 class weapon with hard penetration capability approaching or in some cases equaling .30-cal. FMJ.

  30. The Arizonans who need marksmanship training with military-type weapons would do well to sign up for Appleseed training.
    Appleseed has the instructors and the ability to teach old school military marksmanship using .22 rifles for economy sake. I know about old school marksmanship because I served in the US Army 50 years ago, and it’s exactly as I learned it in basic training. In fact, the Army recently invited Appleseed instructors to the White Sands Missile Range to instruct designated marksmen on long range marksmanship.

  31. 300 Weatherby mag and Burger 190gr bullets will go half way through a 3/8 inch steel plate at 400 yards.