Just another Euro Weenie Pistol that really is just a Badge of Office & not really a combat weapon. Unless you are shooting your Troops who are running away. Or shooting Political Dissidents in the back of the head ! Grumpy
I don’t need an AR-15 for hunting: It’s not even legal to take a deer with one in my state—the caliber is too small. I also don’t need an AR-15 for self-defense, though I’d want to have one if someone broke into my house. And I certainly don’t need one just because it’s a beautiful piece of engineering. I need an AR-15 because the government doesn’t want me to have one.
Governments hate private weapons, and have always hated them. In Europe, traditionally only gentlemen (that is, originally, only knights) were allowed to carry a sword. In Japan, the samurai’s right to carry his sword came along with the right to kill any commoner who offended him—uchisute or “strike and abandon.” In Soviet Russia, private weapons were illegal, as they still are in China. And when Hitler’s Germany swept through Holland, Belgium, and France in 1940, they put up notices giving the locals 48 hours to hand over private firearms or face death (by shooting).
When England prepared to defend herself against a threatened Nazi invasion, the Home Guard was armed in part with private weapons, as well as by rifles donated by Americans, who were the only people in the world with guns to spare. These were among the weapons confiscated and destroyed when Britain banned firearms in 1997.
There are only two forms of government: One where the people are afraid of the government, and one where the government is afraid of the people. Whoever has the weapons is the ruling class, and there is only one case in all history, only in America, that the ruling class has actually been the common man.
Controlling Guns, Controlling People
Our federal government has been trying to undo this remarkable fact for at least the last 100 years. The first serious blow came in 1934, justified by the rise of organized crime at the time. As I outlined in a recent piece on plea bargains, organized crime was a midway point in the cascade of unintended consequences from Prohibition. The government thought the best way to keep machine guns, short rifles, and silencers out of the hands of the mafia would be to make a national registry and require anyone buying one of these items to pay a $200 tax.
It may come as a shock that organized crime largely ignored the new registration requirements. And neither were they punctilious in the matter of paying taxes. For law-abiding citizens in 1934, however, when the average annual income was $1,600, the National Firearms Act had the practical effect of restricting ownership of certain weapons to the wealthy and, of course, to the government.
When viewed from the standpoint of limiting crime, the National Firearms Act is patently ludicrous: Requiring criminals to register and pay taxes on the weapons with which they are about to commit murder, or else forcing them to acquire these weapons illegally is crazy. When viewed from the standpoint of controlling people, however, the NFA makes perfect sense.
Every action taken by the federal government has one purpose in mind: To protect the government from its citizens by transferring power from those citizens to the government. It is a striking and horrifying fact that, in this eternal quest, criminals and the government are in perfect alignment. Criminal acts of a certain magnitude are necessary in order to make emergency government measures plausible.
Criminals Are Exempt
The government never lets a crisis go to waste—just try replacing the word “crisis” with “crime” to get an accurate picture of the history of gun control. In a twisted quid pro quo, the government has protected professional criminals from the laws it passes in answer to their crimes.
If you have any doubt on this score, a 1968 Supreme Court ruling confirmed that felons are exempt from registration under the National Firearms Act. And this is not a joke: Citing the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination, the court ruled in Haynes v. United States that only noncriminals were required to register NFA weapons and pay the tax.
The government’s legal gymnastics and lies concerning firearms laws are staggering. In 1939, the government argued in court that short-barreled shotguns could be regulated because such guns are not military weapons, and only military weapons are protected by the Second Amendment. The NFA, they explained, was purely a revenue measure conducted by the Department of the Treasury. (The very popular “it’s just a tax” argument.) The Supreme Court agreed.
But in 1968, the federal government banned importing military weapons on the grounds that the Second Amendment only protects guns with a “sporting purpose.” The Supreme Court agreed with that as well. In 1986, the government banned the manufacture of full-automatic and select-fire weapons. And since the only way to get one of these guns today is to buy one made and registered before 1986, a full-auto equivalent of the AR-15 will now cost you around $50,000. So unless you’re a wealthy person, or a member of the police (who can buy a new one for what it’s actually worth—around $1000) you can forget it.
The Last Resort Exists
The real problem is that a government with a monopoly on force might do anything. They might respond to your home-schooling plan by confiscating your children, as happened in Germany. They might jail you for making an offensive joke on your Facebook page, as happened in Britain. They might use a pandemic to force you to close your business indefinitely, as happened in New York. A man disarmed by his government is not a citizen—he’s a subject.
The individual American’s best friends in this fight are those states and counties that refuse to implement unconstitutional federal laws. Montana started the ball rolling in 2009 with its Firearms Freedom Act, and numerous other states subsequently passed similar laws. These laws, of course, were ruled out of order by the federal government, but it ultimately remains up to the states to insist that the federal government is operating outside its authority.
The question regarding dangerous weapons is not whether it’s safe for citizens to own them, but whether—or why—we might consider it safe for the government to own them. When the FBI descended on Waco, they managed to kill more people in one day than the most prolific serial killer they ever caught had killed in his whole career. The Branch Davidians at Waco were actually gun dealers and were well-armed, but of course the FBI brought a tank. The FBI should not have had a tank to bring.
The current administration in Washington, D.C. is not elected and is not legitimate. As if confirming this fact, they’ve surrounded themselves with barbed wire and soldiers carrying machine guns. In so doing they implicitly acknowledge the danger posed—to them—by an armed and angry population. An AR-15 is not just a tool of last resort: It is a declaration that the last resort exists, a reminder that there are outer limits to the abuse of power.
Published in 1930, the book carries the single-word title of Shooting. On page 363 is a photograph of the author, one J. H. FitzGerald, shooting a large Colt revolver—with two hands.
Fitz was a famous handgunner of the ’20s and ’30s. A great deal of the book is about the shooters of the day and their techniques. This was a time when bullseye shooting was nearly universal. Every other picture shows a shooter with his pistol in one hand, since the rules of bullseye games required it. Therefore, the book is actually up-to-date and accurate—for 1930.
But Fitz was a lifetime cop and instructor. He wanted to include some material for working pistoleros of the between-the-wars era and it’s there, along with some draw-from-the holster and hand-to-hand stuff that was right on point. Chapter 50, “Shooting Two-handed” had the mentioned picture and two paragraphs of advice.
Fitz advised the reader that chasing a fleeing felon might get a policeman breathing hard and a two-handed hold would increase his stability if a pistol shot became necessary. He is in that picture—back straight, head up, gun arm (right) straight, support arm (left) bent at the elbow.
He has a high grip on the gun in his right hand and the left-hand fingers are wrapped around the right. Even more important, his right foot is well behind his left. In other words, he’s in the Weaver stance, though it wasn’t called that at the time, of course.
He’s in the Weaver stance because it is the most natural and logical way to shoot a handgun when the one-hand stuff is not mandatory. Shooters just fall into this position when they are allowed to use the other arm and hand, rather than stick it in a left side pocket or in the waistband.
As far as requiring a one-hand grip, it’s a cultural matter. I have long believed that using a single hand is an outgrowth of Civil War tactics, where the repeating revolver was a decisive weapon but couldn’t be helped by a left hand. That hand was working the reins of a horse.
Out of habit and possibly a sense of propriety, we stayed with one hand for nearly everything having to do with a handgun. That’s no indictment of any shooting sport that requires it, as there is much to be learned from the pure marksmanship of the bullseye game. But—since the handgun could be fired with a single hand—it was improperly concluded that it should be.
In the period immediately after WWII, more realistic combat shooting training came into being. There were many variations of a sort of combat-crouch position. Police service training evolved into the PPC course. This system grew popular, because multiple shooters could run the course together, and it did not demand a lot of space.
Although it was most commonly fired from a crouch and one-handed, the rules were loose enough to permit the shooter to vary his stance and use two hands. At the same time, Jeff Cooper and a growing band of common-sense pistoleros in southern California began to experiment with completely unrestricted combat shooting.
Much of it was close-range stuff and the trend was to draw fast and shoot quick—with one hand. Jack Weaver, a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff, started drawing his S&W revolver, raising it to eye level and shooting with two hands. Almost immediately, he started beating the daylights out of just about everybody else. They all started using it, and the rest is history.
Because it was so successful and so identified with the first guy to use it in these first competitions, the technique was acclaimed as the “Weaver Stance.” It was the evolved doctrine when Cooper opened the first combat shooting school at Gunsite Ranch in the late ’70s. Hundreds of thousands of civilian, military and police handgunners have been trained in the technique.
But combat shooting has evolved to the point where there are now several kinds of shooting competitions that purport to be combat-oriented. There is nothing at all wrong with making a competition out of a fighting skill. Indeed, it has happened for centuries—boxing, wrestling, fencing, judo, etc.
There, we began to see some variations on stances used in two-handed shooting. Usually, it was some form of Isosceles and often returned to a sort of semi-crouch. There are many top-tier action shooters using some variation of this. I cannot criticize these stances, because those competitors are shooting very well indeed.
I went to Gunsite Academy for the first time in 1993 and got the Modern Technique in its purest form from legendary rangemaster Ed Stock. He is a forceful instructor, and I had years of shooting experience behind me. But I learned more about handgun work in that week than I had ever previously known. A great deal of it was the utility of the Weaver Stance.
It is a sound platform from which to deliver accurate shots at any range—long or short. With practice, it is also quick to assume, as well as to turn from when targets appear at different angles. Even more, it is great when the handgun of choice is an arm of more than adequate power—and therefore, recoil. All of these virtues remain as constant today as when Cooper and his crew developed the doctrine years past.
The Weaver still works.