Armed Journalists in the Philippines

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There is an outstanding video that is currently on The Guardian about journalists in the Philippines stepping up and arming themselves against the horrible violence that has actually plagued some of them, most horrifically in the Maguindanao massacre where 34 journalists were picked out from a media convoy and killed outright. Also realize that this is a very small portion of the journalists in the Philippines who are choosing to go ahead with this, not every journalist in the Philippines is all of a sudden packing heat.

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As Borat would say, “Verrrrrry nice….”

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What appears to be a UC M21 foldable submachine gun on the far left, a 1911 in the middle, MP5K, and an STI race gun. Apart from the stock 1911, most of these seem to be more for their range day, than actually carrying while at their day jobs.

The biggest issue I have from the video is that the journalists are training to shoot but not training to fight. Standing up in front of a static target and key-holing groups all day is fantastic for marksmanship, but it doesn’t lend itself very well to working under stress, to drawing, to assessing a threat, to manipulating a malfunction or jam. But, as the age old adage goes, it is overall better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. There’s also the whole political side of the argument about arming noncombatants, but that discussion is not a TFB one in the least.

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These journalists aren’t playing around…

The article came in from “Conor” and he attached some of his own input as well-

As you know The Guardian is fairly rabidly anti-gun but I think the video, while very slow is quite interesting on many levels. On a personal level I’ve encountered far too many people who don’t know what they are doing carrying guns: what I like about this is that appears to be a fairly well educated bunch of IPSCers showing journalists how to do it. Not the best safety being followed at some parts (obviously muzzling interviewer at one point).Seems to be mainly a mix of 1911s, some folks wearing IPSC holsters. Not quite sure I like that the guy who we see putting his gun in his bag doesn’t have a holster and wiggles the slide release for a not particularly clear reason, but hey.
Certainly I’m glad that when I worked as a journalist I didn’t have to carry. Kudos to these guys for standing up for what they believe in and using a firearm to guarantee their safety in facilitating our freedom of speech. Even with a pistol I don’t think I’d want to be a journalist in the Philippines.

Much thanks to Conor for the tip!



Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at miles@tfb.tv


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  • PK

    Fascinating stuff! This is the sort of thing I love to see on TFB. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The second photo down on this page, is that some sort of long arm or SMG? I can’t tell what it might be.

    I also saw a copy of the Ares folding SMG in the video.

    • Bj

      It is a handgun conversion chassis

      • PK

        Thank you! Do you happen to know the brand, if it’s a commercially available type?

        • Bj

          Kinda looks like a CAA roni

  • Giolli Joker

    He goes once to shoot in Texas Tornado’s ranch and there are already his shooting gloves around the world. ๐Ÿ™‚

    (Valentino Rossi, the yellow 46 of MotoGP)

  • George

    That folding firearm on the 3rd photo is very likely a converted Airsoft Magpul FPG that uses a real G17 slide. There are some youtube videos showing one such conversion actually functional.

    • PK

      It’s fully automatic, as shown in the video on the Guardian’s website. It seems to be a copy of the Ares folding SMG, which the Magpul design is based on.

  • SP mclaughlin

    Those folding SMG’s would work great for a journalist, now that that idea has come in my head.

  • Dan

    I wish this could help, but most journalists killed in the Philippines are shot from behind straight to their head with no warning (execution-style). The second is the drive-by using a motorcycle, where the passenger either shoots the journalist point-blank or sprays him with automatic fire.

    There is an active gun-for-hire industry here, and they are very professional. No announcements, no long soliloquys before the coup de grรขce, just straight-up shooting. Most are either ex-police or ex-military, or even active-duty personnel trying to make money on the side.

    The journalist would be lucky if he had time to even reach for his pistol.

    • Yallan

      And unfortunately awareness training although the most important defensive skill is the most difficult to teach. Makes terribly unsexy youtube videos as well.

      The best advice for journalists it to wear shoes that are very easy to run in. (grippy and light), that way if your suspicious you can start running. Very difficult to hit a running target. The next best piece of advice is to exercise. That way if you need to jump out of a car you won’t break a hip doing it.

      • John

        On that note, it’d be a good idea to put a decent foot support in your shoes so you can run farther and faster without hurting yourself in the process. Or if you’re just standing around all day, or whatever.

        Some people recommend Superfeet for that reason.

    • Tassiebush

      I’m sure that is correct in many cases but one of those journalists had certainly survived a few attacks including defending himself so it has enough merit to be well worth it.

      • Dan

        I’m not discounting the training. The more journalists train, the more it helps them have a fighting chance. And more gun-carrying journalists means less anti-gun bias in media. It’s just that the facts of the matter is that killers are way more trained and more brazen.

        • Tassiebush

          Yeah fair enough. A professional killer doing a well planned but brazen surprise attack would be hard to survive. I’d imagine too corruption could vastly broaden what could be gotten away with. Not being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being able to fight back would be all they could do with no guarantee of success.
          It sounds like an awful problem. The Filipinos I know are such nice people. It’s terrible that their homeland is blighted by this problem.

  • Uniform223
    • Tassiebush

      Well I bet he’d beat Maywether in a SMG deathmatch

      • mosinman

        only if Maywether didn’t run away the whole time ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • bernardg

        Or, only if May doesn’t cheat on his IV intake use.

        • Tassiebush

          Yeah apparently Maywether gets to have that IV but Pacman can’t be legitimately treated for an injury for technical reasons.

          • bernardg

            Let’s put it this way, May is a farce, plain and simple.

  • Iksnilol

    The folding smg, is it possible it is the pp90? I remember hearing about pp90 being for sale in the Philippines.

    • Cynical_Asshole

      i doubt that. the PP90 uses helical mags. and i haven’t seen a PP90 in the hands of anyone here yet.

  • DAN V.

    Man I want an MP5k so bad. Loved that gun since playing the original Rainbow 6 game in middle school.

  • Ben Loong

    Interesting fact:

    Here in the Philippines, the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act of 2013 (Republic Act. No. 10591) lists journalists as being in “imminent danger due to the nature of their profession…” along with lawyers, public accountants, cashiers, bank tellers, religious (priests, ministers, rabbi, imams), physicians, nurses, engineers, and private businessmen exposed to a high risk of being targets of criminal elements. (Sec. 7)

    That means that they don’t have to go through the process of getting a threat assessment certificate when applying for a permit to carry.

    • Cynical_Asshole

      while we ordinary citizens have to go through the necessary processes for a PTCFOR. another hole in the wallet for that too.

      oh well. at least we didn’t get an outright gun ban.

      • Ben Loong

        Well actually, after extensive consultations with stakeholders, the implementing rules and regulations were re-written to include “Other profession or occupation that the PNP may consider to be in imminent danger.”, with favour to licensed gun owners.

        • Cynical_Asshole

          good to know. i’ll keep that in mind once i make plans for a UDMC AR-15.

  • Adam

    God i love the Philippines…. 3 weeks and counting….. Danao here i come…..

  • Zebra Dun

    Armed Journalist……boggles the mind!
    I watched a TV reporter in the US handle an airsoft M-4/Grenade launcher and he was afraid to take it out of the package! Some man had been walking near the highway with one out of the package and gave a lady the squirts so she called the Police, Sheriff, National Guard and the media. She was hand wringing and crying about how skeert she was for the Chillern’s who might see it.
    The Police spokesperson said, ‘Well since it wasn’t a real M-4/GL launcher there is nothing we can really charge him with, and no crime was committed.”
    The reporter stated he didn’t want to alarm anyone else’s chillern so he didn’t take it out of the package, which he still managed to wave around, he appeared fully able to shoot his eye out with it by accident even so.
    Armed journalist, I’d say that is the term used for a fully awake, off the kool aid, mugged by reality reporter.

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    According to a couple of friends who lived in the Philippines, there is a thriving industry where individuals, often small family businesses, custom make firearms in sheds behind their houses. They make custom handmade 1911 pistols and they are actually quite nice in a Filipino fashion, and they sell for a few hundred US dollars. It’s not legal but there isn’t a huge amount of enforcement either. As a cultural oddity, if you appear western, you will almost always be given the benefit of the doubt. One friend told me that he had his 1911 and a security guard yelled at him and wanted to search him. He was surprised, but the security guard was looking past him at some completely innocent native. I hate class based discrimination, and it’s particularly odd to me that Filipinos tend to discriminate against their fellow countrymen and defer to those from outside their culture. I was also told that petty corruption is rampant and even if you encounter a police officer who catches you carrying a handgun, $50 will usually make the problem go away. I don’t like corruption and I also don’t like societies with class based discrimination.

    I’m all for Philippine journalists being armed to protect themselves, but given the nature of most of the drive-by assassinations, I’d think a ballistic vest would be a better first step, although that may just skew the killings more toward head shots from behind and away from drive-by “spray and pray” machine gunning.

  • anomad101

    Journalist are dangerous enough, they should be banned from owning firearms. Altho, the pen is mightier than the sword is a bit outdated.