Firearms Ignorance of the masses…
In Most of Africa, and in some other parts of the world, the superstition and mysticism perceived as behind the use and effect of firearms is more prevalent than common sense or science. Most people around here, even the educated ones still believe that firearms kill by some sort of white man’s black magic, some sort of advanced voodoo, or that guns somehow shoot poison to kill victims, or that it is the fire and heat that actually goes out to kill. [Some sort of early Laser – fire thinking?]
The idea is that once you point and fire a gun, any firearm in the general direction of your target, you will destroy it!
Unfortunately, even the armed forces and Police as well as paramilitary forces have members, even officers, who believe this!
Let me talk about my own country… A West African country…
[I’m the only one not masked in the picture below…] Other police forces carry pistols primarily, in my country, they carry AK 47s!
Training, and lack of training…
What do you expect? Training is minimal: recruit the guy, teach him how to march, and then take him out to the range and allow him to fire thirty rounds with minimal instruction. On a thirty year-old AK 47. Almost no one is taught the mechanics of HOW bullets work [A simple demonstration with a ballpoint pen would suffice!]
Yes, there is some teaching, caring for firearms, basic disassembly and cleaning of the majority of firearms, but not much more than that. Most of what the typical Policeman learns, he learns on the job. Unfortunately, this translates into some scary behavior. Policemen [especially] flag themselves and others ALL the time, in some cases, fingers firmly on the trigger.
But it’s not all bad: the Army, the Air Force and the Navy have a deep and long tradition of British training, and that reflects in reasonable trigger and muzzle discipline. Unfortunately, a larger number of former criminals and uneducated people are in the military now… And it shows!
There are also “elite” special teams: started and run by enlightened and forward thinking officers, which are better equipped, train with the world’s best regularly: and these cut across the Police, the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. These guys have trained, and continuously train with the British, the Americans, the Chinese, the Indians, The Pakistanis, hell, actually: they are all-round training whores! Anyone would do!
Wrong impressions and ignorance.
The ordinary citizen also has many wrong preconceptions. There is always this belief that the armed robbers and insurgents have bigger and better arms than the law enforcement or military forces: but I always point out the fact that both sides all have the same ubiquitous AK 47 or the Chinese Type 56.
In fact: several military units are equipped with Israeli Tavors, and the FN F2000, as well as the FN P90.
Training is also much better than robbers and such. It is when the trooper becomes a robber, or a rebel or militant that the REAL problem begins.
Masking-tape wrapped AK 47 magazines are seen to be sign by most ignorant citizens that the whole firearm is “held together by tape” and cannot be more than “shakaboolah!” So the Police must have weapons that are falling to pieces… They do not realize that even advanced forces tape additional magazines together…
A “shakaboolah” [Pronounced exactly like that…] is a locally reproduced wide-mouth muzzle-loading blunderbuss made out of hand-pounded materials including water pipes, used in the villages more as a deterrent in communal fighting, than for hunting… It can cause grievous harm when fired too: filled with rusty nails, ball bearings and sometimes: excrement! [There can be no greater victory than showering your enemy with sh*t!..]
In most cases, it is even better handed to the enemy to shoot at you with, as majority of firings cause more harm to the shooter, than to target!
Related to the shakaboolah phenomenon, is the irrational belief many have that Tear-Gas guns must be weapons of great power… So you find Policemen standing at checkpoints brandishing these projectors menacingly… Even the Policemen themselves believe that the big muzzle and bore must mean that a single shot can “explode” someone. They do have a point though, if such guns are used to fire actual grenades, of course there would be little left of the person…
Then there is the fetish belief on both sides:
Many policemen, even soldiers and the criminals all believe in the power of black magic, voodoo or “Juju” as we call it here… You hear tales of guys in the forces who brag about how they went home to “get cooked” in the strongest charms built to stop bullets from harming them…. Some guys have amulets and little tightly-sewed leather pouches tied around arms, torsos and groins… Then ironically, you also see a Bible verse crudely written on the butts of their rifles! “Though I walk through the valley…”
Again, you hear their tales of how “targets” refused to die when shot, because they too had “jazz” [local slang for protective black magic] and these targets actually derisively shook off shots fired at them, in some cases actually catching bullets in their hands, and mockingly showing back to the boys in blue [Or black or green…] These targets could be “well-cooked” armed robbers, kidnappers, oil-theft criminals, or so called militants… Many police [and soldiers] have fallen to the voodoo-controlled return fire from these criminals who have even been ascribed powers including being able to disappear by clapping twice or by pinching the bridge of their noses… All these according to the widely exaggerated stories from the policemen or soldiers.
There have been several cases where a “cooked” person insists on testing the “product” and insists on shooting the witch-doctor to test if his anti-bullet charm actually works [You can’t be a doctor unless you yourself have all the inoculations, right?] Would you know that the witch-doctors almost always refuse? Haha!
Several times the “bullet-proof” charms have been tested on goats or cows… needless to say: there is usually a feast that night.
And actually, some criminals HAVE tested the anti-bullet charms by shooting at their witch doctors… It usually adds murder to their list of crimes.
But they still believe all this!
So some law enforcement agents, who have good rapport with their own medicine-men [Or Herbalist or “witchdoctor” or “Jazz-man”… take your pick] have come up with solutions for these criminals who are so well “cooked” and refuse to “take bullet” and “kpai” [Pronounced like “die” – “kpai” is just one of the slang words for someone kicking the proverbial hand-held H2O storage and conveyance receptacle, also known as bucket…]
So for many witch-doctors, it is like the Vickers Company in the UK: they have a massive factory complex; in one wing, the slogan of their tank manufacturing section is “We make tanks NO anti-tank gun can defeat!” and just across the field, in the same compound, the Anti-Tank Gun section boasts: “Our guns can destroy ANY tank!” Haha… So the witch-doctors claim to make their clients bullet-proof, and at the same time can ensure the destruction of “cooked” enemies, for a higher price… “My juju is better and stronger than your enemy’s!”
Some policemen SWEAR that tying a red rag that had been at one time soaked in the blood of a sacrificed goat on the sight of one’s rifle will GUARANTEE that one’s enemy will be killed stone-dead, even with one shot. No matter the amount of jazz “cooking” that person had gone through, and even without aiming.
Others insist on the efficacy of, [wait for it…], pouring a handful of fine, dry sand in the muzzle of one’s rifle before blasting the misguided enemy, guarantees a good kill…
In a rifle!
The ONE thing that most people just do not do, is AIM their guns!
You all have seen the picture of the Liberian rebel warrior in his Life-jacket vest, lips twisted and doing the “booyakah” stance with AK 47 sideways, pointing firmly towards the ground… LOL.
Ah… The power of ignorance…
Well, let me get you guys all up to speed on MY own adventures recently…
I tested my shotgun with a top rail, Troy Battle sights, and the exceptional Mako Folding Tactical stock… It all failed spectacularly… Haha! Got a busted lip from my poor fitting of the stock, and the rail made for poor or no accuracy. What a waste! Well, they were samples. [Anyone want to buy barely used Troy folding battle sights? LOL…] This video below helped me confirm the failure…
So, then I simply went back to basic: and installed a Magpul SGA stock, went back to a simple clip-on Hiviz plain barrel sight… and actually got some good improvement. I also fabricated a simple groove-type rear sight by filing a groove into a bolt fixed into the factory-made thread on the receiver which you can see in picture below. It provides a perfect “V” with the bead, a very good, instinctive sight picture…
Ah! Dremel: where have you been all my life?!
Video before was BEFORE the simple filed bolt rear-sight.
I have now improvised a shell holder, using some spare velcro materials I found around me at home, and it is functional!
Next idea in mind is a brand new 12ga rifled barrel, with factory sights… A man can dream, can’t he?
The boogey-man around us right now! I am based in a city that has not reported any cases, and we do hear it seems to be getting better slowly: with some patients having improved and being discharged… We all hope things get better soon, but for now, we almost never shake hands anymore in greeting, and anyone who coughs in the midst of a gathering of people, is accused [playfully] of having been sent, as per voodoo [Or “Juju” as we call it here…] by “the enemy witches from one’s village” It is all in jest, but everyone is taking measures nowadays: better hygiene, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers which are all over the place now [I carry a spray can of Industrial alcohol which I spray on my hands and other exposed areas to disinfect regularly.]
There is really strong government effort to stop the spread of this virus.
It was not helped that a few days after this outbreak started, I FINALLY watched Brad Pitt’s World War Z… I was terrified! [And my kids actually barricaded themselves in the little sitting room, blocking any view and sound of the bigger TV with a mattress! It was so funny…
I really hope it is all controlled soon, and will be over early enough for me to plan my trip to the US in January… SHOT Show, here I come!
When I come over in January, I will NOT be offended if you guys in the US all seem to give me gloved-hand fist bumps rather than handshakes! Haha!
You guys remember that I was in Dallas earlier this year, and got a Cowboy hat gift and enjoyed the hospitality of TFB’s own Alex C? [Bless him!] Well, I ended up combining the cowboy initiation I got in Dallas, with my regular job in the oil industry, when a Scottish colleague and friend gifted me a Cowboy-style safety hard-hat!
Now my kids call me “Cow-Engineer” [A play on “Cowboy”]
PS – That safety hat could have several other… Ahem… “uses” in a pinch!