Armed Journalists in the Philippines

by Miles

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.

As Borat would say, "Verrrrrry nice...."
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.

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!


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I've made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at

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  • LetsTryLibertyAgain LetsTryLibertyAgain on Sep 05, 2015

    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 Anomad101 on Sep 07, 2015

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 Altho, the pen is mightier than the sword is a bit outdated.