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Gary Paul Johnston

COP TALK: Go to "L"

One of the greatest pitfalls for law enforcement officers is the crossfire, or taking positions that put them in the line of fire of other officers. Officers with only a few years on the job have done it hundreds of times. We all have, but avoiding crossfire takes only a little forethought, along with some roll-call training in order to put it into practice.



Brute force, or as trainer Tom Benge says, “cubic inches” can make a big difference in a fight. But if your assailant is more versed in martial arts than you or the fight is blade- or projectile-based, you may be making a trip to the E.R. or worse. However, if your assailant can’s see you, he or she will have a much more difficult time harming you, especially if you don’t remain in the same place.


In the history of American law enforcement, and certainly law enforcement in general, with the introduction of firearms, it was universally accepted to fire projectiles at suspects fleeing from authorities. This tradition continued for centuries. In the beginning, the fleeing consisted of beating feet, either one’s own or those of a horse or other animal. Back then, in addition to different mores, there were fewer people and, of course, no automobiles.


You’ve all heard the story about the importance of the “dash” between the dates of a person’s birth and their death, as therein lies what happened during those dates.


World renowned for his many outstanding small arms designs, John M. Browning achieved immortality in his timeless .45 ACP caliber Model of 1911 pistol. Now close to being a century old, the pistol that is Browning’s finest hour is more popular than ever before. However, as great as Browning’s first 1911 was, it is the many refinements since made to the pistol that have kept it so popular.


Not long after Mr. L. James Sullivan designed the .223 caliber Mini-14 for William B. Ruger in 1967, a U.S. Army general officer told Bill Ruger that had the rifle been available a few years earlier, the U.S. Army would have adopted it. It’s true that a decade earlier, General Willard G. Wyman, commander of the Continental Army Command (CONARC), had twisted Eugene Stoner’s arm to design a rifle similar to the U.S. M2 carbine in the new “twenty-two” caliber.


Not long ago I was telling a friend that I wondered who would be next to offer a model 1911 pistol. After all, the 1911 is the pistol that seemingly will “never die.” Think about it. In less than two years, the 1911 will be a century old, yet this gun is a hundred times more popular now than it was many years ago.


When Mr. L. James Sullivan designed a smaller version of Eugene Stoner’s AR-10 rifle to start the AR-15 on its long, infamous life, the M1913 rail (informally referred to as the “Picatinny” rail) did not exist. While firearms designed after 1991 have had the potential of being conceived with the M1913 rail system in mind, the AR-15, like a number of 20th century rifles, had to play catch-up.