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SITREP: August 2003

By Dan Shea

In this issue of Small Arms Review, we are pleased to bring Robert Segel back into the fold after a short hiatus. Robert’s in depth work on the St. Etienne Mle 1907 will be followed shortly by the 1904 Colt Maxim and several other very intriguing historical machine guns. Bravo for that!

We also wanted to coordinate the Bisley Vickers Shoot “Operation Parting Shot” with the “2003 War and Peace” show this summer in the UK, so we could arrange for good coverage for our brothers in arms there. Gatherings like the Vickers one are very important to passing on the history of the men and the guns, and these events are all too few and far between. It is my sincere hope that Dolf Goldsmith will be successful in getting the equivalent gathering together for the Browning Machine Guns in the United States. I hereby offer to bring my water cooled M3 Tora Tora AA gun to let people fire it on the line when the shoot happens. I am sure that many other people will step up to the plate and help out as well. We had hoped to do this near DC, but other ranges could be considered.

We are going to press as I write this, and the people who had the raffle for Herb Woodend’s benefit are preparing to pull the names of the winners. From all accounts, this has served its purpose, and the community has helped one of its own. We at SAR would like to thank all who participated and ran this event, and in the next issue we will put in all the pertinent information on the event. It will also be linked from our website; We did not run this, but we are supportive of it.

On a recent trip to Yugoslavia, I got to view a Serbian Maxim, a Serbian Chauchat, and many other interesting historical guns in the museums there. We will be bringing you the stories on these very shortly. SAR is still actively seeking information on weapons inventories and rare pieces around the world, and we do welcome writers and photographers to send suggestions on related articles.

In this somewhat disjointed Sitrep, I have to digress into one of my most serious rants. This regards training of military and law enforcement officers. I recently heard a chief of police saying that he didn’t want his officers to have much trigger time, because if they trained to use the firearms, they would be more apt to use them. This is simple ignorance of the effects of training, and it is dangerous to the officers involved. The more training they have, proper training that is, the more likely the officers will be to properly use their firearms at the appropriate moment.

This is true all across the spectrum of small arms use. Good training generally equates to proper use. Lack of training leads to improper use. Even with the wonderful simulation systems we have today, there is still no substitute for real trigger time with live ammo.

There are two major movements in this area, one of which is a movement to lead and heavy metal free ammunitions for duty and training, reducing environmental hazards on ranges, as well as addressing health issues. The other is a growing understanding in the training community of the value of sound suppressors at the range. Protection from hearing loss is an important health issue, as well as a good way to reduce complaints from neighbors to the ranges. As these two movements gain momentum, SAR intends to keep the readers on the cutting edge of information. We advocate more training time, more ammo for training, and advancing our training technology. It all adds up to an increased survival rate for officers and soldiers, as well as less potential collateral damage from shooting situations.



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