Archive for August, 2010

Found this at



Excerpted from “Tactics for Tough Times” by Dustin Hollis. Used with permission.

You can put together a simple, portable solar “generator” for charging small batteries, electronics, or directly powering lights and small appliances for under $500 with a bare minimum of technical know-how. This power pack can be used as an easy to use, self sustaining power source during emergencies, camping, and outdoor events. It’s a great alternative to a noisy portable generator that requires fuel. Our family uses it a base for charging all manner of electronics, including a radio, laptop, cell phone, GPS, flashlights, battery charger (AAA/AA/C/D cells), and LED or fluorescent shop lights for area lighting instead of bringing noisy and (and possibly dangerous around small children) breakable Coleman propane lamps we used to use.

The core of the system is a portable battery pack, usually sold under Xantrex or Durcell brand. (Links to sources are included at the end.) This power pack is a durable plastic enclosure with a handle containing a sealed lead acid AGM 28 amp-hour battery. Built into this enclosure are indicators to tell you how much power you have left and how much power you may be using, as well as AC and DC inputs. It is usually equipped with some or all of the following, depending of the model: inverter with one to three AC output plugs, a female DC plug, a jump start cable, an emergency light, an AM/FM radio, a clock, and possibly a mini-compressor.

To charge the portable power pack during a power outage or emergency, you need a source of power. The best portable solution for this is a folding solar panel. Solar panels are quiet, simple and easy to use, requiring only to be placed in front of a strong light source to function. For an emergency situation, CIGS military surplus folding solar panels are your best choice. These panels cost more than traditional bulky, heavy, breakable panels, but are well worth the cost considering they are lightweight, folding, flexible, durable plastic covered in a nylon cloth backing (with a storage pocket for cables) to keep them from damage.

While there are several models of panels with different wattage outputs, in my opinion, 25 watt panel offers the best balance between cost and efficiency. I have tested a 25 watt panel (3.4 amps) to fully charge an average power pack within 5-7 hours in full sun. If you feel you need more wattage, other models are available, but I would recommend getting two smaller panels over one high wattage panel for redundancy. If you purchased another power pack, you can then have two power packs charging at the same time.

The panels come with a standard set of trailer plugs and several modular cables with different interfaces, depending on what you want to charge. The cables included are a male DC plug, a female DC plug, a cable with a set of spring clips for charging an auto battery, and a 2.5 mm plug barrel connector.

Two – four identical panels can be daisy-chained together to generate more power with an available SAE “Y” accessory cable.

You can use the barrel connector cable to charge the power pack directly in place of the AC plug provided with your power pack. The power packs have a built-in charge controller that stops the battery from over-charging when at full power. When charging an automotive battery with spring clips, you might want to consider purchasing an inexpensive charge controller to prevent damage from over-charging. It is suggested to use a charge controller when daisy-chaining panels as well.

Some hints and tips for using your panel and power pack:

Panels can be used to charge devices directly if you have a corresponding plug.

A 25 watt panel is 8″x”10″ spread out and will fold up to the size of a hardback book, perfect for fitting into a backpack. They have eyelets at each corner for positioning and mounting. It can just be spread out on the ground or attached to any flat or curved surface facing the sun. I pack a set of small bungee cords with the panel to secure it at each corner, especially if it is windy. As the position of the sun will slowly change throughout the day, you might want to check on the panel periodically and re-position it to make sure that no part is blocked by shadow to make sure you are getting the most from your panel.

In order to best conserve your limited power, try not to plug in AC devices into the power pack’s inverter for a long period of time unless you have to. Converting DC power (what the battery stores and outputs) into AC (what the built-in inverter pumps out) is less efficient than running DC directly to the battery. The inverter uses power when switched on, so make sure it is switched off when not in use. Most small electronics like laptops, cell phones, and small battery fast chargers have DC “car chargers” available for purchase. Use these instead of the AC adapters. You will waste considerably more power converting from DC to AC then AC to DC rather than just using DC directly.

You can often find DC models of your favorite small electronic appliances at your local truck stop or RV supply store, but don’t use appliances whose main purpose is heating or cooking. They often draw way too much power for the power pack to handle for long. Another good purchase is a DC “splitter” that will allow two or more devices to plug into the power pack at the same time.

Keep your usage small and efficient. For example, for lighting, use LED over fluorescent and fluorescent over incandescent. LEDs might use less than 5 watts to produce as much light as a 100 watt bulb.

Several retailers have recently started to sell LED shop lights. These are very efficient area lights with different power options, AC, DC or rechargeable with AC and DC input. The rechargeable units are usually smaller than the direct AC or DC lights. My suggestion is to buy a larger DC direct unit and a smaller rechargeable unit that you can charge and take with you while you perform other activities.

Buy some LED flashlights that run on AA batteries. Purchase a a supply of rechargeable batteries and a small battery charger with a DC accessory plug. The most efficient small batteries available today for the price are Hybrid AA/AAA rechargeable batteries. You can find these at most electronics stores, including Wal-Mart and Costco, though you might find a better deal on-line. Common brands are Eneloop, Hybrio, Rayovac I-C3, and E8DE brand batteries. These “hybrid” NiMH batteries can be recharged up to 1,500 times. The self discharge is very minimal and they have no “memory effect”. You can store them for 3 years and still they will retain 75% of their power capacity.

Determine all the devices you want to power and how many batteries you need and then buy at least twice that number of batteries. You will then always have one set of batteries charged while you use the others. Hybrid C and D cell batteries are not quite available yet, but will be soon. In the mean time, adapter sleeves are available from Sony for AA batteries that allow you to convert an AA battery into the same size as a C or D battery to fit and power whatever device you need.


You can expand and upgrade the system by purchasing additional redundant sets of power packs and panels, or larger battery packs and higher wattage panels.

Lithium Ion rechargeable battery packs are just coming on the market and may prove to be a better solution to your portable power needs. Lithium power packs are considerably lighter in weight than similar wattage lead-acid or gel battery systems. They do not yet have the same range of features as more mature traditional power packs, but more than make up for it in considerable size and weight savings. You can easily fit a lithium battery pack in your backpack along with a folding solar panel and add only a few pounds, as opposed to the average Durcell power pack coming in at close to 40!

As with most technology, smaller, lighter and more efficient equals more cost. Today, expect to pay 3 to 6 times the cost of a regular battery system. As these technologies become more popular over time and manufacturers produce more of them, the prices will eventually come down.


Suggested Power Pack model:

( often has sales on these. There are several similar models with similar functionality, shop around for the best price, and consider these are heavy units, so free shipping is a good deal)

Duracell DPP-600HD Powerpack 600 Jump Starter & Emergency Power Source with Radio, available for between $100-150.


  • Three three-pronged AC outlets to power multiple loads
  • One DC outlet
  • Built-in 600-watt inverter
  • Sealed, non-spillable 28 amp hour AGM battery (replaceable)
  • AM/FM radio and digital alarm clock
  • Jump Start cables


  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 19.25 x 8.25 x 11.25” (48.9 x 21 x 28.6 cm)
  • Weight: 32 lb
  • Warranty: 6 Months
  • AC output power (continuous): 480 Watts
  • AC output power (10 minutes): 600 Watts
  • AC output surge capacity (peak): 960 Watts
  • AC output voltage: 115V
  • AC output frequency: 60 Hz
  • AC output waveform: Modified sine wave
  • Internal battery capacity: 28 Ah
  • Internal battery type: Sealed lead-acid, AGM
  • DC output: 12 Vdc

Folding Solar panels:

These military grade units use non-silicon based, CIGS (Copper Indium Galium di-Selinide) panels backed with nylon and nylon cloth.

Cable pack with 4″ trailer cable 12V female socket, cigarette lighter adapter, 8″ cable with alligator battery clamps, 4″ cable with 2.5 mm plug barrel connector, quick-connect components and 8′ extension cable.

SAE Y-Cable to connect two or even four solar panels together.

Charge Controller

iPod charging cable


  • Dimensions Folded: Length 11″ x Width 8″ x Thickness .7″
  • Dimensions Deployed: Length 41.25″ x Width 21.5″ x Thickness .03″
  • Weight: 1.80 lbs


  • Voltage: 12 Volts
  • Wattage: 25 Watts
  • Amperage: 1500mA or 1.5 Amps

Search for “Foldable Solar Panel” in Google for the best price. Ebay has a few reliable inexpensive sources. “Sunlinq” and “Global Solar” are common brand names. Look from the type backed with nylon camo pattern cloth. This will protect your panel from damage. Average prices run between $225-350.

I suggest looking for panels in the 25-30 watt range for the best price/performance. This level of power will charge the Duracell/Xantrex power pack in 5-7 hours, depending on sun.

Lithium Ion power packs:

Due to the extreme cost and limited availability, I have yet to review the few types available as of yet.

Rechargeable Lithium Ion power packs are a new technology.

Brunton, Tekkeon and APC make some units. sells some solar kits that come with a bag, inverter, charger and cables. The units are a collection of pieces and not as integrated as the solutions from Brunton or others. They may, however, be the least expensive solution until Lithium power packs become more available.

Rechargeable batteries:

For the best prices on hybrid NiMH batteries, Google search for “hybrid rechargeable batteries”. Common brands are Eneloop, Hybrio, Rayovac I-C3 and E8DE brands. Costco often carries Eneloop brand at a good price.


I am not a tree hugger

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Uncategorized


By no means am I a tree hugger hippie, but I saw the move The Cove on Animal Planet last night.  I was amazed by what I saw.  The Japanese are killing over 23,000 dolphins a year.  The meat cannot be eaten because it has too much mercury in it.  But the Japanese are selling it and giving it to school children labeled as whale meat. 

This brings me to another point.  Whales, as see on Whale Wars also on Animal Plant are trying to stop whaling in the southern part of the world.  It is a big mess.  Over 90% of the world says the killing dolphins and whales is wrong and should not be done.  Japan says it kills the whales for research.  If that was true then why are they killing thousands of them?  They kill about a thousand hump back whales a year.  The hump back whales are on the endangered species list.  People are not to kill or hunt anything that is on that list.  So why are the Japanese killing them?  Why has the world not stopped them? 

Here are the links to the web sites that are trying to stop them.  I leave it up to you to figure out which is right or wrong.

Piping in D-Day

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Bill Millin, piper at the D-Day landings, died on August 17th, aged 88.

Found this at:

ANY reasonable observer might have thought Bill Millin was unarmed as he jumped off the landing ramp at Sword Beach, in Normandy, on June 6th 1944. Unlike his colleagues, the pale 21-year-old held no rifle in his hands. Of course, in full Highland rig as he was, he had his trusty skean dhu, his little dirk, tucked in his right sock. But that was soon under three feet of water as he waded ashore, a weary soldier still smelling his own vomit from a night in a close boat on a choppy sea, and whose kilt in the freezing water was floating prettily round him like a ballerina’s skirt.

But Mr Millin was not unarmed; far from it. He held his pipes, high over his head at first to keep them from the wet (for while whisky was said to be good for the bag, salt water wasn’t), then cradled in his arms to play. And bagpipes, by long tradition, counted as instruments of war. An English judge had said so after the Scots’ great defeat at Culloden in 1746; a piper was a fighter like the rest, and his music was his weapon. The whining skirl of the pipes had struck dread into the Germans on the Somme, who had called the kilted pipers “Ladies from Hell”. And it raised the hearts and minds of the home side, so much so that when Mr Millin played on June 5th, as the troops left for France past the Isle of Wight and he was standing on the bowsprit just about keeping his balance above the waves getting rougher, the wild cheers of the crowd drowned out the sound of his pipes even to himself.

His playing had been planned as part of the operation. On commando training near Fort William he had struck up a friendship with Lord Lovat, the officer in charge of the 1st Special Service Brigade. Not that they had much in common. Mr Millin was short, with a broad cheeky face, the son of a Glasgow policeman; his sharpest childhood memory was of being one of the “poor”, sleeping on deck, on the family’s return in 1925 from Canada to Scotland. Lovat was tall, lanky, outrageously handsome and romantic, with a castle towering above the river at Beauly, near Inverness. He had asked Mr Millin to be his personal piper: not a feudal but a military arrangement. The War Office in London now forbade pipers to play in battle, but Mr Millin and Lord Lovat, as Scots, plotted rebellion. In this “greatest invasion in history”, Lovat wanted pipes to lead the way.

He was ordering now, as they waded up Sword Beach, in that drawly voice of his: “Give us a tune, piper.” Mr Millin thought him a mad bastard. The man beside him, on the point of jumping off, had taken a bullet in the face and gone under. But there was Lovat, strolling through fire quite calmly in his aristocratic way, allegedly wearing a monogrammed white pullover under his jacket and carrying an ancient Winchester rifle, so if he was mad Mr Millin thought he might as well be ridiculous too, and struck up “Hielan’ Laddie”. Lovat approved it with a thumbs-up, and asked for “The Road to the Isles”. Mr Millin inquired, half-joking, whether he should walk up and down in the traditional way of pipers. “Oh, yes. That would be lovely.”

Three times therefore he walked up and down at the edge of the sea. He remembered the sand shaking under his feet from mortar fire and the dead bodies rolling in the surf, against his legs. For the rest of the day, whenever required, he played. He piped the advancing troops along the raised road by the Caen canal, seeing the flashes from the rifle of a sniper about 100 yards ahead, noticing only after a minute or so that everyone behind him had hit the deck in the dust. When Lovat had dispatched the sniper, he struck up again. He led the company down the main street of Bénouville playing “Blue Bonnets over the Border”, refusing to run when the commander of 6 Commando urged him to; pipers walked as they played.

He took them across two bridges, one (later renamed the Pegasus Bridge) ringing and banging as shrapnel hit the metal sides, one merely with railings which bullets whistled through: “the longest bridge I ever piped across.” Those two crossings marked their successful rendezvous with the troops who had preceded them. All the way, he learned later, German snipers had had him in their sights but, out of pity for this madman, had not fired. That was their story. Mr Millin himself knew he wasn’t going to die. Piping was too enjoyable, as he had discovered in the Boys’ Brigade band and all through his short army career. And piping protected him.

The Nut-Brown Maiden

The pipes themselves were less lucky, injured by shrapnel as he dived into a ditch. He could still play them, but four days later they took a direct hit on the chanter and the drone when he had laid them down in the grass, and that was that. The last tune they had piped on D-Day was “The Nut-Brown Maiden”, played for a small red-haired French girl who, with her folks cowering behind her, had asked him for music as he passed their farm.

He gave the pipes later to the museum at the Pegasus Bridge, which he often revisited, and sometimes piped across, during his long and quiet post-war career as a mental nurse at Dawlish in Devon. On one such visit, in full Highland rig with his pipes in his arms, he was approached by a smartly dressed woman of a certain age, with faded red hair, who planted a joyous kiss of remembrance on his cheek

This is something very near and dear to my heart.  I have a bunch of friends/brothers who have gone and are going throught this right now.  I saw this on

We must remember to give our people a break.  Trust me it is not easy to come back from a war and forget.

Some very good points below. Remember, that our veterans coming back from these I.E.D. laden wars are seeing things and experiencing things no American veterans have ever seen. Their have been hundreds of run-ins with combat veterans in recent years. Some are a big deal, some not so big. All of them have the propensity to be bad situations for law enforcement. A few years back I had a run in with a fresh Iraq war veteran. Needless to say he had drank way to much and the situation ended with him battered, bruised, tasered, and in the jail. Not because we wanted him there, but because his ridiculous actions and inability to calm down and realize his surroundings cost him his career and a lot of money. Later like a good soldier he sent an apology letter to my agency for acting a fool. To this day I blame his actions on his recent combat tour. Read below for a professors take on combat veteran/law enforcement contact…

— Keith Lavery Officer.Com
Consider for a moment responding to a 911 hang-up call in one of your middle-class neighborhoods only find out that when you arrive the suspect you are about to encounter is a recently discharged military service veteran home from Iraq or Afghanistan. Your suspect in this incident (probably a domestic) could be a battle hardened combat veteran who has spent the last year, if not more, surviving hyper violent firefights in an urban warfare setting. Worse yet, the suspect had been trained by the military to not only survive the urban battlefield, but to shoot, move and communicate with extreme efficiency. Has the hair on your back stood up yet? To complicate matters, the veteran has been psychologically conditioned (due to combat) to fragment their personality so that they can hug and kiss their children one moment and then very quickly respond violently to kill someone they have identified as a threat as if functioning robotically. He or she pulls a trigger without hesitation and doesn't worry about litigation, politics or Use of Force Continuums.

The media doesn't talk about it, the Pentagon quietly tries to address it and the President last month directed the VA to better treat our soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines for it. We are talking about PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and according to the U.S. Veterans Administration there will be approximately 300,000 of our servicemen and women being re-integrated back into our society who suffer from PTSD with varying severity.

Vets are special; they have earned our respect and admiration while at the same time it would be in our best interest to treat them a little different than everyone else, because they are different.

There They Go Again

You know what I am talking about here; that cop we've all worked with that would respond to a call in-progress and simply walk up to the front door as if making a delivery instead of deploying invisibly. How many times have you said to yourself, "One of these days…", you know it's coming. The positive relationship between poor tactics, or no tactics at all, and the officer who is killed or injured does not just affect the lazy patrolman or woman. All of us suffer from those moments occasionally where our head is not firmly fashioned where it needs to be and the best do dies sometimes, because as human beings we were engineered to fail. When the chips are down and Mr. Murphy is stacked against you then only thing that will save your backside are good tactics. By the way, our military members are taught to expect Mr. Murphy and overcome and adapt. In other words they are trained from Day One to succeed in an environment when nothing is thought will go right. Are you?

Get Better (because someone else is)

Basic patrol officers are venturing into a stage of police history where violent encounters are dramatically worse then they have ever been. Uniform officers are being tasked with more tactical roles and responsibilities, because the threat has evolved to be more militant then ever before. Waiting on SWAT can be a long wait when your adversary is trying to close in on you for the kill. Most jurisdictions in the U.S. do not have full-time SWAT so from the point the call originates until the heavy weapons platoon arrives can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Until SWAT gets there, it's up to the patrol units to handle the critical incident. The blending of general patrol functions with traditional SWAT capabilities is tragically in response to cops, and others, dying. This blending, I believe, will continue, as does Patrolman Matthew Wintrick of the Lakewood, Ohio, Police Division and operator for the Westshore Enforcement Bureau SWAT.

Wintrick was the architect of recent training that was provided to his fellow officers after his unit recognized that the uniforms should have been the first tripping point to initiate a SWAT call-out, as they were handling highly dangerous tactical incidents. However, they were not calling SWAT due to several reasons, some of which were identified as a training deficiency. Wintrick felt the officers needed to be briefed on what is often regarded as SWAT tactics since they were fulfilling a tactical role once it becomes apparent that a suspect refuses to exit their home or other location of defensibility.

The Phases

Cops know that it can hit the fan quick. SWAT knows that when it hits the fan it is usually preceded by a few phases first. Wintrick taught the officers that if a suspect does not immediately exit a home when asked by the police to do so, then it would be prudent for the officers to immediately consider the event as a potential ambush. According to Wintrick, the initial responding officers should react by –

* Taking solid cover
* Request additional uniform elements
* Perform an observational function to gather intelligence and never give up gathering it since the value of intelligence changes moment by moment.
* Relay the intelligence gathered to SWAT elements forming up; provide continual updates.
* This phase of activity is known as the Observation Phase.

Once sufficient manpower arrives, the Observation Phase now turns into the Containment Phase. During this stage officers should:

* Establish an Emergency Action Team (EAT) as quickly as possible.
* The EAT, minimum of two officers, needs to serve an immediate counter to a threat posed by the barricaded suspect. If the suspect attempts to flee, the EAT element will make the apprehension and should be prepared to do so regardless of the method the suspect may use (foot, bike or car). Advanced planning is required here to surmise options. If the suspect presents a lethal threat then the EAT will address the threat. Less lethal capability should also be deployed to the EAT if possible.
* Once the EAT is in position, then other officers need to further seal off the perimeter and continue to gather intelligence. An on-scene commander should consider delegating an officer to quickly interview neighbors, family members and friends if possible. Desirable information to obtain would be the suspect identity, hostages, suspect capabilities, weapons available, drug usage, mental issues, combatives experience and any other information you would want to know if you had to violently confront someone.
* Placement of initial responding cruisers is vitally important too. Officers, depending on suspect/weaponry threats (distance varies), need to deploy their vehicles tactically to block off roads, but at the same time be able to move them once SWAT arrives of if EMS is needed.

Generally the first person to speak with a barricaded suspect is not the Hostage Negotiator, but rather the basic patrol officer. This fact highlights the need for all officers to have at least a minimal amount of training for understanding the hostage negotiations process, with the goal of not making the incident worse prior to the arrival of a negotiator. An incident extending beyond an hour quickly necessitates the need for mutual aid among agencies, especially when most police departments in the U.S. average around 10 officers per agency or less!

Spending a few minutes in roll call discussing the positional roles of how patrol officers can better handle their response to a barricaded subject could mean the difference between life and death. As more and more troops rotate home at the end of their overseas tour of duty, the likelihood of police officers encountering a violent, out of control, service-or former military service member continues to grow. As I said earlier, our servicemen and women are special in many ways and they should be treated as such.

We just received some information about another two new Sig Sauer pistols. These new models are called Enhanced Elite, specifically the P226 Enhanced Elite and P229 Enhanced Elite. The summary from Sig Sauer breaks them down:
Sig Sauer P229 Ehnahced Elite

The “Enhanced Elite” models thake the same features common to all Elite series pistols and combine them with the ergonomic one piece reduced reach grips used in our E2 pistols. Available in both P226 and the upgraded P229-1 (using the same slide configuration as the P229 E2), these pistols bring the advantages of the one piece modular grip to a wider audience.


  • P226 or P229 chambered in .357SIG, .40S&W or 9mm
  • P229 9mm magazine capacity is 15 rounds
  • One piece reduced reach ergonomic grip with updated stippling pattern
  • Beavertail frame with front strap checkering and accessory rail
  • Slide features “Elite” engraving and front cocking serrations
  • SRT Short Reset Trigger System
  • SIGLITE Night Sights
  • (2) magazines

The MSRP for both Enhanced Elite models is $1,200 and the model numbers will be:

  • P226: E26R-9-ESE, E26R-40-ESE and E26R-357-ESE
  • P229: E29R-9-ESE, E29R-40-ESE and E29R-357-ESE

These models are slated for a nearly immediate release. More detailed photos will follow soon.

Update: 8-30-10 – we just received the Sig P226 Enhanced Elite 9mm and detailed photos are below:
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taken from:


by:  Wiley Clapp


The engineer who sets out to design a new 9 mm Luger semi-automatic pistol faces a daunting task, because it has already been done—and done well. Nevertheless, designers continue to develop new models with marked regularity. In an age of .40s and .45s, you would think that the 9 mm pistol might be in decline. But when I checked with several of the large ammunition manufacturers, they said the No. 1 best-selling pistol caliber is (still) the century-old 9 mm Luger. The cartridge has much to commend it, particularly for a big police agency that must equip and train large numbers of shooters in restricted time frames and with limited resources. The little cartridge is easy to shoot, functions well and performs acceptably, if not ideally, in actual shootings. So it dominates in the market—and so do the guns that shoot it.

Twenty-five years ago, Ruger startled the shooting world when it introduced the 9 mm Luger-chambered P85, its first center-fire semi-automatic. The company regularly updated the concept since it first appeared, but the new SR9 (Sturm, Ruger Nine) is a completely new and different gun. As such, it reflects all the company knows about making commercially competitive pistols and displays the features that the market demands in a cutting-edge service pistol.  The is a recoil-operated service pistol with a host of features that appeal to today’s handgunners, whether civilian or police. It has a high-capacity, double-column magazine that holds 17 rounds of 9 mm Luger ammunition; another in the chamber brings the on-tap total to a whopping 18 rounds. In order to maintain the gun’s overall weight, Ruger used glass-filled nylon to form a synthetic frame. The SR9 weighs just 26.5 ounces. Lighter pistols—particularly 9 mms—are much in demand, so a synthetic frame is almost a necessity. So is some form of constant-action trigger, with which the length and weight of the pull are the same for each shot. Slide movement is necessary to partially set the internal striker for firing. Complete setting or cocking comes from the initial portion of the trigger pull. Pulling the trigger all the way through completes the cocking and then delivers the shot. It’s the way things are done on the modern semi-automatic.

The Ruger SR9 had a somewhat rocky start, but after a recall and revisions, the gun achieved a reputation for appropriate reliability and innovative design. Ruger recently introduced the SR9c, with “c” standing for compact. To build this newer model, Ruger abbreviated the full-size SR9 in both receiver height and slide length; so a pistol that fit a 7.55- by 5.55-inch box was reduced in size to fit a 6.85- by 4.61-inch one. That is a significantly smaller handgun that has a wider range of deployment options. We will deal with that point in a moment. For now, let’s look at the specifics of the SR9.

Taking the full-size SR9 in hand, we have a sleek pistol with modern curves, planes and angles. It looks good, but the empty gun has an almost top-heavy feel to it. When you add 18 rounds of 9 mm, however, its balance improves. Made with either a brush-finished or blackened stainless steel slide, the SR9 comes with an elevation-adjustable rear sight matched up with a semi-ramp front. The sights have the omnipresent three-dot sight highlights. Viewed from the rear, the aligned sights have a slightly rounded top contour, which I would prefer to see flat. Both of my sample guns had black lowers and stainless uppers, but all-black guns are available, as well as tactical-finish SR9s with black stainless slides and OD-green frames. There is no green SR9c variation.

SR9 slides have design features found on earlier Ruger pistols—most notably, radiused front end profiles and no step at the lower front end of the frame. The http://Compac thas cocking serrations both fore and aft; however, the regular model has them at the rear end of the slide only.

In the molded receiver we see common sense practicality combine with a graceful style to produce a functional, even elegant, semi-automatic pistol. The butt section must house a double-column magazine, as well as provide a functional grip for the shooting hand. On the SR9, the grip is no thicker than it needs to be, but it still provides an expanse of molded-in checkering for a positive grasp. As first seen on the company’s P345 .45 ACP, there is a crescent-shaped depression on the forward edge of each side of the grip. Fingertips just seem to slip right into it, affording a secure grip. At the backstrap, there is a reversible panel to adapt the grip to larger or smaller hands. Better yet, the top of the backstrap is deeply recessed. This positions the web of the hand well into the grip and above the curve of the trigger. The pivoting trigger requires a back-and-up trigger pull. And the closer the hand is to the bore axis of the gun, the better that hand will be able to control recoil. The rear of the trigger guard is rounded and recessed upward, which permits the shooter to get his most powerful gripping finger—the middle one—up high on the grip. Combined with the previously mentioned grip backstrap contour, this high-grip relief contributes to a very controllable gun. I have to believe that the major strength of the SR9 design is its superior ergonomics.

Today’s service semi-automatics customarily have an accessory rail on the dust cover forward of the trigger guard. Most of them are both ugly and awkward, although arguably necessary. On the SR9, the rail is so cleverly worked into the contours of the receiver that the shooter is hardly aware that it’s there.

Finally, look at the magazine floorplate. It’s molded synthetic, but there is a slim little ledge in each side of the bottom. Although nearly unnoticeable, that little ledge is there for a good reason. In the event of a feedway malfunction, the magazine needs to be forcefully ripped out of the gun. That simple little ledge gives the fingers purchase to get it done.

From the advent of the Glock forward, designers have wanted to achieve a safer, simpler, smoother semi-automatic pistol. The mechanical safety of the SR9 pistol comes from several devices. There’s a pivoting trigger safety in the face of the trigger blade and an internal magazine safety. Also, there’s a drop safety that won’t let the striker move without trigger pressure, so a dropped gun can’t fire. Finally, there is an M1911-style (down-to-fire) manual safety on the receiver, just under the pad of the thumb and repeated on the opposite side for southpaws.

The SR9 operating drill is simplicity itself. With an empty pistol, insert a loaded magazine and then retract and release the slide. Press the trigger to fire a shot and repeat as often as necessity demands. To put the gun away in loaded-but-ready status, just pop the manual safety up and holster the gun.

In both big and small versions, the SR9 pistol is primarily a service or defensive firearm. As such, it’s important to look at the gun in terms of how it handles and performs. In size and weight, the original, full-size pistol is close to the average in competing designs. The long 17-round magazines, required because they position the top round at the feed ramp, drop free at a touch of the magazine catch. On the shorter Compact, either the long 17-rounder or the included short 10-rounder will work. This has implications for the police officer who wishes to carry the full-size gun in a duty holster and a second compact SR9 in concealment. The advantage is simply that both guns could be reloaded with the full-size magazines. As a matter of fact, Ruger’s literature states that the SR9c is a “17+1” capacity gun. It comes with one 17-rounder and one 10-round magazine. In the box, you will also find a molded collar that surrounds the bottom end of the 17-round magazine that produces the same butt contour as the SR9 when inserted in the gun. You can use a longer magazine without the collar, as long as you do not violently slam the magazine into the gun. That might risk parts breakage and cause malfunctions. Only in an emergency situation would I use a standard 17-rounder in a Compact.

The Compact comes with a finger-piece extension floorplate for the short 10-round magazine that replaces the flat-bottom floorplate that is standard-issue. Thus we have four different magazines that will work in the Compact: a stock 17-rounder, and one with the collar; and a stock 10-rounder, and one with the fingerpiece extension. In this way the Compact can take on a number or roles. It might be a service gun in a duty holster for a uniformed officer, but the same officer’s off-duty gun when he changes from a long magazine with collar to a short one. There is a great deal of flexibility built into this system.  At a local range, I fired the two pistols in the standard American Rifleman protocol of five consecutive, five-shot groups at 25 yards. Without the proper Ransom Rest inserts, I was forced to shoot over sandbags from a concrete bench. Accuracy was well-within the norm for competing 9 mm designs. However, I must note that I have had much better results with other Ruger pistols, particularly the P345. The trigger has the predictable first stage, during which pressure serves to fully load the striker, followed by a release stage. Both are gritty and have some movement. Although not an easy system to use for great accuracy, for the guns’ intended purpose—self-defense—it’s acceptable.

But this criticism is more than balanced by the gun’s 100 percent reliability and excellent ergonomics. If I were to get the question of which gun is best—among service 9 mms with higher-capacity magazines—for small-handed shooters, the answer is obvious. It is the new Ruger SR9. A slim pistol with an easy-to-manage trigger reach, the SR9 series guns in both sizes are great new semi-automatics for the nation’s handgunners.

Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Co.; (928) 778-6555;
Caliber: 9 mm Luger
Action Type: recoil-operated, semi-auto center-fire pistol
Frame: glass-filled nylon
Barrel: 4.14”; compact 3.50”
Rifling: six-grove, 1:10” RH twist
Magazine Capacity: 17; compact 10
Sights: fully adjustable, three-dot
Trigger Pull: double-action only; 10 lbs.
Overall Length: 7.55”; compact 6.85”
Width: 1.27”
Height: 5.52”; compact 4.61”
Accessories: lock, lockable hard case, owner’s manual, spare magazine
Suggested Retail Price: $565; compact $525

SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. ––( With two other Grand Masters, as well as two Masters, gunning for the title, Cliff Walsh of St. Petersburg, Fla. held off all four shooters, including a late charge by Smith & Wesson’s David Olhasso, to claim the Revolver division title at the U.S. Practical Shooting Association’s (USPSA) 2010 TechWear USA Area 8 Regional Handgun Championship this past weekend at the Fredericksburg Rod and Gun Club in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Walsh, who is a Grand Master with a revolver, the highest skill level in the sport, took the lead on the third stage of the match after winning it, then built his lead by winning two more stages. After the seventh stage, and with just three more to go, Walsh had a 32+ point lead over Olhasso.

With time running out, Olhasso, himself a Grand Master, began to run the table winning all three remaining stages to pick up all 305 match points available.

However, Olhasso’s late surge was not enough to overtake Walsh who protected his lead by finishing fourth on the eighth stage and second on the ninth and tenth stages.

Walsh ended the match with a final score of 1085.7505, a margin of 11.8638 points over Olhasso.

“Both Cliff and David shot a great match. Cliff never finished below fourth on any stage while David never went below fifth. That kind of consistency will always put you at the top of your division and I congratulate Cliff on winning such a tough battle,” said Michael Voigt, president of the U.S. Practical Shooting Association.

Olhasso, a resident of Holland, Pa., won a total of four of the 10 stages and finished with a score of 1073.8867.

Third place in the match went to the remaining Grand Master, Matt Griffin of Louisville, Ky. Griffin took top honors on one stage and finished the match more than 106 points out of first with a score of 979.6577.

Fourth and fifth places went to the two Master class shooters Josh Lentz of Walnutport, Pa., and Robert Perdue of Falling-Water, W.Va. Team Smith & Wesson’s Lentz won the first stage of the match and finished with a final score of 958.2406 while Perdue finished fifth with 867.2779.

The TechWear USA Area 8 Championship drew 278 top competition shooters. It is one of the eight USPSA shooting regions in the country and is made up of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The run-and-gun sport of practical shooting was formally established in 1976 but traces its roots back to the 1950’s and the quick draw “leather slap” competitions that grew out of America’s love affair with the TV westerns of that era.

Today the sport represents the upper echelon of the shooting sports with many of its top shooters actively training law enforcement and military units on shooting techniques and equipment developed in competition.

The next major pistol competition on the USPSA calendar is the 2010 USPSA Handgun National Championships scheduled for October 8 through 16 in Las Vegas, Nev. For more information, visit or follow @USPSA_Shooting on Twitter.

USPSA is a non-profit membership association. Most of the more than 15,000 individual members belong to and regularly compete at one of the nearly 400 affiliated clubs and sections (groups of clubs banded together for mutual benefit) located across the United States. USPSA is affiliated with the International Practical Shooting Confederation (I.P.S.C.), which is comprised of approximately 67 nations. USPSA is the American region of IPSC. Visit: