Friday, September 23, 2011

Wokachika-wokachicka...

You know the sound: Stay up until the cable channels contain more pitchmen and Snuggie commercials ("Snuggie! The official uniform of depression!") than they do actual programming content, and then flip around until you find a cop drama from the '70s.

As our heroes slew their Pontiac Catalina to a halt and go shuffle-stepping their blowdried and wide-collared way down the alley towards the bad guys' lair, snubbie revolvers held up in the Full Sabrina, the soundtrack invariably goes "wokachicka-wockachicka-BOMP!-BOMP!"

Recently at McKay's, I picked up a copy of Law Enforcement Handgun Digest, 3rd Edition, circa 1980, and that soundtrack practically wafts up off every page.

Wow, Massad Ayoob looks young!

Jeff Cooper, on the other hand, was already old, but as far as I can remember, he always was.

Apparently, the most important qualification for being on a SWAT team in those days was the ability to rock a pornstache and some serious sideburns.

Teacup Weaver was apparently still an approved stance, as well as that thing where you use your support hand to grab your dominant wrist. I have never figured out how that latter stance is supposed to improve your shooting, and I reckon it started to fade about the time that people started seeing photographs of themselves holding the gun that way; it doesn't even look natural or comfortable.

Also, it appears that the shotgun was meant to be fired from the hip.

The article topics are a blast from the past, too:
"WHAT'S THIS THING CALLED SWAT? -This department uses time, talk and tear gas -firearms only when necessary."
Nooo! I'm from the future! Turn back now, before it's too late! Think of the kittens!

"THE .41 MAGNUM LIVES - This caliber still does hard duty with some law enforcement agencies."
Can we all agree that this cartridge was practically stillborn?

"A HARD LOOK AT AUTOS - These handguns arouse pros and cons among law enforcement types."
Buddy, are you in for a shock over the next ten years. Also, there's this Austrian plastics company you should look into investing with.

They do some ballistic testing of various defense rounds in .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum and, I guess as a lark, 9x19mm. Instead of 10% ordnance gelatin or wet newspaper, the target medium is a whole bunch of pillows stuffed into some trash cans duct-taped end to end, which is supposed to simulate... well, I'm not exactly sure, actually. (Although they also used two layers of lamb ribs and filled the cavity between them with frankfurters. Maybe not the most accurate tissue simulator, but you gotta admit it sounds like big messy fun.)

There's an article entitled "Waiting For SWAT" that shows what undercover or off-duty officers should do while waiting for the guys with the AR-180s and Colt Pythons to arrive. Then there's a picture of said SWAT team, all clumped in a stairway with weapons at either high port or the half-Sabrina, and every single trigger finger I can see is securely parked right on the trigger. If you tossed a firecracker into that room, the ceiling would have more holes than a Paul Krugman column.

Wokachika-wokachicka...

I'm gonna go read up on the pros and cons of the FBI Crouch now...

49 comments:

Marty said...

"Sherman, set the Way-Back machine..."

og said...

Help mister wizard!

Dave said...

"Gee Mr. Peabody, what's a pornstach?"

Guffaw in AZ said...

"Full Sabrina!" Yet another reason you are the Queen of Snark! - gfa

Tango Juliet said...

Jeff Cooper, on the other hand, was already old, but as far as I can remember, he always was.

HA!

Like George Bailey, he was born old.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

"If you tossed a firecracker into that room, the ceiling would have more holes than a Paul Krugman column."

Art said...

Saw a "teacup Weaver" on the range recently ... Gave me flashbacks, man.

Joe Allen said...

"they also used two layers of lamb ribs and filled the cavity between them with frankfurters."

And they probably flicked the feathers off them, threw them on the grill and served them for lunch after.

Word verification: hambur

Tam said...

The pillow test and the lunchmeat test were separate tests.

But yeah, they probably grilled the dogs after. Except for the ones they shot with the .41, 'cause they couldn't find those. :D

Bubblehead Les. said...

Yet three decades later, the Hit count per shots fired rate still stinks. But I'm glad you were able to find the Pima County Sheriff's SWAT Team Training Manual.

Boat Guy said...

Pleased and proud to say my monitor is NOT dripping coffee, but my sinuses ARE wonderfully clear for some reason...
Did you miss the offhand-index-finger on the leading edge of the trigger-guard? Or am I mis-remembering the 80's?
If I'da gone hard for the .41 I wouldn't need all these S&W's of the high-20's Model numbers, or be buying two different calibers of bullets.

Ken said...

Instead of 10% ordnance gelatin or wet newspaper, the target medium is a whole bunch of pillows stuffed into some trash cans duct-taped end to end, which is supposed to simulate... well, I'm not exactly sure, actually. (Although they also used two layers of lamb ribs and filled the cavity between them with frankfurters. Maybe not the most accurate tissue simulator, but you gotta admit it sounds like big messy fun.)

It sounds like an idea that came out of a bong, but it has a certain charm withal.

Henry Blowfly said...

Massad Ayoob was never young, either
He shape shifts according to the calibre and vintage of the Machine Gun (deliberate caps) of which you speak.

Anonymous said...

Was Tom Ferguson the author of the .41 article? He was one of my favorites.

Al T.

Anonymous said...

Did they have any pictures of SWAT rolling up to the call in their tactically uncool ex bread delivery truck?

Real men don't need APCs.

Gerry

Tam said...

Gerry,

The SWAT team in the feature article was Orange County CA. They were rocking AR-180s, in a addition to the pornstaches and sideburns. No pics of their ride.


Al T.,

Jack Lewis was the nominal author of the books, with articles contributed by Ayoob, Grennell, Roger Combs, and Claud Hamilton.

Tam said...

Incidentally, it also has some good articles on revolver 'smithing, and there's a dozen page opus on Gunsite, from back in the day.

Ygolonac said...

I have a similar-vintage LEHD, library surplus, that I need to dig out and scan. I do remember a ".41 Magnum Is The Arisen Messiah" article of some sort, a "Buick of Truth" type penetration-testing (aka "let's go down to the junkyard and shoot things!"), and what still stands out as the real "winner":

Mounting pump-action shotguns on your patrol motorcycles.

IIRC, it was City of Industry, CA, that was featured there.

SWAT article in mine was pretty meh. Theere were also (different articles) mentions of the effectiveness of backwards-loaded hollow-base wadcutters - I must say, it did blow a mean-looking hole in that bar of soap.

Mike said...

Word of warning, *DO NOT* google "Full Sabrina" expecting to see images of old time shooting stances. The pages which come up are ....ooops! Wouldja look at those!

Chas S. Clifton said...

Mike: We must be in different Google-verses. Not knowing every nook and cranny of gunny slanguage, I had to look up the expression too--and I found it--but also mainly references to <Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.


WV: ecomal. It's electric and does tortillas.

theirritablearchitect said...

More holes than a Paul Krugman column.

That predisposes that there is indeed something there to have holes in, no?

I often wonder how it is that someone as stupid as Krugman was given the Nobel Prize on economics, the same one that was given to Hayek in '74.

Robin said...

For a brief period, my alma mater's town PD issued .41 Magnum S&W 57.

And my Ruger .41 has taken several whitetails to date.

This piece was hilarious, Tam.

BobG said...

"...every single trigger finger I can see is securely parked right on the trigger."

This was standard for both FBI and local police; most of them were taught to keep their fingers on the trigger in those days.

westofthewest said...

Everybody's favorite holster model Jerry Ahern probably still dresses like that.

Joel said...

I know what a Teacup Weaver is. Still working on "full Sabrina."

Funny you should mention this, 'cause a few days ago I saw a short video about "the guns of James Bond," with this "World-Renowned Gun Expert" who'd be thrown off any range in North America these days...

Tam said...

Full Sabrina = Pistol held in both hands, muzzle up, at about head level. Named for Kate Jackson's character in Charlie's Angels.

Used by Hollywood to get the gun and the actor's face in the same frame. Used by shooters because they don't realize that God doesn't like guns pointed at him, either.

Tam said...

(Half-Sabrina is the same pose, but with only one paw on the pistol.)

John A said...

"If you tossed a firecracker into that room, the ceiling would have more holes than a Paul Krugman column."

Nearly cracked a rib laughing. Krugman. Possibly the only internationally-known economist who has never heard of the Broken Window Fallacy.

Frank W. James said...

You mean to say that NOT everyone has a .41 Magnum? I'm shocked! I'm shocked I tell ya.

I've got at least 14, err maybe more...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Tam said...

Frank,

I found it interesting that in 1980, .41 Magnum was about the same age as .357SIG is today.

While I was reading the article, I found myself thinking that, had it not been for USSS and TX DPS, the SIG round might have wound up in the same circumstances.

Don M said...

I loved the .41 mag and the 10mm Almost Mag. Completely aside from how much I liked "Probability Broach" where the .41 Mag was a bigger star than Winn Bear. (and more animated too!)

If I was to inherit banana republic I would standardize my police on 10mm submachine guns and pistols, with .50BMG snipers and Machineguns as the next level. Oh, with 120mm mortars/ rocket launchers/Cannons for my artillery and armor.

Anonymous said...

Krugman knows about the broken windows fallacy. He just wants the lefties to know that the broken windows fallacy doesn't matter when balanced against their noble intent to make everyting fair.

He is like Goering, who announced that Stalingrad didn't need to be evacuated because the Luftwaffe would supply the cut off soldiers by air. Well, after that, Hitler didn't need to listen to mere facts.

Six said...

Don't forget the FBI flashlight techniques. Yeah, I'm old enough that I was actually taught them in the academy.

Frank W. James said...

You mean the .357 Sig IS more popular than the .41 Mag???

I'm shocked. I tell ya I'm shocked.

(Well, There IS the US Secret Service, I guess...)

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Stretch said...

Got my BS in Law Enforcement in '78.
Went to FLETC in '83.
Read everything Wambaugh wrote.
Thank you SO much for this wonderful trip down memory lane.
Off to clean my revolvers while listening to my cassette of TV cops theme songs (Yes, I have a tape of TV cop them songs. Deal with it.)

Dave said...

I remember some catalog-type pulp gun book with a review of the .41 that characterized it as "a cross between a buzz-saw and a sledgehammer" and I'm almost certain it was a MA piece.

Joe in PNG said...

To revise the article from long ago:

"THIS THING CALLED SWAT!"- This department uses flashbangs, assault rifles, and dog shooting- talk only when they realize they kicked in the door of the wrong house..."

Anonymous said...

"Apparently, the most important qualification for being on a SWAT team in those days was the ability to rock a pornstache and some serious sideburns."

What? and now it's a shaved head and a goatee...

Drang said...

I recall having a bit part as a cop in the High School production of "Rebel Without a Cause", and arguing with the make-up girl who insisted that all cops had 'staches. "My father doesn't for one."

Later, in college, was talking to a fellow student in one of my criminal Justice classes, who was a cop in a suburb of Detroit. (Dad was a Lieutenant on the Detroit PD.) Later reported to Dad that whichever suburb it was armed all their cops with 9mms, with HP ammo, and he snorted and said "Well, sure, they don't need it!"

Matt G said...

"I found it interesting that in 1980, .41 Magnum was about the same age as .357SIG is today.

While I was reading the article, I found myself thinking that, had it not been for USSS and TX DPS, the SIG round might have wound up in the same circumstances."


FBI didn't save the 10mm, though. Sometimes, it's the merit of the cartridge. I have to admit still really liking the .357 sig round.

But then, I really like the .41, too. . .

I'm growing out my copstache right now, but the thing won't give me full-on pornstar status. I'm hoping that it will get my car to float over curbs like they did, then (with a hubcap flying off in view of the FenderCam [tm]).

And dig how bare those old belts were! A K frame, a couple of speed loaders, and a ring for a flashlight and/or nightstick. The rest was bare belt and keepers, as far as the eye could see.

Ausprepper said...

I think you'll find that the trashcan, pillow, ribcage, frankfurter test is designed to determine which round you'd use to take down Big-Bird.
For the Snuffaluffagus ballistics test you need a cow wrapped three times round in shag pile carpet.

global village idiot said...

I was at the hospital early yesterday morning. I was there to see my dad's neurologist - he does his rounds OBSCENELY early.

Anyway, in the ICU waiting room, the television was on and had Cannon, a program I'd nearly forgot about.

At no other point in history could a schlumpy putz like William Conrad have landed his own cop drama. He made Detective Sipowitz look metrosexual by comparison.

And yeah, pornstaches like a dust mop convention. Conrad's was the size of a housecat.

gvi

Justthisguy said...

Matt, the eyeglasses will ruin the badass effect anyway. You should get contacts and zero-prescription glasses to toss away when pretending to get mad.

Montie said...

"Apparently, the most important qualification for being on a SWAT team in those days was the ability to rock a pornstache and some serious sideburns."

What? and now it's a shaved head and a goatee...

So on point, that my coffee went down the wrong way, causing a good dousing of my keyboard!

Lets get off the pornstaches now, I'm still rocking one 26 years after starting my LE career and don't plan on shaving it (although my current girlfriend insists that I keep it trimmed back to just below full-on porn status).

The biggest sin for a rookie back in the day? rocking a bigger 'stache that your FTO!

Montie said...

per my avatar, you may notice that I also still wear the same style sunglasses that I was wearing way back. I leave the shaved heads, goatees and OP's to the young guys.

Beaumont said...

Would love to have an AR-180 and a Python -- esp. at the prices they sold for in those days.

I'll keep the goatee, but pass on the shaved head. Round these parts, a shaved head (often found w/tats ands a soul patch) frequently leads onlookers to believe that the bearer of same is a dumbf*ck.

wv: "oomminuf". No, really. It is.

Rob Reed said...

I think I might have that same book.

Is there a discussion on "shooting from moving police cars" in the Gunsite review?

If so, that's the edition I have. The rest sounds familiar.

I think I got my copy in a big box of 70's and 80's era gun mags from a friend who was cleaning out his house.

The thing is, I remembered reading some of thos articles the first time around when I was a teenager with a passionate interest in guns, but no real experience to think of. Seeing them again was really a trip.

Rob

markm said...

global: Now that you mention it, I remember the show Cannon. My theory about that one was that they'd already created so many detective shows that they could only think of one more type of detective - fat. Not that a fat detective was an original idea, but Nero Wolfe was too immobile for an action show.

But what was really hilarious was Cannon's fighting technique - he simply built up speed and cannonballed into his opponents, who apparently were too busy trying to remember an appropriate Kung Fu technique for delivering a kick through 12 inches of fat to remember that they could just get out of the way!

STxRynn said...

on the .41 Mag:

My dad had a .41 as a beat cop in a small west Texas town, about the time I was born....1962-63. He read about a bad guy that took one round and expired on the porch, then the same round took out the wife a few walls away, then it lodged in something in the backyard. I don't know what he carried after that, but He retired the .41 then, and traded it for a Chief Special when he went into the Juvenile Division in the late 60's. I've always wanted to see that .41, it came in a neat blue S&W box with the metal edge reinforcements. Had a neat-o silver screwdriver in it, too.