One shooter, two handguns, 43 G.I.’s shot

Karl D. writes:

I can’t pretend to know how I would have reacted in this situation.But one thing that did cross my mind and surprised me was why, out of a room full of soldiers who are essentially trained killers, he was not bum-rushed by a bunch of soldiers and tackled to the ground.

LA replies:

Colin Ferguson, the killer on the Long Island Railroad in 1993, was subdued by several unarmed commuters.

N. writes:

Three observations:

First, Colin Ferguson was subdued after he had emptied his firearm, and therefore while he was in the act of reloading if I remember correctly. It appears that the Fort Hood jihadi was carrying two pistols, perhaps to avoid that problem.

Second, the average soldier, surprised in a secure area, is not as likely to react the same way as in the field, with the possible exception of combat veterans. Since no one in the area was armed, with the exception of certain police, there was no way to return fire.

Third, the Fort Hood jihadi had taken extra instruction in shooting firearms. Depending on who trained him, it would be dangerous or even suicide to attempt to rush him except from a blind side.

LA replies:

I didn’t realize that there are pistols that hold hold 25 rounds, since he fired 43 shots and presumably had more to go.

Van Wijk writes:

News accounts state that Hasan had two handguns, and that one was semi-automatic. I assume that the other was a revolver of some kind, probably holding six rounds. If the semi-auto was a 9mm, it’s possible Hasan was using an extending magazine holding upwards of 16 rounds. So he walked in with a total of 22 rounds. He shot 43 people, so he must have stopped to reload at least once, but since I seriously doubt he hit someone with every single shot, I’d say it’s a safe bet that he reloaded at least twice. Since he acted alone, no one did anything while he was reloading. They were probably taking cover and just hoping the shooting would stop eventually.

Van Wijk continues:

You wrote: “For all their ability to defend themselves from an armed killer, the soldiers at Fort Hood might as well have been Christians in church.”

This is from a comment I made at Barely a Blog:

From what I’ve read, the shooting occurred at SRP, which is a staging area for soldiers headed to warzones. Naturally, soldiers are not allowed to fly with their weapons or ammunition. There might be an accident, or worse, a shooting. When I went to SRP, the unit’s weapons were locked in a conex and shipped overseas separately, but I was there in 2003 before the invasion, so they might do things differently now (but I doubt it). If they are flying with their personal weapons nowadays, ammunition is certainly restricted.

Anyway, military posts are essentially Gun Free Zones. Those with concealed carry permits (like myself) risk federal charges if they enter post with a firearm. Single soldiers living in the barracks must register their firearms and keep them in a secure, central location somewhere on post, such as a gun club. No one is walking around armed.

P.S. Hasan was finally shot down by a female, civilian security guard. I guess all the MP’s are already in Iraq.

N. writes:

You wrote: “I didn’t realize that there are pistols that hold hold 25 rounds, since he fired 43 shots and presumably had more to go.”

We do not know what firearms he was carrying. The Glock 17, a very common 9x19mm pistol, comes with a standard 17 round magazine, an extended 19 round magazine and there are 33 round magazines that can be used.

He might have been carrying the Beretta 92, a standard US military sidearm, with a 15 round magazine capacity.

He might have been carrying one of the Sig pistols, the P226 can accept a 20 round magazine.

However it is likely that he carried extra magazines and reloaded at some point in the shooting. The training he received would teach him how to reload very efficiently, during any short lull in the fight.

LA replies:

Except that it was not a fight, but a slaughter.

Paul K. writes:

You asked: “I didn’t realize that there are pistols that hold hold 25 rounds, since he fired 43 shots and presumably had more to go.”

Hasan is reported to have had two handguns, one a non-military issue semiautomatic, the other presumably a revolver.

I located an article which said a local gun dealer had been asked if he had sold Hasan an FN “Five-seveN” [sic] 5.7mm semiautomatic pistol, which comes with a 20-round magazine.

This is an unusual pistol which has not really caught on in the U.S. in a big way, partly because of its expensive, non-standard round. It uses a bottle-necked cartridge, like a rifle cartridge, which fires a small caliber bullet at high velocity. Here is a YouTube video which shows how little it recoils and quickly it can be fired:

This video shows the pistol and its ammunition:

N. writes:

A former FBI profiler just claimed on some MSNBC (cable TV) show that the Fort Hood jihadi was carrying a 5.7mm pistol. If true, it would be the FN 5-7.

Note that magazines for this pistol are available in three sizes: 10 round, 20 round and 30 round. If he were carrying the largest one, that would mean he did not have to reload for quite some time.

Paul K. writes:

News stories now confirm Hasan’s use of this weapon, as well as a Smith & Wesson .357 magunum revolver.

Paul K. continues:

A little more Googling informs me that 30-rd magazines are commercially available for this pistol through sporting goods catalogs.

N. writes:

CNN has reported that the Ft. Hood jihadi was carrying a .357 Magnum revolver (probably 6 cartridges) and an FN 5-7 pistol

David B. writes:

If you have several loaded magazines for an automatic pistol, you can reload in seconds and keep up a stream of fire. All you have to do is hit the magazine release and the empty mag falls out. You then pop in a full magazine and release the slide. You are fully loaded again.

Jack S. writes:

This is an occassion for one of my favorite quotes from Machiavelli: .”.before all else, be armed … “

Van Wyck’s comments that military bases are gun-free zones is shocking. A college campus would be expected to a be a temple of politcal correctness, but an army base !?

Ferg writes:

Chances are very good that he reloaded at least once. Also, while shooting in one direction he would have been somewhat vulnerable from some other direction. As an experienced defensive pistol sport shooter, I can tell you that a good mag swap can be done in under a second, even by an old man like me. However, having said that there is another aspect to the situation as I see it. When I was a young Private on active duty in 1964 we were trained to give officers, particularly higher ranking officers, an almost god like respect. I am sure that at that time as an impressionable youth, I would have been shocked into inaction by the sight of a MAJOR opening fire on a group of us. It would have taken me a while to work out what was going on, and what an appropriate response would be. At a guess, I would have just hit the dirt and tried to crawl under something. I was trained to a robotic like obedience to officers, and would have never argued with one, let alone attacked one. Today the military has more relaxed relationships between officers and enlisted, but I would think there is still a strong disinclination to physically assault an officer, if you are merely a Private.

Charles T. writes:

You wrote: “For all their ability to defend themselves from an armed killer, the soldiers at Fort Hood might as well have been Christians in church. ”

A legitimate thought.

However, not to be argumentative, consider this: Surprise is an incredibly powerful element. Do not underestimate it. It can paralyze even the best trained personnel. That fraction of a second of paralysis is enough to allow the perpetrator to injure many. If the handguns were semi-autos then the perp could reel off the shots very quickly. Now, if he stopped to reload, then I would want to know why someone did not jump him. But I do not have all the facts of the scenario at this point.

I have learned that I never quite know how I will react to a situation until I am actually there; i.e., coming upon car accident, medical emergency, etc.

LA replies to Ferg:
Fascinating point.

Ferg replies:

Thank you Mr. Auster. I have been thinking more about it and it can be put into a non military light. Say you as a civilian are in a room with a group of people and a uniformed police officer from your home town or State walks into the room, takes out his handgun and just starts shooting. How quickly are you going to be able to figure out what is going on, and make an agressive response to it? I am a legaly armed civilian with a great deal of training and experience in defensive pistol shooting. One of the things you are trained NOT to do, is shoot a uniformed police officer. It would be extrordinarily hard for me to draw down on a police officer let alone start shooting him. It would also be very difficult to grab some other guys and attack and subdue the officer. It just runs counter to what we have been taught all our lives. You have to be thinking something like THERE IS SOME GOOD REASON THIS OFFICER IS SHOOTING. MUST BE BAD GUYS AROUND. At least that is the way I see it.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 06, 2009 05:18 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):