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Banging Like Baltimore

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I love to pick on Chicago. After all, is there a better example of what happens to a city after long term Democratic Party rule than the town now known as Chiraq? Unless there is the second coming of the Almighty, the hometown of Rahm Emanuel, Hillary Clinton and both Obama’s will break 700 homicides and 4000 reported shootings for the year. But I like to write about guns and in terms of sheer lethality; Baltimore is in a class by itself. Nobody bangs like the B-more bangers. They are truly deadly and offer lessons to be learned in the art of the gun.

Lets look at the cities themselves. Chicago is far larger with a population of slightly less than 3 million. About a third are African Americans in whose communities the vast majority of homicides/shootings occur. Baltimore on the other hand has a population of around 620 thousand with a 65% Black population. Homicides perpetrated by Whites are virtually negligible. Therefore we know what demographic is doing the shooting/killings.

Here’s what is telling. In Chicago, it takes slightly more than five shootings to produce one fatality or at least a 5:1ratio. However, the Baltimore bangers have gotten that down to 3 shootings for every fatality or a 3:1 ratio. That my friends is truly badass. It’s equal to the stats of the Chicago PD, guys who formally train and qualify with firearms. If there was a super bowl of gangbanger vs gangbanger, Baltimore wins hands down.

Lets examine this further. High quality weapons are common. In both cities the guns used are pretty much the same. DAO striker fired semi-auto’s in 9mm and 40 predominate with Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Glock being the most common. S&W snubs are an outlier. With the exception of the revolvers all are high capacity. Glocks are seemingly the most desired of all the weapons. Another exception is the apparent more common use of shotguns in Baltimore vs Chicago. Interestingly, cheaper and budget class weapons are down on the list. You won’t see many 45’s and 1911’s are really quite rare. These guys certainly weren’t fans of Jeff Cooper or his theories.

Next lets look at the wounding patterns. Multiple wounds are common with 2/3rd’s having at least two hits with an increasing number of head shots. Many have both head and multiple hits. The vast majority of shootings involves multiple rounds being fired with extended magazines and not just high capacity ones being used. These guys are not dropping mags for a tactical reload. The old adage of these incidents involving 5 to 6 shots seems to rapidly becoming a myth.

The Baltimore Sun did an interview with Quinzell Covington, a Baltimore gunman, now doing time for murder. He is a prime suspect in as many as 14 other homicides. Covington participated in his first drive by at age 13 as an observer. By 15 he was doing the shooting and continued to do so for years without getting caught or shot himself. He must have been doing something right and he’s not the only one.

There are more than a few tactical lessons here. First, the idea that “all” of these bangers are bad shots using sub quality weapons and poor tactics is probably not correct. While the above stereotype might hold true in many cases, the “game” seems to changing. It’s a trend I wouldn’t ignore and Baltimore seems to be leading the way.

Here is what you “might” be facing. There’s an excellent chance if you’re in an shooting encounter with one of these guys he will be as well armed, if not better than you are. He’ll have a high capacity, good quality 9mm or 40 and will possess at least some idea and training on how to use it. Percentages say that it will not be his first rodeo either and that there’s been involvement in more than one shooting. He will probably have a buddy or two with him. His culture has adapted and is now producing not only a criminal, but also an inner city soldier. He’s developed a manual of arms that is simple, workable and effective for his particular world and he’s becoming more than willing to take that world into yours. The bangers have had years of inner city warfare to develop their tactics. They now have an institutional memory and there are experienced people within their cadres that are able to codify and teach their methods which have been learned through trial and error. The gangs have also associated with international criminal organizations such as the Zeta’s and ex-Guatemalan Kaibiles, guys who really know what they’re doing and can provide expert advice.

This is what is bothersome to me. At no time has there been more options available for civilian firearm training. Some of the instructors carry impressive credentials with SWAT, Special Forces and combat experience not uncommon. The big question is how many of them have been in pistol fights? The answer is not very many and if they have, the number can easily be counted on one hand with fingers left over. In many cases the knowledge is trickle down with the guru’s passing down their teachings to lesser-known instructors. In our world we aren’t going to see a Jim Cirillo or Frank Hamer coming our way anytime in the near future. However, a Quinzell Covington may be just a street corner away.

The other big question is if our training methods and choice of firearms are adequate to face the threat. The gun companies as well as many instructors are pushing a trend toward small concealment, low capacity handguns. In most cases, the bangers are carrying mid to full size high capacity weapons.

I’ve recently been to a so-called high-end state of the art range and what I see going on is not comforting. For one, you can’t work out of a holster and the ability to move is limited. Secondly most of the shooting seems to be of the plinking variety. Targets are single and lined up as far away as possible. Tactical reloading just doesn’t occur very often if at all. The instructors seem like nice guys, but they’re really more concerned with presentation and accuracy. They are parroting what they siphoned from someone else and learning the gospel was in order to obtain their credentials. T-bone and Buckwheat, if they’re smart, will do something quite different and perhaps a bit more effective in the real world. Food for thought.

 

Stay armed my friends.

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