Monday, August 20, 2012

Why Is This Not ALWAYS the Case?

Reader Gerry sends in a story that immediately caught my attention:

US forces in Afghanistan ordered to keep weapons loaded at all times
Updated at 2 p.m. ET: WASHINGTON – All U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan are to be required to have a fully loaded magazine in their weapons at all times in response to a spike in attacks by rogue members of the Afghan government’s forces.

A senior military official told NBC News that the order "could save precious seconds" in responding to a so-called "green-on-blue" attack and hopefully save lives.

Why in blue blazes weren't our soldiers in combat zones already carrying hot weapons? They're in a place where folks are actively trying to kill them, and the official policy up until now was to walk around with unloaded weapons? Sure, a professional shooter might be able to load a magazine and chamber a round in a second or less, but often the soldiers on duty don't have the experience for that nor the time to practice (my wife's nephew, who did a tour in Afghanistan, confirmed that he had minimal time with the M16 he was issued).

And it gets even better:
U.S. military officials told NBC News that the new order did not mean personnel were required to keep a round in the chamber.

So in a crucial moment when every second counts, when some traitorous bastard that you trusted to take over security for you turns on you and start shooting your friends, you've got to work the weapon to chamber a round rather than flip the safety off? It's obvious that the rules aren't being written by folks that have been on the ground but pencil-pushing appeaseniks who would rather our boys die than offend someone.

Gah. I need to get to the range...

That is all.


JD Rush said...

Would have helped out in, oh, say, Fort Hood too.

BenC said...

From what I heard they were forbibben to carry weapons loaded and I am willing to bet the still can't carry with one in the chamber.

Armed Texan said...


No it wouldn't because soldiers are not allowed to possess weapons, period, on posts outside of war zones unless they are part of an exercise or are on-duty MPs. (There are a few exceptions for officer housing, hunting on post, transporting personal weapons on/off post in locked containers [FOPA style] etc.)

Bubblehead Les. said...

Jay, no B.S. For most of my Naval Career, when I stood Armed Guard, my 1911 was EMPTY, in a CLOSED Flap Holster, with my 2 Mags on the Opposite side of Web Belly, with only 5 rounds in each.

Trust me, having the Troops over there keeping their Weapons in "Condition 3" is a HELL of a lot better that what I had to do.

Of course, one does wonder WHY the "Change in Heart?" Could it be that someone doesn't want Congress to hold hearings on why our Troops are being Wasted by our so-called Allies? Or could it be some of the Brass and Political Hacks over there just realized that when they leave their Offices for Cocktails at Lunch Time, the door to their Watering Hole is being guarded by Achmed the Talibani?

Bubblehead Les. said...

That's Web Belt, sorry.

JD Rush said...

@ Armed Texan:
I know our bases are gun free zones
From the Washington Times:

"Among President Clinton’s first acts upon taking office in 1993 was to disarm U.S. soldiers on military bases. In March 1993, the Army imposed regulations forbidding military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and making it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. for personal protection. For the most part, only military police regularly carry firearms on base, and their presence is stretched thin by high demand for MPs in war zones."

Funny to see who is responsible for that. Wasn't it up to the base commanders prior to that?

Suz said...

Disarmed military. 'Cause violence is a social construct and we civilized folks can "educate" it out of existence, right?


Fred said...

It boils down to the fact that most Joes don't actually understand firearms. There's a few E7 and O2 types here who I'm about to shove their M9s down their throats (it's a weapon and you're not a cowboy. Leave it in its holster and stop twirling it around!) and I may shank the next guy that says he needs a clip for his M4. Makes me wonder why I left my nice cozy combat arms unit...

The last time I was in Afghanistan, "amber" (full mag seated, empty chamber, weapon on safe) was the standard. It should never have changed. They need yo switch to "red" (round chambered) whenever dealing with groups of locals.

Butch Cassidy said...

I'm with Fred on this one. One of the guys I went to EMT school with sent me a message a while back about one of the other officers in his unit blowing a chunk out of his hand with his M9 on the range. And my cousin* and his fresh from the sandbox former staff sergeant thought nothing of muzzling an entire family BBQ with each-other's carry pieces.

*Who proceed to chamber a round back into his 1911 while pointing it at his foot after playing with sarge's XD, letting the hammer down, and then re-holstering. After being a career Marine.

Anonymous said...

One of things I quickly learned is even elite units spend most of the time with empty firearms. The reason seemed to be any ND that caused an injury was a career ender for officers.


Anonymous said...

"U.S. military officials told NBC News that the new order did not mean personnel were required to keep a round in the chamber."

Wait, does this mean that my brothers and sisters can carry condition red now? Yeah, right! Carrying amber never made much sense to me, much less green.

Anonymous said...

Hell, loaded magazine inserted, chamber empty, safety off, is a HUGE improvement.

I can see the utility in a cantonment zone (behind physical barriers and defences) for guys not standing guard -- just as that was standard for carrying weapons on helos and inside APCs when I was in (NDs on helos or in sealed armored boxes can be REALLY BAD {grin}). Merely having to cycle the action as leave the bird (or the base), or the bullets start to fly in the base area ain't that tough, and it cuts down on NDs.

Of course, it makes no sense for holstered pistols (especially DA with a decocker, like the M9) to leave the chamber empty -- quit touching it and it cannot go off.


Texas Sean said...

Fred, good to hear from you, keep your head down! When I was in The Corps, 1987-1993, Gulf War I, we were issued plastic caps to put over the birdcage on our M16A2s as well as plastic mag well covers and told to keep the ejection port covers closed, mags out, etc. As an 0331, I wasn't even issued belted 7.62 for the M60 I was assigned until hours before the ground war kicked off.

Many times I stood that same lonely post with an empty 1911 too!