Thursday, September 15, 2005

In the Shooting Gallery

This morning I ran across an account of a civilian security contractor in Iraq.

by Jim Williamson
Roving Editor

The plains north of Baghdad are inhospitable, made less so with hulks of wrecked vehicles, squalid dwellings, and the random heaps of debris comprising the detritus of war. The heat assaults the senses, baking mind and soul, transmitting mirages as the only entertainment for the convoy of supply trucks headed for a police post near the Kurdish border, where the weather will be cooler and the land greener.

A signal halts the column, and a driver dismounts to tie down a loose tarpaulin before any of his precious cargo can escape. Some men aboard the trucks dismount to stretch weary muscles. Others lift bottles of water, ever conscious of the need to remain hydrated in this arid sunscape.

Suddenly, several men screech to a halt some 200 meters distant, taking cover behind a litter of abandoned 55-gallon oil drums. Their voices drift down on the wind, a guttural cacophony of angry Arabic, the syllables lost in the breeze and the distance. Words are soon replaced by the crash of gunshots as they open fire on the column.

The convoy returns fire as men scramble aboard their vehicles or take cover behind them. One defender is a 28-year-old Texan, a veteran of the 2003 war against Saddam Hussein. He notes that one attacker is bobbing behind three of the rusty drums, exposing himself only to shoot at the government convoy and its American guardians.

Especially interesting to gunnies like myself is the performance of 9mm Ball ammunition, primarily from a Browning High Power, but also a Beretta M-9:

Many disparage the 9mm’s stopping power, and knowing that only military “ball” ammunition was available, I asked if this had been a problem. Spook said that it hadn’t. He knows what some of the gun magazine chest-beaters claim in print, and admits that he hasn’t shot any blocks of ballistic gelatin. He has shot eight men with the nine, though, and all went down with center thorax hits. One or two shots sufficed, if well placed. Spook knows that others have complained about the nine, and wonders where they hit their opponents. He has talked with a couple of tank crewmen who shot Iraqis off their huge armored mounts, and they seemed satisfied, too. The Browning worked fine, and so did the Beretta M9 that he wore in 2003, provided that one used only genuine Beretta magazines. Cheap spare magazines from other manufacturers might fail.

You can read the rest of it here.

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