Rule 1: All Guns Are Always Loaded – Col. Jeff Cooper
In recent weeks the Hamas has launched over 25 “lone wolf” knife attacks on the population of Israel, producing about a dozen Israeli deaths and double that in casualties. Most strikes seem to occur in a random manner, the victims simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. The only correlation being that the stabbers were Palestinian and the stabbees were Jewish. Police, military, and private citizen alike, have all been targeted.
At the Damascus gate last week, a Border Patrol Guard was knifed in the neck by a Palestinian he was questioning.
Please note that every one of the 12 to 13 officers present on the video were required to run the slide of their pistol before they could bring it to bear. At the 16-second mark, the officer in sunglasses to the left of the officer who was being stabbed, can be seen extending his gun out and then running the slide. In slow motion you can see that even the microsecond of weapons manipulation allowed the attacker to swing his blade 1-2 more times without the hindrance of any extra 9mm holes in him. And as unnecessary as the gun manipulation was for the responding officer, imagine how untenable such a feat was for the officer being attacked!
To be fair, the attacked officer would most likely have to deal with the knife and gain space before he could draw his gun and fire. But with a stab wound to his left shoulder/neck, I have to wonder if his support arm would have even still been working well enough to manipulate his slide if given the chance.
So, why do they do this?
It has been Israeli policy since state inception that all arms carried by police and military have an empty chamber. Reasons for this are somewhat folkloric, but the best of my research has concluded that it all started with an arms embargo imposed on Israel in 1947 (spearheaded by the United States.) The fledgling nation was left to fend for its own defense as no one would sell them armaments. The few guns they were able to procure were smuggled in from Europe and the US, and were generally a hodgepodge of the old and broken – And most importantly, many were not drop safe.
Combined with a lack of proper training, these random firearms in disrepair and lacking drop safety resulted in a large amount of accidents, thus, a blanket policy was enacted that no round was to be chambered during daily carry. This may have been influenced by Fairbairn and Sykes’s work with the Shanghai Police and their commando training during WWII, it may have been from the common practice of not carrying a round under the hammer of a single action revolver, or it may have been just what they did because it made the most sense at the time. I’m prone to go with the latter, having spoken with a number of older Jewish people here in the US that spent time in their youth contributing to or assisting in arms smuggling operations to Israel. After hearing what they were sending I don’t find hard to conclude that the results were an empty chamber policy. Guns were put in every bag or box that could get through customs, mostly one at a time from private donors – and those guns were the “wretched refuse” that could be scraped together for free.
Regardless of the history, what we now have in 2015 is an industrialized nation with modern police and military, carrying M4 rifles and Glock handguns, who have, for over 60-years, been at daily war with an enemy whose personnel aren’t afraid to attack at contact distances – and these defenders are going into the fight with EMPTY chambers on drop safe guns!
Far be it from me to tell any nation how to carry their guns. All I can say is what I would and wouldn’t do – and what I wouldn’t do is get caught at home with an empty gun… let alone Israel!
It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win. – John Paul Jones