We have a local gentleman who is a highly respected member of the community, now a senior lawyer, who was a Marine in Vietnam. He was also a tunnel rat – and apparently liked the job.
I was in a meeting about some water rights issues with him and he found out I was a gunsmith. He asked me what I thought the “greatest handgun ever designed” was. Well, this was easy: I have a fondness for the 1911, and I reckoned he did too.
Turned out, he’s quite emphatic on the issue: The 1911 is the single best handgun that ever existed; for him there is no debate on the matter. Why? Because when he was down in those tunnels with nothing but a 1911, a few magazines and a flashlight, it never, ever failed him. It also, in his recounting, “stopped disagreements very quickly and permanently.”
For all these tacti-kewl experts today who like to denigrate the 1911, I’d like them to meet this gentleman. He has some opinions borne of experience on the matter of handguns in lethal engagements. He’s a very polite gentleman. He’ll patiently hear arguments for other pistols. And then he will politely, but firmly, inform his interlocutor(s) that they are wrong.
The shame of this situation is that if Uncle Sugar had asked to get some redneck engineers involved in this, we would have recommended pulling a 500 gallon LPG tank up to any one of the openings into the tunnel system, and then just pouring liquid propane down into the tunnel. LPG gas is heavier than air, it causes cryogenic burns on direct exposure, would suffocate anyone down there, and when it finally found a source of ignition, poof: Roast Charles.
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