27 Oct 2014

More Ottawa Shootout Details

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The National has a full play-by-play description of exactly how Kevin Vickers took down Michael Zehaf Bibeau.


What Pistol did Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers use?

Smith & Wesson 5946

(Dean Weingarten identified it.)

Bibeau was using a Model 1894 Winchester .30-30 lever-action carbine, with a tubular magazine holding six rounds (in addition to a round in the chamber). Retired Mountie Kevin Vickers took from his desk the RCMP standard sidearm: a Smith & Wesson Model 5946 9mm semiauto, almost certainly with a 15-round magazine (plus one in the chamber).

Vickers had Bibeau decidedly outgunned. Vickers could fire 16 shots as rapidly as he could press the trigger. Bibeau had only some portion of seven rounds left, and needed to work the lever to eject the spent cartridge case and chamber a new round before he could get off another shot.


Mike McDaniel doesn’t like the Double-Action semiautos designed for the police market (and I agree).

[M]ost police officers [today] are not gun guys and girls. Many officers shoot their issued handguns only when necessary for qualifications–commonly only once a year–and clean their weapons far less often. Many police officers don’t own personal weapons, and many don’t carry any handgun off duty. Skill with handguns, and particularly revolvers requires constant and serious practice. Most police officers aren’t willing to do that.

Police executives were scared to death of the pistols available in the 70s, which were primarily the Colt 1911 and Browning Hi-Power, both single action pistols correctly carried “cocked and locked.” The sight of those cocked hammers sent shivers up their spine and made their knees weak, so manufacturers developed double action mechanisms so that they functioned more or less like revolvers, except they didn’t. After the first, vague, long and heavy double action trigger pull, the second and subsequent shots have a short, light pull, generally making the impact points of at least the first two shots far apart indeed.

Col. Jeff Cooper called double action pistols “an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem.” And so they were.

But Kevin Vickers clearly had fired that Smith & Wesson at a range many times in police practice sessions. He was familiar with his weapon and proved quite capable of shooting it accurately at a man-sized target.

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The DA/SA semiauto was developed long before the 1970’s, the Walther P-38 (1930’s)being a salient and successful example. It is an inherently safer design for chambered carry than a cocked and locked SA (George Patton came close to blowing his junk off with a cocked and locked 1911 early in his career), and can be fired quite accurately with a bit of practice.


There’s an expression used on automotive forums to describe an argument that is ultimately irreconcilable, and this is “not another oil thread!” This is similar, in that there are those who claim as the commenter does that DA pistols are “inherently safer” than SA pistols, and those who, like me, claim otherwise – that given all the factors that combine to characterize the inherent qualities of a pistol, SA operation is inconsequential. Literally millions of 1911 pistol were produced, 2.7M in US military procurement alone, and it is the most copied, and most issued pistol in history. Anecdotes abound, but actual accidents attributable to SA operation are infinitesimal in number. Balance this with the strikingly superior ability to hit your target with the first shot, and the knock down power of the .45 ACP round, and in a total combat encounter sense I would judge the 1911 superior – in whether the wielder survives not only the incident, but his entire 1911 carrying life. I have more than one PPK, and it is much tougher to hit the intended target with the first, DA shot, and even subsequent SA shots than with a 1911, and will likely need more than one shot. If I had to go DA, I’d go S&W K-frame wheel-gun, which is the pinnacle of DA action evolution.


Once Kevin Vickers took down the threat, why did the other guards find it necessary to spray the place with bullets? What happened to take cover and wait to see if the threat persists?


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