Saturday, August 26, 2006

A "Short" Look at Snubs

By Stephen Camp

Popular now for well over a century, the snub revolver continues being produced by several manufacturers in a fair number of calibers. Some "gun people" really like them while others side with the compact automatics. I prefer the snub-nosed revolver to all others for pocket carry.

Why is it that the snub continues to be used and available from the small J-frame Smith & Wesson's and Taurus revolvers to large frame giants from S&W? Why is it that some of us continue to use the limited-capacity snub in this age of autoloaders?

In short, what is the appeal of the snub? Which are the best? What's the best caliber to get?

I won't be able to cover each and every version made, but will pass along that which I have learned through long-term use. I'll try to be objective as I can, but I'm sure some subjectivity will creep through. Please forgive an old man his transgressions!

While this piece will focus on double-action revolvers, it's probably a fair bet that the cut-down Colt Peacemaker was one of the first snubs used in this country. Sans an ejector system it was slower to reload than those having longer barrel lengths. This unfortunate description holds true with the 1 7/8" barrel snubs of today as well as those having 2 1/2 to 3" barrels, depending upon caliber. It is ironic that a last ditch panic backup or in some cases, primary defense arm would be somewhat diminished in rapid-reload capability, but such is the case. That does not mean that they cannot be reloaded quickly. It does mean that practice is essential.

Uninformed individuals have stated that the snub is "inaccurate." It is not, but that statement is. Mechanically, the snub-nose is generally capable of very good accuracy. The rub is in the gun's practical accuracy. They are more difficult to shoot well. The very things that make them convenient as easily concealed carry guns work against them in being able to make precise shots quickly. Short sight radius allows for more gross sighting errors. Reduced weight results in greater felt recoil, which can lead to flinching. Compact size can make for a less comfortable gun to hold. On the smaller examples of the gun, sights can be difficult to see. None of these characteristics aid the shooter in getting precise hits as easily as he or she might with another type handgun.

Let's take a look at some of the snub-nose revolvers frequently used today.

S&W J-Frames: In my opinion these are the ne plus ultra of the breed. There are more than a few versions of these little guns from which to choose. So far I have found no gun that suits me as well as one of these, but that comes with a caveat: I will not own one having the key lock. Though I have not heard of any locking up when being fired, I abhor the way these guns look and what that lock represents. Others will feel differently.

Though they can be had in scandium and other super lightweight materials, I do not recommend going lighter than the aluminum-frame "Airweight" series. The slight reduction in weight offered by the more modern J-frames (titanium) simply does not balance well with me when there are limitations on both allowable bullet weight as well as cleaning procedures that can harm them. The steel, stainless steel, and aluminum frame revolvers avoid all this.

I strongly prefer the Airweight J's. The steel guns are probably stronger and capable of a greater number of hot loads and have less felt-recoil, but I prefer the ease of pocket holster carry with the Airweight. I find the steel guns just a bit too heavy for such. Having said that, either will do and some very informed shooters I have known went with the heavier steel J-frames.

Model 36 Chief's Special: Introduced during the middle of the last century this is the one that started the S&W J-frame .38 Special "craze". This 5-shooter sired the rest of the Smith & Wesson J-frame flock. I strongly suspect it was much more popular than the less potent "Terrier" chambered in .38 S&W. Frequently said to have "2-inch" barrels, the actual length is 1 7/8". I've owned more than a few of these in both the standard 1 7/8" barrel to the 3" versions, both "skinny" and "heavy" barrel. Usually found with fixed sights, some versions have been offered with adjustable ones. The revolver was chambered for .38 Special, but could be had with square or round butt. Designated by different model numbers, essentially the same guns could be had in .22lr or .22 magnum. These usually bore "Kit Gun" somewhere in their descriptions.

Model 37 Airweight: This is an aluminum frame Chief's Special sporting the same external hammer, DA/SA capability, and 5-shot capacity. Like the Model 36, these could be had with steel parts blue and the aluminum frame dark anodized to match or nickel-plated all over. They too were available in round or square butt. These weigh in at about 15 ounces, about 5 ounces less than the Model 36.

Over the years I carried several Model 36 or 37 revolvers as a working police officer. Either worked fine inside the pocket of the old "tuffy jacket" worn by most uniformed officers, but I began to have fewer of the "heavy" snubs and more of the Airweights. These days all I own in J-frames are Airweights. Nestled in an ankle holster as a second or even third gun, they are barely noticeable in my experience.

Model 38 Bodyguard: This is just an Airweight with a hump back. It has a shroud as part of the frame that covers all but the tip of the hammer allowing for thumb cocking if desired. I have never seen one of these having a square butt.

The Model 638 is popular with folks wanting to be able to thumb cock the gun as an option but still have a hammer not prone to snagging.

I tried a few over the years and currently own one. It is the stainless version and is designated as a 638. The "6" denotes stainless steel for the non-aluminum parts. The aluminum frame is anodized a light silver color to better match the stainless steel parts. I have no real complaints with these guns, but do find that they gather lint from pocket carry pretty rapidly in the shroud area behind and on both sides of the hammer. I have never seen this jam one. I've never seen one jammed with a dime wedged between the hammer and the shroud, but do recommend the use of a pocket holster in a pocket in which only the holstered gun is carried. While I carried one of these for about a year, I most often carried a Model 37 with the hammer spur removed.

Over 25 years later, I've changed my preference in J-frame S&W revolvers:

S&W Model 642: I hate the looks of stainless steel and originally began carrying a Model 042, a blue Airweight having the internal hammer. The 042 is essentially a 442 (the common blue version of this Airweight). It was originally intended for a run of 642's. In these early production days the frame color couldn't be matched good enough for S&W and the frames were to be scraped. Someone came up with the idea of stamping a "0" over the "6" and simply dark anodizing them for use with the blue versions. I carried it in a pocket for several years. Wear is inevitable, but summers here in Texas are hot. Sweating through my pants and even the pocket holster sometimes, fighting rust became a daily issue. I succumbed and bought the stainless version.

This Model 042 was my primary carry gun for several years. It has since been replaced but still sees some carry and range use.

The 042 and my 442 have different finishes. The former has the slick anodized finish while the latter has more of a matte finish. Both of these have the shorter version of the J than that currently used. It popped up when S&W began offering .357 magnums in the small frame. All of the .38 Special J-frames use the "long" J-frame now. It is sometimes called the "magnum J-frame".

The Model 642 is my current "all the time" gun. Practice is essential. The ejector rod must be used forcefully to completely eject fired hulls.

So far I have not found a pocket gun that suits me better than the S&W Model 642. It remains my pick of the litter in this 15-oz. snub.

Colt Snubs: I could never really warm up to these little things. I owned a few of the all-steel Detective Specials, Colt's competition to the Chief's Special. Slightly larger, they did offer 6 shots rather than 5. They shot well enough for me, but I could never get used to the trigger-stacking inherent in the design. Currently I own one like-new Colt Agent. This is an aluminum-framed 6-shot Detective Special with a slightly shortened grip. I shoot the thing now and again, but mainly have it just as a representative of police "plain clothes" guns from the past. I never owned the Cobra, which was the lightweight Detective Special w/o, the abbreviated grip of the Agent. These can be carried concealed nearly as easily as the S&W J-frames. I find the sights on the Colts better and easier to pick up at speed. More recent Smith & Wesson's have thicker front sights, but they still do not match the Colts in my opinion.

Being but little larger than the S&W J-frame, the Colt Agent provides 6 shots between loading.

Ruger SP101: Offered in several versions, I most often saw and shot the 2 1/4" barrel version sporting fixed sights. I've not shot one in other than .357 magnum. I don't have the weight, but this fairly compact little 5-shooter is all stainless and fairly heavy for size. I see it as a belt gun. The fixed sight version has very useable sights out of the box and they've been pretty well "on" in my experience. I believe them to be more durable for loads of magnum shooting than are the J-frame S&W three-fifty-seven's. In the short barrel-length, this little thing suffers a lack of full case extraction as do the rest unless the ejector rod is vigorously depressed.

The SP101 is a durable, compact revolver for concealed carry using a belt holster be it IWB or out. It probably won't have as smooth a double-action as the S&W, but the ones I have shot have been extremely "decent". They can be had with or without a spur hammer. The SP101 has proven itself a dependable snub in my admittedly limited experience with them. I would choose this gun over the S&W J-frame if the bulk of my shooting anticipated magnum usage. If staying with .38 Special, I opt for the S&W Airweight's.

The SP101 is a tough little critter capable of 5 shots of .357 before reloading.

Larger Snubs: So far we've looked at a few of the smaller examples of the breed. Let's take a look at the larger K-frame Smith & Wesson snubs as well as the GP100 from Ruger.

S&W Model 10: Whether in 2" or 4" barrel lengths, these have been favorites of mine over the years. These .38 Specials have served in police (and military) holsters for decades, not to mention service as home defense guns for millions of Americans. I carried a 4" Model 10 for a few years in uniform before switching to another K-frame, the Model 19 .357 magnum. The Model 10 2" snub filled more than a few detectives' holsters in years past and I observed about as many square butts as round in this role. These 6-shot revolvers have flat mainsprings rather than the J-frame's coiled ones and are capable of extremely smooth double-actions and "hair trigger" single-actions. At the current time, S&W no longer offers the blue or nickel 2" Model 10. It can still be had in the 4" version, but the snub substitute is the stainless Model 64. It weighs between 30 and 31 ounces and can be had in both 2 and 4" barrel lengths. I may be wrong, but I think some Model 10's and 64's were offered with 3" tubes. Long discontinued, Smith & Wesson offered the Model 12. This was merely an aluminum-framed Model 10. Some versions have a slightly thinner frame and grips for the steel version will have about an eighth-inch gap. Not made of as tough of alloys as more recent S&W revolvers, I do not suggest using +P in these. I've personally seen two with cracked frames. One had fired exactly 3 rounds of the old Winchester .38 Special Armor Piercing factory ammunition. The other managed 12 shots before suffering the same fate. The cracks occurred in the frames below the barrels. The Model 12 revolvers I've seen were either the 2" round butt snub or 4" square butt.

This old Model 10 snub once filled more than a few lawmen's holsters. They're still favorite shooters of mine.

The Model 10 remains one of the easiest snubs to shoot well in my experience. While the barrel is still short, the increase in frame size results in a longer sight radius. Combine that with more visible fixed sights and a smoother trigger pull and you have a snub capable of more easily putting bullet holes where you want them.

These guns were and are popular today. Model 10's are not so easily found used as they were in year's past. It seems that people who have them are keeping them. I think I just named one reason why in the proceeding paragraph.

Yet this K-frame snub makes no sense! The four-inch version is much easier to hit with having but a 2" longer barrel. It's been argued that an advantage to the snub is that its shorter barrel makes it harder to be lost in a struggle with an attacker. The short barrel cannot so easily be grabbed and used as a lever to torque the gun from the shooter's hand. I reckon that's true enough, but I suspect that part of it has to do with "snub-nose means defense" as well as the panache of the old things. Other than when just sticking in the waistband sans holster, I find the 4" no harder to tote than the snub.

I still like old Model 10 snubs. Right now I have but one. It's a '60's vintage square butt that's had the hammer spur removed. It appears to be "all handle" but like the Colt Agent, I enjoy shooting it now and again and remembering an era now passed, one of which it was a representative.

I would not be afraid to use this gun for serious purposes.

S&W Model 15 Combat Masterpiece: Some have called this the "overlooked" snub and I agree. A K-frame Model 10 having S&W adjustable sights and a square butt is a decent description. Not as popular as the Model 10 in my experience, I did know a couple of detectives who frequently toted them. The ones I fired in snub version shot no better or worse than the fixed sight Model 10, but the adjustable sights allowed for a very precise POI vs. POA. The stainless counterpart to the Model 15 is the Model 67. I don't think it's available in snub-length barrels today.

S&W Model 13 & Model 65: These are merely Model 10's capable of handling the .357 cartridge in addition to .38 Special. I enjoyed and used both of these over the years in the 4" heavy barrel version. For this article we'll concern ourselves with the 3" guns. I've never seen one with other than the round butt in the latter barrel length. These were very popular with detectives and several FBI agents I met carried them.

These are capable of better ballistic performance than the snubs having barrels in the 2" range, but they are belt guns and just not well-suited for pocket carry due to barrel length and weight. With a slightly reduced trigger pull and a shrouded ejector rod, the Model 65 is also available as the Model 65 Lady Smith. I like the shroud and think this would be my choice in 3" S&W .357 magnums. (I'd have to get the "Lady Smith" inscription removed though!)

S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum 2 1/2" barrel: This gun was very, very popular with plainclothes officers. It offered a K-frame magnum with the adjustable sight capability of easily matching POA to POI. It remains one of the classiest looking defense guns in my subjective view. Until you move into the 140 to 158-gr. bullet weight, it actually provides terminal ballistics comparable with the 9mm +P from service size automatics.

In this or any other K-frame, I'd limit my use of 125-gr. full-house magnum loads. The forcing cone in these guns has a flat at the 6 O'clock position and it's reported that heavy use can result in its cracking. This has not been a problem when using mid-range magnums such as Remington 125-gr. Golden Saber.

Mine is loaded with 145-gr. Winchester Silvertips.

The S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum snub remains a favorite of mine for belt carry. Its popularity has diminished somewhat now that more compact and powerful autoloaders are plentiful.

In the J and K-frame size revolvers, full-house magnums are "noticeable" when fired, especially in the smaller J-frame. Some find them just too much even in the mid-size K and opt for a hot .38 Special instead. While the .38 may not have the same ballistic delivery as the magnum, the ability to be better placed due to lower recoil can still result in some pretty decent terminal effectiveness. For those willing to work at it and practice a bit, the K-frame can be handled effectively with magnums.

S&W offers a stainless steel version of the Combat Magnum designated as the Model 66. It is the same revolver excepting for the nature of its steel and many coming with a plastic orange insert in the serrated ramp front sight. A few were offered with 3" barrels for a particular federal agency but most of those having less than 4" barrels were the 2 1/2" versions. I've only seen the 2 1/2" guns offered with round butts.

S&W Model 686: The snub version of this L-frame weighs in at about 35 ounces with a 2 1/2" barrel. A bit larger than the K-frame, this series of revolver is intended for constant use of full-house magnum ammunition. It is definitely a belt gun and it's definitely a shooter. I've never shot either the 2 1/2 or 4" versions that did not group exceptionally well. Recoil is less than with the K-frame. I do not own an L-frame S&W. I prefer the J, K, and old N-frame guns. That does not mean that these are not extremely popular with revolver shooters. I think the 4" version is more popular than the 2 1/2".

There are S&W large N-frame's available in snub barrel lengths, but I really believe that in this size revolver the snub makes no sense in less than a 4" tube. The rest of the gun is large enough to preclude pocket carry and the abbreviated tubes offer only reduced ballistics and shorter sight radiuses in my view.

Exceptions might be the older versions of the S&W Model 625 in .45 ACP that had 3" barrels as well as the Model 27 with its classic 3 1/2" tube. I see no use in the N-frame Model 625 made of stainless and scandium, but sporting only a 2" barrel. With the large frame I truly believe a bit more barrel hurts nothing and is more appropriate for that size gun. This is purely subjective and evidently some folks do like the things as I'm told they're selling. I have only shot the Model 625 in the 4" and 5" barrel lengths. While I have a 5" that is not going anywhere but to the range now and again, I have no desire for one having less barrel length. The Model 27 remains a classic and a favorite. I don't think there's a "meaner" looking revolver made. To me it exudes capability, but it's only a half-inch shorter than the uniform standard 4" revolver. They can be carried concealed, but there are more comfortable choices in my estimation.

Ruger GP100: My limited experience with these has been but a few guns in both 3 and 4" barrel lengths. They are built like tanks and I like the fixed sight picture better than that offered by the fixed sight K-frame Smith & Wesson's. Ruger refers to this as a "medium" size frame. I think it's tougher than the medium size S&W and more closely approximates the L-frame. I have never seen one out of the box with an action to quite match that of the S&W, but triggersmiths can make them mighty nice.

This GP100 has just fired approximately 100 rounds of .357 magnum handloads. It has been a very good performing revolver.

I own but one GP100. It is the 3" stainless short shroud/short butt version and it is a revolver that has pleasantly exceeded expectations. I like its factory grip and find it easier to control than the S&W Model 19 or 65 when shooting full-house .357's. I bought this one as a substitute for a clean, used Model 65 3". I'm no longer looking for one as the GP has proven itself a most capable performer. Its "serious load" is also Winchester 145-gr. Silvertip.

Power Levels Between .357 & .38 Snubs: Some say there's no real difference in power between these two. I have not found this to be true. The .357 simply packs more than does the .38 Special with most loads.

If interested in more, it can be found here:

Comparing the Snub .38 to Its Competitors: The snub .38 faces competition from small autos in .380 ACP and 9x18mm Makarov. I believe the .38 Special +P to be the better load. I also find it to be the hardest to shoot well when using hot, defensive loads. It is still my first choice between the other two rounds mentioned. In all but one loading that I've seen, the 9mm exhibits superior performance compared to the snub .38 Special.

Here are some observations on this:

Conclusion: What is the "best" snub and in what caliber? Why choose a snub revolver when more potent compact automatics holding more shots can be easily concealed?

I think the best answer comes in two parts:

· The best snub for pocket carry, and

· The best snub for belt carry

I think the best snub for 24/7 carry using a pocket holster is the S&W Model 642. I won't argue with anyone opting for the blue version, but the 642 is the one best meeting my needs. I live in a low crime area and am not faced with much threat from gangs. My most likely scenario would involve one or two aggressors. In my state (Texas) I can carry different concealed handguns. On occasion, I do carry something more potent, but the Model 642 is still on me. Caliber of course remains .38 Special.

For a short-barreled belt gun, I'd go with either the S&W Model 65 LS or the 3" Ruger GP100. Both of these have shrouds and both have very good fixed sights. The Ruger sight picture is superior to the S&W in my opinion, but the S&W normally has the better DA out of the box. With these medium frame revolvers, .357 is just right and still allows the use of hot .38's if desired.

I didn't get into Taurus revolvers as my experience with them has been limited to less than a half-dozen revolvers in calibers ranging from .22 magnum to .44 Special. Results have been mixed with the Model 85 .38 Specials I tried. Some worked fine and others went out of time, broke firing pins, or just locked up. I have not bought a Taurus revolver in several years. I cannot accurately comment on the quality…or lack of it in current revolvers. Frankly, I'll stick with either Ruger or S&W.

My only Taurus snub at the moment is this Model 432, a fixed sight .44 Special.

Assuming that you have a snub or have picked one for protection, there are some things that must be addressed when using such guns for serious purposes.

· We must be able to get the hits. That means that we have to be able to shoot the gun well at speed and this means practice. Some say, "these are for carrying a lot and shooting a little." I disagree. The snub .38 remains a relatively difficult handgun to shoot well and carrying "lots" and shooting "little" does absolutely nothing to enhance competence. Not being capable and just carrying it because it's comforting is not enough if push comes to very hard shove. We need to practice with these guns. I try and shoot mine at least 50 rounds every two weeks at the minimum. I generally shoot mine mostly at about 10 yards, but throw in some one-handed shooting at very close range as well as more deliberate aimed fire out to 15 or 20 yards. Include two-hand, strong-hand, and weak-hand practice. Try to make each shot mean something and learn from it. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice does. Include reloading drills. Be sure you can eject fired cases. This requires practice with the little guns.

· Routinely carry at least one extra reload. I've used both speed strips and speed loaders. My preference is for the HKS speed loader. It doesn't present telltale bulging except in tight-fitting pants like jeans and I find it considerably quicker than the speed strip.

A snub in the hand is worth more than two .45's at home.

The .38 snub is not going to be as potent as a super hot .357 from a 4" barrel nor as easy to deal with multiple opponents as a slick 1911. It cannot match the "firepower" of a high capacity 9mm or even with the neutered 10-round limit! What it can do is be unobtrusive yet instantly ready for close combat, particularly if using pocket carry. One can shuffle along a dark parking lot with the strong hand unobtrusively grasping the butt of the snub. To the rest of the world it appears that some old guy is walking along with his hands in his pocket. Being able to instantly produce a reliable weapon of at least adequate power coupled with the ability to place the shots might mean more than having a "better" performer on the belt if surprised. (Nothing says we cannot have both.) It is certainly better than a .44 magnum at home.

To be able to count on the .38 snub for serious matters, shot placement must be quick and accurate. Practice is essential.

Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch says that guns are not meant to be comfortable. They're meant to be comforting and there is truth in his statement, but realistically it needs to be balanced against the perceived threat level. The gun that is convenient to carry more likely will be than one that's a chore to tote unless the

threat level warrants it. Most of us have insurance policies on our homes, cars, and person. I consider the 24/7 gun another form of insurance and prefer to have my "policy" in effect all the time. The snub .38 allows this. Sometimes I have a more potent "policy" in force, but the little gun is always present. It rides daily in a Galco pocket holster in my right front pants pocket. It's just as much at home in the pocket of a robe on cool winter evenings and it takes up hardly any space when covered by a towel when I'm soaking in the tub. It is comfortable because I've practiced lots with it and comforting because it is there.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Have No Faith in Your Defensive Handgun Caliber or Load!

(Or Why I don't Get Involved in "Caliber Wars.")

By Stephen Camp

Very common in gun shop discussions, shooting magazines and books, as well as on the Internet are incessant discussions on "which caliber is the best". Also included will be questions and opinions on which load leads the pack for a given caliber. Some walk with extreme confidence as they have the latest version of this or that handgun and it's loaded with "nuclear" ammunition. Besides, whatever "expert" they subscribe to has proclaimed that this combination is "best", citing gelatin testing or whatever. Others look up "street stats" on how well or poorly a certain caliber/load has worked. Some simply trust the gun shop person's decision on ammunition selection and walk out secure in the "fact" that they are now capable of protecting themselves with the "best' ammunition money can buy.

I do believe that certain calibers and loads offer some advantages over others, but don't really think it will always be a visibly distinct advantage and not the difference between daylight and dark that some would have us assume. (I'm speaking here of calibers ranging from .38 Special from a 4" barrel, 9mm, and up. These have sufficient power to offer both adequate penetration and expansion from what I've seen.)

This .44 Special Corbon expanded nicely using a Hornady 180-gr. XTP. It is not so aggressive an expander as some JHP bullets. Corbon no longer uses this bullet. Some people equate "stopping power" or their pet caliber's effectiveness solely with expansion measurements. Is this the only factor to consider? Is this bullet actually less effective than one that expands to a wider diameter? Maybe…under some circumstances, but perhaps not in others.

Some have concerns about serious lack of penetration. Opinions vary as to how much is enough. Some subscribe to the "two holes is better than one" theory and go with the deepest penetrators they can find, often .45 ball. Others want expansion but at least (10, 12, 14", pick a number) of penetration. Very heated debates occur over such differences of opinion.

Here are my thoughts on the matter and I claim zero status as any kind of "expert". Neither am I a physician or pathologist. I am a shooter and a hunter. Take it for what it's worth and then you decide if there's any merit in what follows.

Over-Penetration: It is a concern, but one that is overrated in my view. So many shots fired in gunfights completely miss the intended recipients that I believe getting the hits in the first place should take higher priority. With FMJ or non-expanding loads, there certainly is the possibility of a bullet creating a through-and-through wound and possessing enough residual velocity to injure or kill another person. With most JHP's or expanding loads, should the target's torso actually be completely penetrated, the expanded bullet will have lost considerable speed. It will probably be less dangerous, but the heavy magnums like .41 and .44 could be exceptions. It is not unusual for pathologists to find expanded bullets inside the clothing near the exit wound when preparing the body for autopsy.

In his book, Gunshot Wounds, Dr. Vincent J.M. Di Maio reports that a 38-caliber LRN bullet requires at least 191 ft/sec to penetrate skin. He finds that the same bullet needs an average velocity of 280 ft/sec to penetrate two layers of skin and 6" of muscle as this is the average velocity lost when such penetration's occurred during testing. It seems reasonable that if we're firing a 9mm, .38, or .357 expanding bullet that doesn't expand, but still has around 300 ft/sec or so upon exiting the felon's torso, it is possible for it to injure an innocent bystander.

In the field, I witnessed a friend shooting a 35-lb. javelina with 230-gr. .45 ACP Ranger SXT from a 5" 1911. At his shot, the animal collapsed and sand flew behind it. Another buddy and I found the fully expanded bullet lying on top of the sand. This animal was shot broadside and is not as thick as an average adult human male. I've no doubt that had the expanded forty-five smacked another person that it would have raised a whelp, but I do not believe it would have injured anyone.

An officer under my command was required to shoot a felon. He hit the bad guy in the heart with a 9mm 124-gr. Hydrashok +P+. The bullet did not exit the body. Another officer I know was shot with a .40 180-gr. JHP from a Glock 22. It remained in his torso until surgically removed. Yet another officer was hit from the side with a .380 ACP 95-gr. FMJ. This bullet precipitated a gunfight. The bullet penetrated an arm, entered and traversed the heart/lung region, exited between the ribs and fully penetrated his other arm!

Believe it or not, the bullet traveled along the inside of his ribcage and did not damage anything vital! At the scene neither he nor I knew that and it was a pretty tense time waiting on the ambulance! I have no idea what residual velocity the 95-gr. bullet retained, but I'll bet it was not much. Upon being shot, he returned a shot from his 9mm Hi Power, but missed the felon! Which bullet was more dangerous to other folks in the area? Obviously, the round that missed its intended target was.

It certainly remains possible that over-penetration can occur, but with expanding ammo I'm not sure how likely it is to be capable of inflicting serious bodily injury. Again, the FMJ or solid bullets will almost certainly be the worst offenders in this regard. Gunscribe, Massad Ayoob, once wrote that about seven out of ten .45 ACP 230-gr. FMJ bullets exit the average adult male torso. I suspect that 9mm FMJ in 115 to 124-gr. exits more often.

If an expanding bullet fails to fully mushroom, it should be slowed down and present less threat of over- penetration. Di Maio notes that in penetrating two layers of skin and 6" of muscle, the 158-gr. LRN bullet lost velocity in the range of 214 to 337 ft/sec. The same weight/caliber SJHP lost 264 to 335 ft/sec. (Gunshot Wounds. Di Maio. Elsevier Science Publishing Company. P215.) He attributes this to the blunter shape of the expanding bullet when expansion does not occur.

Unless our target is naked or not wearing a shirt, coat, etc, there remains a chance that a bullet that does fully penetrate his torso might be captured in his clothing. Again, I think misses are far greater threats than over-penetrating bullets in most instances.

Misses are more dangerous to innocent bystanders than over-penetration in my view. I believe that we'd see better "stops" with better placement and present less danger to those around us at the same time.

If you use .41 or .44 Magnum, I do think the chance of dangerous over penetration exists as quite a few of the expanding bullets are designed for deeper penetration for hunting applications. I'd look at defense loads from Corbon or Winchester's Silvertip JHP's in these calibers. I understand that Speer has just introduced a Gold Dot hollow point for the forty-one, but have no information on how it penetrates.

Expanding ammunition in .38, .357, 9mm, .40, or .45 ACP is usually designed for either rapid or "controlled" expansion and geared toward defensive use rather than deeper penetration which is desirable in hunting rounds. Of these more commonly used calibers, the .357 does have some loads specifically tweaked to penetrate deeply as it is more frequently found in the hunting fields than 9mm, etc. I would avoid the use of JSP ammo in the defensive handgun for two reasons:

1. It frequently does not expand.

2. It will probably completely penetrate a human torso.

Adequate Penetration: It has been said that we want expansion but we need penetration. I believe this. The rhubarb seems to be over what is "adequate." At the same time, I do not believe that loads failing to achieve whatever is deemed adequate are necessarily inadequate or doomed to failure. Opinions range from 9 to 10" to the more popular view of 12 to 14". Some want no less than 16".

Let's take a look at this issue.

This 9mm Corbon 115-gr. JHP +P routinely penetrates approximately 9 to 10" in 10% ballistic gelatin. It is deemed a "failure" by some in the "stopping power" community. Is it? Others report it as an effective round with better street results than others which penetrate considerably deeper. Who is right?

The mandate for deeper penetration stems from those believing that the only damage done by a handgun bullet comes from the permanent crush cavity. In other words, the bullet damages only that which it contacts. They cite that at velocities below about 2000 ft/sec, the temporary stretch cavity's creation is neither violent nor large enough to cause any significant damage.

For the most part, I believe that this is true but do not immediately accept that the temporary cavity is meaningless. I believe that if two bullets penetrate the same distance and expand to the same diameters, the one producing the larger temporary cavity is probably more effective. The rounds may very well be equivalent if striking an area in which organs are elastic, but might have a bit of an edge if striking near an inelastic organ and cause some damage even without contacting it. The destruction from the temporary cavity would not compare with that from higher velocity rifle ammunition.

The 147-gr. 9mm Gold Dot on the left would be favored over the 115-gr. +P JHP shown on the right. The heavier bullet creates a smaller temporary cavity and expanded to smaller diameter than the faster 115-gr.

It also penetrates deeper. Which is best? One penetrates more deeply, but produces smaller overall diameter. This results in a smaller diameter crush cavity.

My personal preference is for ammunition that expands and penetrates approximately 12 to 14" in 10% ballistic gelatin. Having used such ammunition in hunting, I've seen pretty consistent results and made clean one-shot kills. Certainly the shooting of various wild animals does not correlate exactly with defensive handgun use, but I believe there is some correlation. I do not believe that the mechanism of collapse in a living, non-homogeneous, organism can be entirely predicted in the laboratory using gelatin.

At the same time, the collection of data on what has or has not "worked" is not the full answer, either. The reason is that we cannot ascertain how many of the "one shot stops" were for psychological vs. physical reasons. Did the bad guy stop because he had to or because he wanted to?

Ammunition penetrating less than 12" is probably quite effective when shooting aggressors head-on and when no intermediate barriers exist. It might not be so effective if one's required to shoot his opponent from the side where an arm is likely to be hit and more penetration's required to get to vitals like the heart or aorta.

I settled on the 12 to 14" range as I think this is the better compromise between a load that might penetrate too little vs. one that regularly punches 16" and probably exit the average human torso. Were I extremely concerned with over-penetration issues, I'd pick a rapidly expanding JHP that does 9 to 11" rather than some of the pre-fragmented bullets. Bullets penetrating 12 to 14" should suffice in most scenarios whether shooting is face-to-face or from more oblique angles without excessive penetration. I am willing to accept a bit smaller expanded bullet diameter to achieve this.

Realistic Expectations: I think this is where we go astray; we expect way too much from our handguns. Hunters have known that seemingly equivalent shots on similar animals can produce very differing results. One may instantly drop while the other runs, yet both received lethal hits to the heart/lung area. This is so often seen that's it's accepted. Deadly force scenarios for most of us are much rarer and there are folks interested in self-protection that have no experience in hunting; they have never seen anything shot. They have never seen a deer with a shredded heart run a hundred yards. They have seen shoot-em'-ups on television and movies. Many of us do not have the proper "respect" for what adrenaline can do and most have not witnessed the damage a person on PCP can withstand and just keep going!

If a 150 pound deer can be shot through the heart with a .30-06 180-gr. expanding bullet at 2700 ft/sec and keep moving, should we expect that a 200 pound human hit with a 180-gr. expanding forty-caliber bullet at 975 ft/sec to be instantly incapacitated?

I believe it's an unrealistic expectation to assume that any defensive pistol cartridge will deck a human being as though struck by lightning. It will happen on some occasions, but not all and probably not the majority.

Many consider the .45 ACP 1911 a premier defensive handgun. I sure do, but only if one can shoot it accurately. This requires practice. There is truth in the statement that a hit with a .22 is better than a miss with a .44! If you don't shoot the .45 as well as another caliber or if you don't feel comfortable in carrying cocked-and-locked, a different caliber and action are legitimately called for.

The high-velocity rifle bullet doesn't always stop the game animal even with good hits, but normally the animal will not run as far before dying as when hit with an arrow. Even though hemorrhaging severely, they can go surprising distances if too quickly pursued. Adrenaline and the will to live push them beyond what many consider possible.

I submit that pistol bullet impact is more akin to the effect of the arrow than the centerfire rifle bullet.

In a life-and-death struggle, seconds seem like hours. The good guy has been forced to shoot the felon, but nothing happens despite a good hit. He shoots again and again and again and finally the bad guy drops. The actual time frame may have been but a few seconds, yet to our survivor, his handgun/load seemed not up to the job. None of them are in my opinion. Some are better than others, but none smite like the Hammer of Thor and it's simply not realistic to expect it. It could also be dangerous. Expect a failure and be mentally prepared to deal with it. Expect that multiple shots may be necessary to actually stop a determined aggressor.

Increasing "Stopping Power": Easy to say, but harder to do under stress is getting the hits. The hunter doesn't simply shoot at the animal's body; he strikes at the vitals. I submit that we must do the same thing, but have very compressed time frames in which to do it! Some say this is not possible and is an unrealistic expectation. I say "it is what it is" and that placement is power. There are torso hits and there are good torso hits. A bullet through but a lung gives the aggressor a case of walking pneumonia and is not a sure stopper unless he is devastated mentally. I doubt that any of us want to count on that. A bullet that cuts the aorta or pierces the heart is quite something else. It may not instantly stop him, but the clock is ticking and his conscious time will usually be measured in seconds rather than minutes.

Pick the load/caliber/handgun you want, but without the ability to place your shots at speed, do not expect it to "stop" quickly. Even if you can make quick, accurate shots do not place too much faith in your gun, caliber, or load. You can do everything right and still not instantly stop your attacker. The handgun simply doesn't have enough power. We use them because they are convenient and able to be with us when attack is not expected.

Firearm trainers have indicated that the long arm is much to be preferred to the handgun for defense. They're not speaking only with regard to the ease of accuracy, but to the increase in power. Unless the brain or central nervous system's damaged, we need the rifle to do what we expect the pistol to.

To increase your odds, I suggest the following:

1. Select a handgun in at least .38 Special or 9mm and base that selection on reliability and how well you personally shoot that weapon, be it revolver or semiauto. Use one that you are comfortable with. It doesn't matter if it's double-action S&W or a Browning single-action automatic. What matters is if you can get the hits with it and are comfortable using it.

2. Learn what you can from serious researchers in bullet performance and make your decision on a carry load, but be sure that it is reliable in your handgun.

3. Practice.

4. Practice.

5. Practice.

The "practice" part is too often neglected. Having the "best" gun and ammo is not nearly all of the solution. Competence with it is essential. Practice routinely and if necessary get training.

If what works for you is a double-action revolver, go for it. If you shoot .38's better than .357's, use that caliber. Hits count. Don't be as concerned with having "only" six shots vs. 8 or more. I think we run out of time before ammunition. A good hit or two with the .38 is better than a poor hit or miss with a .45 or .357 SIG, etc.

If you shoot a forty-five as well as a 9mm, go with the former, but do not expect it to be vastly superior to the nine. With equivalent hits, I doubt that much if any difference will be seen. If one does better with the 9mm, I'd cast my lot with it. Once you have a caliber capable of adequate penetration and expansion, placement is power.

Monday, August 21, 2006

MUST READ - Your Country in Doubt

Today's date is August 21, 2006
Current Issue: Volume 6, Issue 5
Toward a North American Union
By Patrick Wood on August 20, 2006
Volume 6, Issue 5

By: Patrick Wood
Editor, The August Review

Good evening, everybody. Tonight, an astonishing proposal to expand our borders to incorporate Mexico and Canada and simultaneously further diminish U.S. sovereignty. Have our political elites gone mad?
Lou Dobbs on Lou Dobbs Tonight, June 9, 2005


The global elite, through the direct operations of President George Bush and his Administration, are creating a North American Union that will combine Canada, Mexico and the U.S. into a superstate called the North American Union (NAU). The NAU is roughly patterned after the European Union (EU). There is no political or economic mandate for creating the NAU, and unofficial polls of a cross-section of Americans indicate that they are overwhelmingly against this end-run around national sovereignty.

To answer Lou Dobbs, "No, the political elites have not gone mad", they just want you to think that they have.

The reality over appearance is easily cleared up with a proper historical perspective of the last 35 years of political and economic manipulation by the same elite who now bring us the NAU.

This paper will explore this history in order to give the reader a complete picture of the NAU, how it is made possible, who are the instigators of it, and where it is headed.

It is important to first understand that the impending birth of the NAU is a gestation of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, not the Congress. This is the topic of the first discussion below.

The next topic will examine the global elite's strategy of subverting the power to negotiate trade treaties and international law with foreign countries from the Congress to the President. Without this power, NAFTA and the NAU would never have been possible.

After this, we will show that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the immediate genetic and necessary ancestor of the NAU.

Lastly, throughout this report the NAU perpetrators and their tactics will be brought into the limelight so as to affix blame where it properly belongs. The reader will be struck with the fact that the same people are at the center of each of these subjects.

The Best Government that Money Can Buy

Modern day globalization was launched with the creation of the Trilateral Commission in 1973 by David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Its membership consisted of just over 300 powerful elitists from north America, Europe and Japan. The clearly stated goal of the Trilateral Commission was to foster a "New International Economic Order" that would supplant the historical economic order.

In spite of its non-political rhetoric, The Trilateral Commission nonetheless established a headlock on the Executive Branch of the U.S. government with the election of James Earl Carter in 1976. Hand-picked as a presidential candidate by Brzezinski, Carter was personally tutored in globalist philosophy and foreign policy by Brzezinski himself. Subsequently, when Carter was sworn in as President, he appointed no less than one-third of the U.S. members of the Commission to his Cabinet and other high-level posts in his Administration. Such was the genesis of the Trilateral Commission's domination of the Executive Branch that continues to the present day.

With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Trilateral Commission member George H.W. Bush was introduced to the White House as vice-president. Through Bush's influence, Reagan continued to select key appointments from the ranks of the Trilateral Commission.

In 1988, George H.W. Bush began his four-year term as President. He was followed by fellow Trilateral Commission member William Jefferson Clinton, who served for 8 years as President and appointed fourteen fellow Trilateral members to his Administration.

The election of George W. Bush in 2000 should be no surprise. Although Bush was not a member of the Trilateral Commission, his vice-president Dick Cheney is. In addition, Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne, is also a member of the Commission in her own right.

The hegemony of the Trilateral Commission over the Executive Branch of the U.S. government is unmistakable. Critics argue that this scenario is merely circumstantial, that the most qualified political "talent" quite naturally tends to belong to groups like the Trilateral Commission in the first place. Under examination, such explanations are quite hollow.

Why would the Trilateral Commission seek to dominate the Executive Branch? Quite simply - Power! That is, power to get things done directly which would have been impossible to accomplish through the only moderately successful lobbying efforts of the past; power to use the government as a bully platform to modify political behavior throughout the world.

Of course, the obvious corollary to this hegemony is that the influence and impact of the citizenry is virtually eliminated.

Modern Day "World Order" Strategy

After its founding in 1973, Trilateral Commission members wasted no time in launching their globalist strategy. But, what was that strategy?

Richard Gardner was an original member of the Trilateral Commission, and one of the prominent architects of the New International Economic Order. In 1974, his article "The Hard Road to World Order" appeared in Foreign Affairs magazine, published by the Council on Foreign Relations. With obvious disdain for anyone holding nationalistic political views, Gardner proclaimed,

"In short, the 'house of world order' would have to be built from the bottom up rather than from the top down. It will look like a great 'booming, buzzing confusion,' to use William James' famous description of reality, but an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault."1 [emphasis added]

In Gardner's view, using treaties and trade agreements (such as General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs or GATT) would bind and supercede constitutional law piece by piece, which is exactly what has happened. In addition, Gardner highly esteemed the role of the United Nations as a third-party legal body that could be used to erode the national sovereignty of individual nations.

Gardner concluded that "the case-by-case approach can produce some remarkable concessions of 'sovereignty' that could not be achieved on an across-the-board basis"2

Thus, the end result of such a process is that the U.S. would eventually capitulate its sovereignty to the newly proposed world order. It is not specifically mentioned who would control this new order, but it is quite obvious that the only 'players' around are Gardner and his Trilateral cronies.

It should again be noted that the formation of the Trilateral Commission by Rockefeller and Brzezinski was a response to the general frustration that globalism was going nowhere with the status quo prior to 1973. The "frontal assault " had failed, and a new approach was needed. It is a typical mindset of the global elite to view any roadblock as an opportunity to stage an "end-run" to get around it. Gardner confirms this frustration:

"Certainly the gap has never loomed larger between the objectives and the capacities of the international organizations that were supposed to get mankind on the road to world order. We are witnessing an outbreak of shortsighted nationalism that seems oblivious to the economic, political and moral implications of interdependence. Yet never has there been such widespread recognition by the world's intellectual leadership of the necessity for cooperation and planning on a truly global basis, beyond country, beyond region, especially beyond social system."3

The "world's intellectual leadership" apparently refers to academics such as Gardner and Brzezinski. Outside of the Trilateral Commission and the CFR, the vast majority of academic thought at the time was opposed to such notions as mentioned above.

Laying the Groundwork: Fast Track Authority

In Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, authority is granted to Congress "To regulate commerce with foreign nations." An end-run around this insurmountable obstacle would be to convince Congress to voluntarily turn over this power to the President. With such authority in hand, the President could freely negotiate treaties and other trade agreements with foreign nations, and then simply present them to Congress for a straight up or down vote, with no amendments possible. This again points out elite disdain for a Congress that is elected to be representative "of the people, by the people and for the people."

So, the first "Fast Track" legislation was passed by Congress in 1974, just one year after the founding of the Trilateral Commission. It was the same year that Nelson Rockefeller was confirmed as Vice President under President Gerald Ford, neither of whom were elected by the U.S. public. As Vice-President, Rockefeller was seated as the president of the U.S. Senate.

According to Public Citizen, the bottom line of Fast Track is that...

"...the White House signs and enters into trade deals before Congress ever votes on them. Fast Track also sets the parameters for congressional debate on any trade measure the President submits, requiring a vote within a certain time with no amendments and only 20 hours of debate."4

When an agreement is about to be given to Congress, high-powered lobbyists and political hammer-heads are called in to manipulate congressional hold-outs into voting for the legislation. (*See CAFTA Lobbying Efforts) With only 20 hours of debate allowed, there is little opportunity for public involvement.

Congress clearly understood the risk of giving up this power to the President, as evidenced by the fact that they put an automatic expiration date on it. Since the expiration of the original Fast Track, there been a very contentious trail of Fast Track renewal efforts. In 1996, President Clinton utterly failed to re-secure Fast Track after a bitter debate in Congress. After another contentious struggle in 2001/2002, President Bush was able to renew Fast Track for himself in the Trade Act of 2002, just in time to negotiate the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and insure its passage in 2005.

It is startling to realize that since 1974, Fast Track has not been used in the majority of trade agreements. Under the Clinton presidency, for instance, some 300 separate trade agreements were negotiated and passed normally by Congress, but only two of them were submitted under Fast Track: NAFTA and the GATT Uruguay Round. In fact, from 1974 to 1992, there were only three instances of Fast Track in action: GATT Tokyo Round, U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement and the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. Thus, NAFTA was only the fourth invocation of Fast Track.

Why the selectivity? Does it suggest a very narrow agenda? Most certainly. These trade and legal bamboozles didn't stand a ghost of a chance to be passed without it, and the global elite knew it. Fast Track was created as a very specific legislative tool to accomplish a very specific executive task -- namely, to "fast track" the creation of the "New International Economic Order" envisioned by the Trilateral Commission in 1973!

Article Six of the U.S. Constitution states that "all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Because international treaties supercede national law, Fast Track has allowed an enormous restructuring of U.S. law without resorting to a Constitutional convention (Ed. note: Both Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski called for a constitutional convention as early as 1972, which could clearly be viewed as a failed "frontal assault"). As a result, national sovereignty of the United States has been severely compromised - even if some Congressmen and Senators are aware of this, the general public is still generally ignorant.

North American Free Trade Agreement

NAFTA was negotiated under the executive leadership of Republican President George H.W. Bush. Carla Hills is widely credited as being the primary architect and negotiator of NAFTA. Both Bush and Hills were members of the Trilateral Commission!

NAFTA Initialling

NAFTA "Initialing" Ceremony: From left to right (standing)
President Salinas, President Bush, Prime Minister Mulroney
(Seated) Jaime Serra Puche, Carla Hills, Michael Wilson.

With Bush's first presidential term drawing to a close and Bush desiring political credit for NAFTA, an "initialing" ceremony of NAFTA was staged (so Bush could take credit for NAFTA) in October, 1992. Although very official looking, most Americans did not understand the difference between initialing and signing; at the time, Fast Track was not implemented and Bush did not have the authority to actually sign such a trade agreement.

Bush subsequently lost a publicly contentious presidential race to democrat William Jefferson Clinton, but they were hardly polar opposites on the issue of Free Trade and NAFTA: The reason? Clinton was also a seasoned member of the Trilateral Commission.

Immediately after inauguration, Clinton became the champion of NAFTA and orchestrated its passage with a massive Executive Branch effort.

Some Unexpected Resistance to NAFTA

Prior to the the 1992 election, there was a fly in the elite's ointment -- namely, presidential candidate and billionaire Ross Perot, founder and chairman of Electronic Data Systems (EDS). Perot was politically independent, vehemently anti-NAFTA and chose to make it a major campaign issue in 1991. In the end, the global elite would have to spend huge sums of money to overcome the negative publicity that Perot gave to NAFTA.

At the time, some political analysts believed that Perot, being a billionaire, was somehow put up to this task by the same elitists who were pushing NAFTA. Presumably, it would accumulate all the anti-globalists in one tidy group, thus allowing the elitists to determine who their true enemies really were. It's moot today whether he was sincere or not, but it did have that outcome, and Perot became a lightning rod for the whole issue of free trade.

Perot hit the nail squarely on the head in one of his nationally televised campaign speeches:

"If you're paying $12, $13, $14 an hour for factory workers and you can move your factory south of the border, pay a dollar an hour for labor, hire young -- let's assume you've been in business for a long time and you've got a mature workforce - pay a dollar an hour for your labor, have no health care - that's the most expensive single element in making a car - have no environmental controls, no pollution controls, and no retirement, and you didn't care about anything but making money, there will be a giant sucking sound going south..."5 [emphasis added]

Perot's message struck a nerve with millions of Americans, but it was unfortunately cut short when he entered into public campaign debates with fellow candidate Al Gore. Simply put, Gore ate Perot's lunch, not so much on the issues themselves, but on having superior debating skills. As organized as Perot was, he was no match for a politically and globally seasoned politician like Al Gore.

The Spin Machine gears up

To counter the public relations damage done by Perot, all the stops were pulled out as the NAFTA vote drew near. As proxy for the global elite, the President unleashed the biggest and most expensive spin machine the country had ever seen.

NAFTA emblem

Former Chrysler chairman Lee Iococca was enlisted for a multi-million dollar nationwide ad campaign that praised the benefits of NAFTA. The mantra, carried consistently throughout the many spin events: "Exports. Better Jobs. Better Wages", all of which have turned out to be empty promises

Bill Clinton invited three former presidents to the White House to stand with him in praise and affirmation NAFTA. This was the first time in U.S. history that four presidents had ever appeared together. Of the four, three were members of the Trilateral Commission: Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. Gerald Ford was not a Commissioner, but was nevertheless a confirmed globalist insider. After Ford's accession to the presidency in 1974, he promptly nominated Nelson Rockefeller (David Rockefeller's oldest brother) to fill the Vice Presidency that Ford had just vacated.

The academic community was enlisted when, according to Harper's Magazine publisher John MacArthur,

...there was a pro-NAFTA petition, organized and written my MIT's Rudiger Dornbusch, addressed to President Clinton and signed by all twelve living Nobel laureates in economics, and exercise in academic logrolling that was expertly converted by Bill Daley and the A-Team into PR gold on the front page of The New York Times on September 14. 'Dear Mr. President,' wrote the 283 signatories..."6

Lastly, prominent Trilateral Commission members themselves took to the press to promote NAFTA. For instance, on May 13, 1993, Commissioners Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance wrote a joint op-ed that stated:

"[NAFTA] would be the most constructive measure the United States would have undertaken in our hemisphere in this century."7

Two months later, Kissinger went further,

"It will represent the most creative step toward a new world order taken by any group of countries since the end of the Cold War, and the first step toward an even larger vision of a free-trade zone for the entire Western Hemisphere." [NAFTA] is not a conventional trade agreement, but the architecture of a new international system."8 [emphasis added]

It is hardly fanciful to think that Kissinger's hype sounds quite similar to the Trilateral Commission's original goal of creating a New International Economic Order.

NAFTA Signing
President Clinton signing NAFTA
On January 1, 1994, NAFTA became law: Under Fast Track procedures, the house had passed it by 234-200 (132 Republicans and 102 Democrats voting in favor) and the U.S. Senate passed it by 61-38.

That Giant Sucking Sound Going South

To understand the potential impact of the North American Union, one must understand the impact of NAFTA.

NAFTA promised greater exports, better jobs and better wages. Since 1994, just the opposite has occurred. The U.S. trade deficit soared and now approaches $1 trillion dollars per year; the U.S. has lost some 1.5 million jobs and real wages in both the U.S. and Mexico have fallen significantly.

Patrick Buchanan offered a simple example of NAFTA's deleterious effect on the U.S. economy:

"When NAFTA passed in 1993, we imported some 225,000 cars and trucks from Mexico, but exported about 500,000 vehicles to the world. In 2005, our exports to the world were still a shade under 500,000 vehicles, but our auto and truck imports from Mexico had tripled to 700,000 vehicles.

"As McMillion writes, Mexico now exports more cars and trucks to the United States than the United States exports to the whole world. A fine end, is it not, to the United States as "Auto Capital of the World"?

"What happened? Post-NAFTA, the Big Three just picked up a huge slice of our auto industry and moved it, and the jobs, to Mexico."9

Of course, this only represents the auto industry, but the same effect has been seen in many other industries as well. Buchanan correctly noted that NAFTA was never just a trade deal: Rather, it was an "enabling act - to enable U.S. corporations to dump their American workers and move their factories to Mexico." Indeed, this is the very spirit of all outsourcing of U.S. jobs and manufacturing facilities to overseas locations.

Respected economist Alan Tonelson, author of The Race to the Bottom, notes the smoke and mirrors that cloud what has really happened with exports:

"Most U.S. exports to Mexico before, during and since the (1994) peso crisis have been producer goods - in particular, parts and components sent by U.S. multinationals to their Mexican factories for assembly or for further processing. The vast majority of these, moreover, are reexported, and most get shipped right back to the United States for final sale. In fact, by most estimates, the United States buys 80 to 90 percent of all of Mexico's exports."10

Tonelson concludes that "the vast majority of American workers has experienced declining living standards, not just a handful of losers."

Mexican economist and scholar Miguel Pickard sums up Mexico's supposed benefits from NAFTA:

"Much praise has been heard for the few 'winners' that NAFTA has created, but little mention is made of the fact that the Mexican people are the deal's big 'losers.' Mexicans now face greater unemployment, poverty, and inequality than before the agreement began in 1994."11

In short, NAFTA has not been a friend to the citizenry of the United States or Mexico. Still, this is the backdrop against which the North American Union is being acted out. The globalization players and their promises have remained pretty much the same, both just as disingenuous as ever.

Prelude to the North American Union

Soon after NAFTA was passed in 1994, Dr. Robert A. Pastor began to push for a "deep integration" which NAFTA could not provide by itself. His dream was summed up in his book, Toward a North American Union, published in 2001. Unfortunately for Pastor, the book was released just a few days prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and thus received little attention from any sector.

However, Pastor had the right connections. He was invited to appear before the plenary session (held in Ontario, Canada) of the Trilateral Commission on November 1-2, 2002, to deliver a paper drawing directly on his book. His paper, "A Modest Proposal To the Trilateral Commission", made several recommendations:

  • "... the three governments should establish a North American Commission (NAC) to define an agenda for Summit meetings by the three leaders and to monitor the implementation of the decisions and plans.
  • A second institution should emerge from combining two bilateral legislative groups into a North American Parliamentary Group.
  • "The third institution should be a Permanent Court on Trade and Investment
  • "The three leaders should establish a North American Development Fund, whose priority would be to connect the U.S.-Mexican border region to central and southern Mexico.
  • The North American Commission should develop an integrated continental plan for transportation and infrastructure.
  • "...negotiate a Customs Union and a Common External Tariff
  • "Our three governments should sponsor Centers for North American Studies in each of our countries to help the people of all three understand the problems and the potential of North America and begin to think of themselves as North Americans"12 [emphasis added]

Pastor's choice of the words "Modest Proposal" are almost comical considering that he intends to reorganize the entire North American continent.

Nevertheless, the Trilateral Commission bought Pastor's proposals hook, line and sinker. Subsequently, it was Pastor who emerged as the U.S. vice-chairman of the CFR task force that was announced on October 15, 2004:

"The Council has launched an independent task force on the future of North America to examine regional integration since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement ten years ago... The task force will review five spheres of policy in which greater cooperation may be needed. They are: deepening economic integration; reducing the development gap; harmonizing regulatory policy; enhancing security; and devising better institutions to manage conflicts that inevitably arise from integration and exploit opportunities for collaboration."13

Independent task force, indeed! A total of twenty-three members were chosen from the three countries. Each country was represented by a member of the Trilateral Commission: Carla A. Hills (U.S.), Luis Robio (Mexico) and Wendy K. Dobson (Canada). Robert Pastor served as the U.S. vice-chairman.

This CFR task force was unique in that it focused on economic and political policies for all three countries, not just the U.S. The Task Force stated purpose was to

"... identify inadequacies in the current arrangements and suggest opportunities for deeper cooperation on areas of common interest. Unlike other Council-sponsored task forces, which focus primarily on U.S. policy, this initiative includes participants from Canada and Mexico, as well as the United States, and will make policy recommendations for all three countries."14 [Emphasis added]

Richard Haass, chairman of the CFR and long-time member of the Trilateral Commission, pointedly made the link between NAFTA and integration of Mexico, Canada and the U.S.:

"Ten years after NAFTA, it is obvious that the security and economic futures of Canada, Mexico, and the United States are intimately bound. But there is precious little thinking available as to where the three countries need to be in another ten years and how to get there. I am excited about the potential of this task force to help fill this void,"15

Haass' statement "there is precious little thinking available" underscores a repeatedly used elitist technique. That is, first decide what you want to do, and secondly, assign a flock of academics to justify your intended actions. (This is the crux of academic funding by NGO's such as Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Carnegie-Mellon, etc.) After the justification process is complete, the same elites that suggested it in the first place allow themselves to be drawn in as if they had no other logical choice but to play along with the "sound thinking" of the experts.

The task force met three times, once in each country. When the process was completed, it issued its results in May, 2005, in a paper titled "Building a North American Community" and subtitled "Report of the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America." Even the sub-title suggests that the "future of North America" is a fait accompli decided behind closed doors.

Some of the recommendations of the task force are:

  • "Adopt a common external tariff."
  • "Adopt a North American Approach to Regulation"
  • "Establish a common security perimeter by 2010."
  • "Establish a North American investment fund for infrastructure and human capital."
  • "Establish a permanent tribunal for North American dispute resolution."
  • "An annual North American Summit meeting" that would bring the heads-of-state together for the sake of public display of confidence.
  • "Establish minister-led working groups that will be required to report back within 90 days, and to meet regularly."
  • Create a "North American Advisory Council"
  • Create a "North American Inter-Parliamentary Group."16

Sound familiar? It should: Many of the recommendations are verbatim from Pastor's "modest" presentation to the Trilateral Commission mentioned above, or from his earlier book, Toward a North American Union.

SPP Summit
2006 SPP Summit in Cancun
Shortly after the task force report was issued, the heads of all three countries did indeed meet together for a summit in Waco, Texas on March 23, 2005. The specific result of the summit was the creation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPPNA). The joint press release stated

"We, the elected leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, have met in Texas to announce the establishment of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

"We will establish working parties led by our ministers and secretaries that will consult with stakeholders in our respective countries. These working parties will respond to the priorities of our people and our businesses, and will set specific, measurable, and achievable goals. They will outline concrete steps that our governments can take to meet these goals, and set dates that will ensure the continuous achievement of results.

"Within 90 days, ministers will present their initial report after which, the working parties will submit six-monthly reports. Because the Partnership will be an ongoing process of cooperation, new items will be added to the work agenda by mutual agreement as circumstances warrant."17

Once again, we see Pastor's North American Union ideology being continued, but this time as an outcome of a summit meeting of three heads-of-states. The question must be raised, "Who is really in charge of this process?"

Indeed, the three premiers returned to their respective countries and started their "working parties" to "consult with stakeholders." In the U.S., the "specific, measurable, and achievable goals" were only seen indirectly by the creation of a government website billed as "Security and Prosperity Partnetship of North America." ( The stakeholders are not mentioned my name, but it is clear that they are not the public of either of the three countries; most likely, they are the corporate interests represented by the members of the Trilateral Commission!

The second annual summit meeting took place on March 30-31, 2006, in Cancun, Mexico between Bush, Fox and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper. The Security and Prosperity Partnership agenda was summed up in a statement from Mexican president Vicente Fox:

"We touched upon fundamental items in that meeting. First of all, we carried out an evaluation meeting. Then we got information about the development of programs. And then we gave the necessary instructions for the works that should be carried out in the next period of work... We are not renegotiating what has been successful or open the Free Trade Agreement. It's going beyond the agreement, both for prosperity and security."18 [emphasis added]

Regulations instead of Treaties

It may not have occurred to the reader that the two SPP summits resulted in no signed agreements. This is not accidental nor a failure of the summit process. The so-called "deeper integration" of the three countries is being accomplished through a series of regulations and executive decrees that avoid citizen watchdogs and legislative oversight.19

In the U.S., the 2005 Cancun summit spawned some 20 different working groups that would deal with issues from immigration to security to harmonization of regulations, all under the auspices of the Security and Prosperity Partnership ( The SPP in the U.S. is officially placed under the Department of Commerce, headed by Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, but other Executive Branch agencies also have SPP components that report to Commerce.

After two years of massive effort, the names of the SPP working group members have not been released. The result of their work have also not been released. There is no congressional legislation or oversight of the SPP process.

The director of SPP, Geri Word, was contacted to ask why a cloud of secrecy is hanging over SPP. According to investigative journalist Jerome Corsi, Word replied

"We did not want to get the contact people of the working groups distracted by calls from the public." 20

This paternalistic attitude is a typical elitist mentality Their work (whatever they have dreamed up on their own) is too important to be distracted by the likes of pesky citizens or their elected legislators.

This elite change of tactics must not be understated: Regulations and Executive Orders have replaced Congressional legislation and pubic debate. There is no pretense of either. This is another Gardner-style "end-run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece."

Apparently, the Trilateral-dominated Bush administration believes that it has accumulated sufficient power to ram the NAU down the throat of the American People, whether they protest or not.

Robert A. Pastor: A Trilateral Commission Operative

As mentioned earlier, Pastor is hailed as the father of the North American Union, having written more papers about it, delivered more testimonies before Congress, and headed up task forces to study it, than any other single U.S. academic figure. He would seem a tireless architect and advocate of the NAU.

Although he might seem to be a fresh, new name to in the globalization business, Pastor has a long history with Trilateral Commission members and the global elite.

He is the same Robert Pastor who was the executive director of the 1974 CFR task force ( funded by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations) called the Commission on US-Latin American Relations - aka the Linowitz Commission. The Linowitz Commission, chaired by an original Trilateral Commissioner Sol Linowitz, was singularly credited with the giveaway of the Panama Canal in 1976 under the Carter presidency. ALL of the Linowitz Commission members were members of the Trilateral Commission save one, Albert Fishlow; other members were W. Michael Blumenthal, Samuel Huntington, Peter G. Peterson, Elliot Richardson and David Rockefeller.

One of Carter's first actions as President in 1977 was to appoint Zbigniew Brzezinski to the post of National Security Advisor. In turn, one of Brzezinski's first acts was to appoint his protege, Dr. Robert A. Pastor, as director of the Office of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs. Pastor then became the Trilateral Commission's point-man to lobby for the Canal giveaway.

To actually negotiate the Carter-Torrijos Treaty, Carter sent none other than Sol Linowitz to Panama as temporary ambassador. The 6-month temporary appointment avoided the requirement for Senate confirmation. Thus, the very same people who created the policy became responsible for executing it.

The Trilateral Commission's role in the Carter Administration is confirmed by Pastor himself in his 1992 paper The Carter Administration and Latin America: A Test of Principle:

"In converting its predisposition into a policy, the new administration had the benefit of the research done by two private commissions. Carter, Vance, and Brzezinski were members of the Trilateral Commission, which provided a conceptual framework for collaboration among the industrialized countries in approaching the full gamut of international issues. With regard to setting an agenda and an approach to Latin America, the most important source of influence on the Carter administration was the Commission on U.S.-Latin American Relations, chaired by Sol M. Linowitz."21

As to the final Linowitz Commission reports on Latin America, most of which were authored by Pastor himself, he states:

"The reports helped the administration define a new relationship with Latin America, and 27 of the 28 specific recommendations in the second report became U.S. policy."22

Pastor's deep involvement with Trilateral Commission members and policies is irrefutable, and it continues into the present.

In 1996, when Trilateral Commissioner Bill Clinton nominated Pastor as Ambassador to Panama, his confirmation was forcefully knocked down by democratic Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), who held a deep grudge against Pastor for his central role in the giveaway of the Panama Canal in 1976.

The setback obviously did not phase Pastor in the slightest.

Where from here?

The stated target for full implementation of the North American Union is 2010.

"The Task Force proposes the creation by 2010 of a North American community to enhance security, prosperity, and opportunity. We propose a community based on the principle affirmed in the March 2005 Joint Statement of the three leaders that 'our security and prosperity are mutually dependent and complementary.' Its boundaries will be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter within which the movement of people, products, and capital will be legal, orderly, and safe. Its goal will be to guarantee a free, secure, just, and prosperous North America." 23

Don't underestimate the global elite's ability to meet their own deadlines!


This paper does not pretend to give thorough or even complete coverage to such important and wide-ranging topics as discussed above. We have shown that the restructuring of the United States has been accomplished by a very small group of powerful global elitists as represented by members of the Trilateral Commission.

The Trilateral Commission plainly stated that it intended to create a New International Economic Order. We have followed their members from 1973 to the present, only to find that they are at the dead center of every critical policy and action that seeks to restructure the U.S.

Some critics will undoubedly argue that involvement by members of the Trilateral Commission is merely incidental. However, the odds for their involvement at random is too large to be even remotely understandable; it would be like winning the lottery jackpot five times in a row, with the same numbers!

The credo of The August Review is "Follow the money, follow the power." In this view, the United States has literally been hijacked by less than 300 greedy and self-serving global elitists who have little more than contempt for the citizens of the countries they would seek to dominate. According to Trilateralist Richard Gardner's viewpoint, this incremental takeover (rather than a frontal approach) has been wildly successful.

To again answer Lou Dobbs question, "Have our political elites gone mad?" -- No Lou, they are not "mad", nor are they ignorant. To look into the face of these global elites is to look into the face of unmitigated greed, avarice and treachery.


  1. Gardner, Richard, The Hard Road to World Order, (Foreign Affairs, 1974) p. 558
  2. ibid, p. 563
  3. ibid. p. 556
  4. Fast Track Talking Points, Global Trade Watch, Public Citizen
  5. Exerpts From Presidential Debates, Ross Perot, 1992
  6. MacArthur, The Selling of Free Trade, (Univ. of Cal. Press, 2001) p. 228
  7. Washington Post, op-ed, Kissinger & Vance, May 13, 1993
  8. Los Angeles Times, op-ed, Kissinger, July 18, 1993
  9. The Fruits of NAFTA, Patrick Buchanan, The Conservative Voice, March 10, 2006
  10. Tonelson, The Race to the Bottom (Westview Press, 2002) p. 89
  11. Trinational Elites Map North American Future in "NAFTA Plus", Miquel Pickard, IRC Americas website
  12. A Modest Proposal To the Trilateral Commission, Presentation by Dr. Robert A. Pastor, 2002
  13. Council Joing Leading Canadians and Mexicans to Launch Intependent Task Force on the Future of America, Press Release, CFR Website
  14. ibid.
  15. ibid.
  16. Building a North American Community, Council on Foreign Relations, 2005
  17. North American Leaders Unveil Security and Prosperity Partnership, International Information Programs, U.S. Govt. Website
  18. Concluding Press Conference at Cancun Summit, Vicente Fox, March 31, 2006
  19. Traditional Elites Map North American Future in "NAFTA Plus", Miguel Pickard, p. 1, IRC Website
  20. Bush sneaking North American super-state without oversight?, Jerome Corsi,WorldNetDaily, June 12, 2006.
  21. The Carter Administration and Latin America: A Test of Principle, Robert A. Pastor, The Carter Center, July 1992, p. 9
  22. ibid. p. 10
  23. Building a North American Community, Council on Foreign Relations, 2005, p. 2

Further Reading

Meet Robert Pastor: Father of the North American Union, Human Events, Jerome R. Corsi, July 25, 2006
Robert A. Pastor Resume, American University, 2005
North America's Super Corridor Coalition, Inc. Website
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