Sunday, July 8, 2012

A very dangerous "antique" from the Shanghai Municipal Police

Once upon time, there was a Royal Marine by the name of William Fairbairn. After six years with the Royal Marine Light Infantry; he joined the Shanghai Municipal Police. Being a real leader, the Captain led from the front, in the streets. He ended up covered in knife scars; torso, legs, even the palms of his hands.

This hard won experience led to some realizations on the part of then Captain (retired as a Lieutenant Colonel). He created his own form of martial arts (Defendu), worked hand in hand with the OSS (yes, that OSS), trained a varied list of sneaky/commando type units for WWII, and wrote a book (Shooting to Live)with his training partner Eric Sykes. In this book, they wrote about point shooting; that is shooting sans sights in a disciplined and trained manner. Keep this last tidbit in mind, dear readers.

It goes without being said that I must mention the fighting knife Fairbairn and Sykes invented; the Fairbairn Sykes fighting knife, famous being for being SAS issue.

However, the purpose of this blog post is share with all of you an amazing piece of history.....

A while back ago, I noticed that Tom Givens of Rangemaster mentioned that he owned a Shanghai Municipal Police issue 1911. Now, I've learned that when Tom speaks; to listen. Tom makes a point of interviewing all of his many students who have been in shootings and collating the data in a scientific manner. Much to the contrary of what what certain trainers teach, Tom and Rangemaster teach sighted fire and find that it works in real life shootings. From Tom:

We heavily stress eye level sighted fire for everything except contact distance. We have a damn near 100% hit ratio in fights, excluding a few completely understandable misses. For example, one of my students had two armed robbers firing into his car, with him and his 6 year old daughter in it. He backed the car out of the kill zone while firing out the driver's window with his non-dominant hand. He got 4 hits for 8 shots that way. I'll forgive those misses. In most of our students' shootings, they fire 1-4 rounds and get all hits. 

Modern sights are so much more visible that it's silly to shoot from below eye level and guess where the rounds are going. Visually indexed fire doesn't always mean a perfect sight picture, but at least it gets the gun on target reliably.

  Anyway, my historical fixation kicked in when I saw mention of that Shanghai Municipal Police issue 1911 and I asked Tom for pictures.  He immediately sent them over and gave me permission to post them here and at 

Pistol Forum

.  Tom humorously postulates that Fairbairn and Sykes learned and popularized point shooting because of the wretched sights on this old warrior that were standard for the day.  He also relates that the pistol is 100% reliable with 230 grain ball ammo.  This weapon was issued when Fairbairn and Sykes were in the Shanghai Municipal Police and the odds are very strong that this old warrior saw quite a bit of action.  If steel could talk......

Anyway, onto the pictures! I will be sure to let you know if Tom has a smatchet laying around!

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