Fort Lee posted the above photo with the caption: “Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, commanding general, CASCOM and Fort Lee, fires his 9mm semi-automatic pistol during qualifications today at the installation range complex. Williams joined a handful of Soldiers who fulfilled their yearly weapons qualification at the facility.”

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134 Responses to What’s Wrong With This Picture? Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams Edition

    • That is seriously bad. I’ve never seen anybody try to shoot like that and I was in the Navy and the Air Force.

    • “Tea cupping”? So thats what it’s called… I typically see it from a lot of female noobs when I place the handgun in their mitts for the first time – just before showing them proper grip.
      Yes, tell the good general we phrased it just like that.

    • If you’re going to teacup, at least do it correctly. I’m not sure I would call that teacupping.
      No wonder the military hated the Beretta. Yankee Marshall was right. He said the gun worked perfectly, the grunts fucked it up.
      This guy makes the Iraqi Police look like the Green fucking Berets!

      • The Beretta I used during my time in Coaches Course was a piece of shit. Several others barely hit the targets, some hit other targets.

        • Funny how I see it in writing and hear people trash the M9/92FS about not being able to hit the broad side of a barn while standing in it. The funny part is that is exactly what everyone said about the M1911A1 back before the M9.

          Personal experience in the 21+ years I spent in the Army with both pistols. If you can’t hit very close to you intended point of aim- get some shooting lessons-it ISN’T the pistol. After all the best thing you can do with any weapon- practice.

          Some practice so they can hit their target every time. I still practice to the point – I CAN’T miss my target, stationary or moving.

        • Not many airsoft guns go the extra realistic step of having the gun eject a spent 9mm casing after firing the tiny plastic airsoft ball!

    • That’s not tea cupping. R. Lee Ermey teacups, and he shoots pretty well. teacupping doesn’t mean the fingers are splayed-out and arms curled in.

      That’s just some goofy shooting.

  1. Hasn’t a clue on how to hold a pistol. Somebody might want to tell him what’s going to happen to his left thumb if he let’s it ride a little higher.

    • Pro tip – unless you outrank the SOB it is a very difficult proposition to tell a general that he is doing something fundamentally wrong, especially in public.

        • You would think so but i can remember more than once an 0-3 or better letting off a three round burst while going down into the prone at the rifle range. The RSO and range coaches would just roll their eyes and then jump on the E2 who didn’t have their safety engaged before the make ready command was given.
          Granted this was Quantico where the average rank on base was a Captain (Marine) or Lt Col if the war collage was in session.

      • Most of the commands i served in were professional enough that even the old man would listen when it came to training/safety. It was always done respectfully, but there was nothing that would make an old non-com happier than gently and politely informing the Colonel that if he continued to do that, he was going to get bounced off the fucking range/course/tower/whatever before he got someone killed, sir.

    • Piss on his left thumb, I’m worried about what happens if he holds that gun a trifle closer to his nose!

    • The good general is a career staff and logistics officer. From his wikipedia page he seems compitent at what he does. By that picture I’m assuming what he does doesn’t involve shooting a pistol but he still managed to get a combat action badge, a couple of bronze stars and a few more legions of merrit. He served a couple tours in iraq and afghanistan….. its more than i did in my 4 years….. but i guarantee i shoot better.

      • DO TELL? A POGUE/REMF who has the mandatory list of “I was there awards”. A product of the early 80s affirmative action Army (I was there) where best qualified as all that was needed (not fully qualified) to fill out the quota (see also Colin Powell).

        You might note that none of Williams awards where with “V” device (Valor). Not so much as a paper cut.

        Compare to a real soldier – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Urban

        • Let’s be fair… The “real” soldier would be far colder, wetter, and hungrier without the guys in the rear to make sure that his supplies got delivered on time. Not everyone in the Army needs to be a Delta Ranger Seal Team Twenty Tactical Operator. 80% of the personnel keep records, keep the supplies flowing, and turn wrenches. They may not have the most glamorous jobs, but they are critical to keeping the Infantry Marine or Soldier on the pointy end of the stick fighting. Quite frankly, as long as they are vaguely familiar with how their weapon works and can hit the broad side of a barn, I’m much more concerned about them being able to do THEIR ACTUAL JOB.

          What would you rather have as a supply clerk, the guy who can make sure that every delivery is made on time and in proper quantity or the guy who can win an NRA rifle match? Personally, given that modern warfare lives or dies on logistics, give me the pencil pusher every day of the week. That way, the guys whose job it actually is to go out and kill the enemy have the gear needed to do so and can come back to a base running like a well oiled machine to get them ready for the next round.

        • ’80s army, OK, but not the ’40s Army, my hero after Vietnam was Daniel (Chappie) James, Tuskeegee Airman who reached 3 stars after around 40 years of service, I got to carry him once on a T-39 and was so nervous I thought I would faint. When he talked, you listened, and you knew what he had said. I was hoping to vote for him for president someday, but the inconsiderate SOB went and died while gardening with his wife 6 WEEKS after finally retiring.

    • Well, I was just a Captain, but woe be to the guy tried to pencil whip a requirement to go SHOOT! Pencil whip the boring crap.

      I remember one time qualifying at the base here in Austin, I took my Python along hoping to get the instructor to let me qual with it instead of the S&W Combat Masterpiece, there was no class scheduled that day (scheduling screwup) so he handed me a couple boxes of .38 and told me not to hurt myself, just let me blow off ammo doing what I wanted, followed by a grinning pencil whipping. Same range a bit later, a buddy and I took his panel truck down and cleaned out their range for them. As in, after about a jillion rounds of lead ball ammo, somebody had to remove all that lead. We picked up like 8 30-lb jagged lumps of lead to take home and melt down for later use molding bullets. What a great idea! Of course, that was 1979, and the lead “biscuits” I made by pouring molten lead from our stove into the bride’s biscuit mold (I was very popular!) are still sitting downstairs in the garage, after being shipped from Austin to S. Dakota to Okinawa and back to Austin. Someday I’m getting that bullet mold!

    • Having had the “pleasure” of being on the range with an Afghan one-star, whose stance and grip was a one-hand-behind-the-back-let’s-settle-this-like-gentlemen… It could be worse!

      Especially when said one-star asks to borrow your Taurus, isn’t used to the long first trigger pull, and muzzles the entire firing line while gently squeezing the trigger and saying “it’s not working”…! 😀

      Was a pleasant surprise to see an ANA Sgt. Major jump in and point the general back down range; sadly I never found out whether the poor guy was demoted and sent to the front for embarrassing the general…!

  2. ‘Square’ stance, not a version of isosceles?

    Can’t see very well – maybe left-eye dominant and right-handed?

    Some have suggested ‘center axis relock’; I haven’t seen that up close.

    • I was thinking more nearsighted, so he has to bring the pistol in closer to his eyes so he can see the front sight post. But what do I know?

  3. From the look of it he has his right arm bent and the pistol within a foot (or less) of his face; near-sighting the sight picture…

  4. Officers on General Staff do indeed have to qualify, just like any other troopie, on their assigned weapon.

    If he/she/whatever hits the target, does it really matter how its held?

    • There are people out there who can make that claim. Passing an army qual course isn’t really impressive enough to be in that category. You can pass one and still not be a good shooter.

      • The regular Army sucks at pistol shooting, even combat arms. Unless you are in a super high speed unit then you may get better instruction. Good thing the Army pistol qual is easy.

      • Right. You should try the Air Force qual! Most times I went to qual, the nice Sgt pointed out somebody near me who was not going to make it, so I could help out some. To fail, I *swear* you had to be shooting with your eyes closed.

        • Larry, were were you stationed, because believe it of not, some Air Force bases took small arms very seriously. The downside was that if you qualified well enough, you ended up being assigned to SP augmentee.

    • “If he/she/whatever hits the target, does it really matter how its held?”

      “Fort Lee posted the above photo with the caption: “Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, commanding general, CASCOM and Fort Lee, fires his 9mm semi-automatic pistol during qualifications today at the installation range complex. Williams joined a handful of Soldiers who fulfilled their yearly weapons qualification at the facility.””
      It matters when it’s a General Officer being pictured by an Army Base photo.
      I would bet that officer had something more to do with the publishing of that photo than merely posing for it.
      “Sargent, I look GOOD in that photo! Post it!”
      “Yes, SIR!”

    • Depends on how big the target is, how close it is, or if you’re ever going to need to use it in a real situation like a Ft. Hood shooter maybe? There was a time the Army used the recruiting slogan “Be all that you can be”. I guess now it’s more like “All you have to be is good enough.”

  5. There’s nothing at all wrong with the picture.
    The man in the picture, on the other hand…

    Maybe he forgot his distance glasses. On reflection, I’ll give his performance two stars.

  6. Wow!
    1. thumb behind the slide.
    2. At least an inch of space between the top of the hands and the top of the grip.
    3. Why is the sidearm within a foot of the face?

    • I don’t know when you were in the Army, but during the 21+ years I was in, just calling it a “gun” would have gotten you slapped silly until all the stupid was gone.

      “This is my rifle…. This is my gun. It is for fun.”

    • Well put, you must have served. I also thought it looked perfectly normal for a general officer to shoot a sidearm like that.

      • Seriously- if he’s ever in a position to actually need to fire, he’s well and truly f@#ked anyway. I’m an Armor officer- at least I take time on my own to go practice. If he’s done that and can engage accurately, then rock on. His primary weapon isn’t a pistol or rifle, but his Radio. He can do more good with that than any firearm.

        • a couple of years ago a American BG was shot and killed by an Afghan “insider threat”.

          the times when a senior leader is “f*cked” can and do happen.

  7. I’m wondering if there’s something going on there that we don’t recognize? Some sort of drill where you have to pretend that you’re shooting from a tiny little room and you don’t want to stick your gun out for fear of retention issues? Cause otherwise that is one busted way of shooting.

  8. That looks about standard for an officer. Look on the bright side, it’s not as if he’s a soldier.

  9. When was the last time a general officer shot anything but shit? If a major general is firing his pistol for real then a whole lot of people have had a really bad day.

    • In the vicinity of 1980 Gen Alexander Haig was ambushed by Baider-Meinhof terrorists . He exited his vehicle with his security team and returned fire with his POS 1911 which we all know is totally unreliable and inacurate.

      • IN 1980 more likely was the M15 which was issue at the time for General Officers – a semicustom notPOS version of the M1911.

        • I was being sarcastic with the POS adjective. 1911s not used by the military are reliable and effective. If the Army select Glock, 10 years from now everyone would be calling a POS.

          OBW, General Officers were lieutenants at one time and almost exclusively in combat arms. Haig did multiple tours in Korea and Vietnam as an infantry officer. I think his martial skills exceed almost everyone on TTAG.

      • Expert with a grenade????? A lot of the weapons I used in Vietnam only required a familiarization course:
        MGs; M2, M60, M34,
        Grenades: M79, M26A1/M61,
        Recoilless Rifles; M67, M40,
        Mortars; M2 60mm, M29 81mm,
        Shotgun; M12.

        The only ones I actually qualified with were the M16, M1/M2 carbine, M14, M10 .38Spl, Colt 1911

    • AR670-1 does allow us to wear our qualification badges. It is Officer custom to not wear them for some reason I was never told.

    • EM’s do, officers don’t.

      But Army quals aren’t super demanding.

      If officers were REQUIRED tto wear their weapons quals on their uniforms, and if pistol qual was more demanding, you’d see PMI take a quantum leap in quality…

  10. On the other hand, I know of at least one excellent pistol instructor who’s form looks a lot like that of the General.
    The reason? That instructors shoulders are all messed up. As he stated many times, he can’t shoot correctly anymore, so he shoots as best as he can with a screwy form. And teaches his students to shoot with better form than he can actually use. Even with his goofy t-Rex stance he out shot just about everyone in the class.

    Now I have no idea if the General has similar issues with mobility, or some other valid reason for having such a goofy shooting stance, or if he just doesn’t shoot much anymore. Either way, if he quals on a fair course, not pencil whipped, doesn’t really matter. He’s got other primary duties

    • Totally valid points, Jake. To my mind, the error was made by the PAO/photographer in ever allowing this photo, whatever the reason for it, to see the light of day, let alone the media. You spend a little time in uniform you quickly realize there’s a whole lotta shit that ‘don’t photograph well.’

  11. D: not only is he teacupping, his offhand thumb is going backward, where if he choked up the slide would hit it. Also t-rex arms. What a dumpster fire.

  12. Weapon too close to face. In danger of slide striking face.

    Grip all wrong. Support hand not “clamping” primary hand to assist with recoil control. Support thumb in danger of slide-bite. Primary hand not deep enough onto grip to put beavertail into thumb web.

    Lack of extension on elbows and wrists may lead to “limp-wristing” and malfunctions related to short stroking of slide.

    Weapon is 9mm, insufficient for killing soul of victim

  13. I would say pull rank and spend a morning with the AMU, but those folks time is probly spent better on other shooters.

    An hour on YouTube could prevent this next year.

    • As a former POG… My job was not to be tactical Timmy with a rifle. That’s what 03s are for.

      My job was to be able to show up and build a bridge… or a FOB… or blow up a bridge… or a FOB… Or make sure that that IED is the only one and not part of an intricate trap designed to draw in an EOD team and turn them into hamburger.

      Now… am I proficient with a rifle? Sure… but I’m one of those mutants that is still shooting for fun on a regular basis after I have to pay for my own rifle and ammo. However, which of my primary tasks do you want me to be LESS proficient at so that my unit can spend an extra week or two per year sitting on the range and training in something that is NOT our primary skill set?

    • POG here (Person Other than Grunt) I had to beg to get range time the last two times I Qualified. I worked IT and even got pulled out of MBST (Marine Battle Skills Training) once at 0300 because someone cleaned the Email server by pulling out all the hard drives and sprayed the raid controller down with Pledge.

      Spend 22 hours restoring backups after I “acquired” enough parts to rebuild the hardware then got on the bus for my qual. Still shot expert but I think I fell asleep on the 500 yard line after my last shot because next thing I knew I was on the bus to heading back to the armory for weapon cleaning and turn in.

      The problem is not everyone is a front line troop and while I could use my rifle to engage a few enemy solders. Give me a keyboard and a network connected target and I could bring a city to it’s knees, but cutting scores for promotion were and likely still are heavily based on Rifle score and PFT until Staff Sargent and even then they are something that is looked at in detail at the promotion review board.

  14. What is wrong with the picture? Everyone getting all up in arms because a 50-something year old dude is not shooting a pistol properly. Heck… I have met a lot of people who shoot and you think “dear God what is about to happen here???” and the targets get neat little holes punched in the middle of them.

    Crap… my mother is one of them. I am not sure how she manages to get her hands stacked on top of eachother on a 1911 (she grips it like a baseball bat) but she happily plinks her way through targets like she was born for it.

    He qualifies… so something about that ghetto janky method of shooting works…

    Also… he stopped pointing loud explodey devices at bad guys like… six O’s ago. Last I checked, Generals value is between the ears, not in the hands.

    Let’s all stop being armchair Generals… especially when referring to a real General.

    • The problem is this: That’s an official photo of a General shooting.
      While what you say is correct, it’s not a good idea to post a photo of that kind of shooting officially. It really gives the wrong impression not just to civilians, but to the troops, too.
      Someone, somewhere, should have ditched this photo and gotten either the General to do it right, or someone else to do the shooting.

  15. He may be in a prone position, the photo doesn’t really show his body. If he is, the grip isn’t that bad.

  16. I think we should cut the General some slack. He appears to be a pretty smart and dedicated guy in charge of Logistics not Combat Troops.

  17. Unfortunately what matters often in the military is qualification over technique so long as you are being “safe”.

    Haven’t seen that in a long time but all it shows is that the brass is dangerously out of touch.

  18. For some reason nobody teaches pistol shooting in the big army. I’ve never seen a single pistol training block in my combined 10 years and counting of active + guard Infantry (8+2 respectively). Nobody in an Infantry company has an M9 as a primary weapon, but still. I’ve also seen units waive M9 qualification because nobody cares about it.

    The JSOC world is a whole different story. And I don’t know anything about how the other branches train on handguns.

  19. Don’t know if would want a near sighted General shooting if body any where in the near vicinity!
    Cupping the pistol butt was an actual training method back in the day before all the armchair experts say it’s defunct! doesn’t work etc, must be trying a new CQB method taps at 1300 on this guy

    • Technically, he’s a General grade officer. Field grade is O4-O6. I don’t think this guy has heard a shot fired in anger in years if ever. But that’s ok. His job is to be in the rear with the gear.

  20. I think comments here are a little overly critical. It’s possible he’s shooting prone which would explain teacupping being caused by elbow support. Also, there’s brass in the air so it’s possible that the gun is back from recoil just as the slide closed. This was shot with a telephoto lens at a narrow angle to his shooting direction and due to the compression of telephoto photography makes the gun look closer to his head that it really is. And finally, his thumb is quite aways from the slide. I’m all for criticizing people who ought to know better but this doesn’t look very clear cut to me. It just looks like a way for some people to feel superior.

      • … and I’m sure that’s a skill set that’s absolutely critical to his actual job, which is pushing paper to make sure that the trains run on time. Quite frankly, so long as he manages to avoid shooting himself and can hit the broad side of a barn, I’m much more concerned about how good he is with the paperwork.

        There’s an awesome second hand story I have on the topic. A buddy of mine was the weapons officer (not sure if that’s the exact term, basically he was the guy in charge of the weapons team in the CIC) on an Arleigh Burke class destroyer and had on his team one of the most absurdly overweight seamen he’d ever seen. When he first reported aboard, he asked his chief why that particular sailor was allowed to be so fat. The chief responded to him rather plainly. “Sir, [can’t remember the name] is a wizard with the VLS. So long as he can do that, your predecessor didn’t care how fat he was so long as he fit in the chair.”

    • Affirmative action won’t get you to Major General.

      I’ve read your posts. Perhaps you’re more offended by the good General’s complexion than his shooting style? If so, begone.

      • The man can’t hold the gun correctly. That started the criticism. He’s a high ranking officer in today’s PC military. Of course his complexion was the basis for my AA comment, but it was a dig on AA, not on his status. Why don’t you go ahead and call me a racist. That is what you are implying based on “reading my coments”.
        But first, you need to deny AA exist or you need to defend it. Or else, begone.

  21. Ridiculous and not at all surprising. He is combat service support and he’s a senior officer. Two factors that mean skills at arms is a once yearly afterthought.

    It all started like 40 years ago when golf supplanted shooting as an officer past time. Years ago you found LTCs and MAJs in the Presidents 100. Those days are all gone.

    But yes, he’s a particularly bad example.

  22. Talking out of my ass here but IIRC, once you hit around Lt col, you don’t need to qualify anymore…

    There was once a General on the range who literally went to go qualify again because he was bored sitting around his office all day…

  23. I wouldn’t call that leading by example. Bet he doesn’t wear an expert marksmanship medal for pistol on his class a’s. I wonder if he even actually qualified or did they just pass him because of rank?

  24. Makes you wonder how someone too incompetent or maybe just too dumb to demonstrate even rudimentary handgun technique and skill that any beginner should know advanced to the rank of Major General. Textbook example of a post turtle.

  25. I remember we only got to qualify once a year… not enough to even think about becoming efficient. I at least go the qualify 2x year on the M16. and I always spelled it ‘CUR’

  26. The Army is a great institution in many ways, but the marksmanship training provided to support troops sucks. Remember Jessica Lynch.

    The Army probably doesn’t even know how stupid this 08 looks.

    Pistol PMI is a joke.

    One thing the Army could learn from the Marines is that ALL troops should be trained in basic Soldier stuff. It’s not enough to know how to move beans around or fix Patriot radars, as Jessica Lynch’s experience showed, ya might actually have to fight for your unit’s life, and if you don’t know how, your brothers and sisters are gonna die.

  27. Well, that’s a shame. Not only is the position bad but wrapping the left thumb over the top of the right had is a excellent way to end up with stitches. I guess all the gunnery sergeants were busy that day.

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