Russia Ukraine War civilian gun guns training
Ukrainian civilians receive weapons training, in the outskirts of Lviv, western Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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I have never written political essays. I generally find texts like these too temporal, too full of hot air and pathos. Not enough nuance. But right now I want to anchor this moment in time and place. The moment when the whole country is one entity. And the only language that can be spoken by a Ukrainian writer and every Ukrainian is the language of war.

The play that I wanted to write about “Anxiety” in premonition of war should have had a refrain: The Four Primary Rules of Firearm Safety, echoing what is being taught during the first lesson of handling firearms. I’d never held a gun in my hands till February 2022. My wife and I had several hours of training just to figure out what to do with it. Just in case. And now I regret like hell that I didn’t do that training before.

— Oleksandr Mykhed in Letter from Ukraine: the language of war

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      • Pb, kinda harsh. Most of the Ukrainian population most likely hasn’t had the opportunity to be versed in firearm training as less than one in ten of the population owns a firearm of any type. As no one under 25 is allowed to own a rifle or handgun, I would guess a large percentage of the guns in circulation are actually shotguns. Guess that we are more fortunate in that respect at least.

    • Pennsylvania Dutch used to have a saying, “Too soon old, too late smart.”

      Guess that is probably in current usage in Ukraine these days.

  1. When in a stressful situation, we don’t rise to the occasion, we sink to the level of training that we’ve become proficient in.

    A form of this was once stated by a Navy seal, explaining that survival in a stressful situation is determined by how well you’ve prepared for that moment.

    Learning how a firearm works while bombs are raining down must be a horrible situation.

    This should all be muscle memory before faced with a stressful confrontation. But, something > nothing.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Ukrainians.

    • Now they can feel what their Jewish fellow Ukrainians felt during WW2 as they were being rounded up by Nazi collaborators.

        • Communists have no religion outside of the state. Proclaiming someone a Christian or moslem or jewish communist is a fallacy.

        • Everyone involved needs to realize that name calling, settling scores and playing tit 4 tat just ensures the atrocities continue.

        • To Life of Fantasy

          quote—————–Or how Christian Ukrainians suffered while being starved to death by Jewish Communists.————quote——

          Give us a link to that statement. Some historical facts would be in order to substantiate your statement. Otherwise your just shouting to the world you are a racist person.

        • to Jethro W.M. our High School Dropout

          quote———–Communists have no religion outside of the state. Proclaiming someone a Christian or moslem or jewish communist is a fallacy.———-quote

          Again you show your ignorance of history because of your lack of education. Lennon and Stalin went to great lengths to stamp out religion, even closing many churches.

          Marx called religion “The opium of the masses”. In a sense he was right because both Lennon and Stalin failed to crush religion in Russia and today its as strong as ever.

          History lesson over today Jethro. And obviously you never got your G.E.D. as you claimed.

        • Neither of those words–Christian or Jewish–are simple monolithic descriptions any more.

        • herr dacian the nazi. You just confirmed everything I said. Are you that stupid?

          Well, yes. I guess you are. Speaking of education. What degrees do you have?

        • Give us a link to that statement. Some historical facts would be in order to substantiate your statement. Otherwise your just shouting to the world you are a racist person.

          It’s true, the communists starved them to death. It’s how marxism + authoritarianism works. Now, I wouldn’t blame this on the Jews – but there is an element of truth, a small element, -Marx himself was ethnically jewish. Lenin’s mother was half jewish. 10% of Bolsheviks were jewish.

        • Again you show your ignorance of history because of your lack of education. Lennon and Stalin went to great lengths to stamp out religion, even closing many churches.

          This statement, actually supports JWM’s statement. Maybe you should go back and read his statement again.

          Marx called religion “The opium of the masses”. In a sense he was right because both Lennon and Stalin failed to crush religion in Russia and today its as strong as ever.

          Again, supporting JWM’s comment. The assertion that marx was right because Lenin and stalin couldn’t crush religion is not logical.

          History lesson over today Jethro. And obviously you never got your G.E.D. as you claimed.

          A lot of arrogance here for someone who didn’t understand or comprehend what JWM was trying to say.

        • Right on. Bolshevists, many of whom were Jewish by race if not religion- were roundly despised in Ukraine for their part in the Holodomor.

    • “…we sink to the level of training that we’ve become proficient in…”

      Ain’t that the truth. Despite my many years (and literally hundreds of hours) of professional instructor-led training under my belt, I “sank” a bit when I went through a shoothouse during the most recent course. I’d been through all the shoothouses located on the facility’s property at one point or another, and more or less knew what to expect. But my assigned instructor changed things up on me (without notifying me) to purposefully teach me this very lesson. I did everything “correctly” as I had always trained, until I passed down a hallway and was presented with a high-stress surprise situation. The kind where your ability to O.O.D.A. is compressed down to only a split second, and I reacted in a diminished level of performance. I successfully stopped the perp/threat, but “died” in the process, whereas if I had responded in full alignment with my training, I would have survived.

      Tough lesson to learn, but a good one. Train, train, and train. Then expect to perform at only half that level at best, so make sure your training is as high as you can attain.

      • Amen Haz.
        This is why I always stress to firearm owning friends/family the importance of training like your life depends on it.
        Most firearm owners never shoot non-dom eye/hand, or practice single hand firearm loading/manipulation.
        These are all important skills in “real world” firearm usage.

      • Super weird. My avatar appeared for my comment above when I posted it earlier today. When I re-opened TTAG and this page, it’s now gone (though it still appears in my other comment further down the page).


        • I may be on TTAG double secret probation after yesterday. 🤔

          Don’t talk to the bad man. 🤣

    • Well-said and true… a few of us were born practically with a gun in our hands, but now-days most are not. Especially true in European and former soviet satellite countries.

  2. General rule of thumb: if anyone in a position of authority over you, real or perceived such as is found in self-righteous jackasses, would scold, mock or deride you for learning a skill or acquiring a thing they insist “you’ll never need” you should make it a top priority to learn that skill and acquire that thing. Worst case scenario you know a useless skill and own a thing you can later sell.

    It’s not like people don’t already waste their time and money.

    • Especially if it happens to be fun anyway, I will likely never go for 3 gun competition but the shotgun classes I have done have forced me to learn a lot re loading, moving and using concealment/support while not destroying my shoulder from odd angle shots. Will probably never need it but can pass the lessons learned on to kids and friends without having to go out of state to not have all kinds of fun legal issues as I would with pistols.

    • Shire-man,

      It’s not like people don’t already waste their time and money.

      That is a somewhat interesting lens through which to examine my hunting expenditures.

      I have probably spent on the order of $2,000 on clothing, equipment, firearms (including optics), and ammunition in pursuit of white-tailed deer hunting. And that is money that I likely would have spent on other leisure activities so the money was going out the door either way. Thus, that money I spent is the “downside”.

      Is there an upside to that money that I spent? Sure is. With that equipment I have harvested approximately 15 deer–that’s about 600 pounds of meat which would have cost something like $3,500 in equivalent beef. That already puts me close to the break-even point when I factor in processing (butcher) costs.

      Now consider an additional upside. Being armed for white-tailed deer hunting means I have firearm platforms AND SKILLS which are suitable for national defense. Not only do I have firearms that are extremely effective for both short range and long range (hopefully out to 800 yards) engagements, I have marksmanship skills as well as the ability to stay calm, on task, and effective during an adrenaline dump. I also have significant “woodscraft” skills. (I know how to operate in the forest to effectively hunt animals who are 1,000 times more wary and aware of their environment than humans.)

      Of course I have also dedicated additional firearm and training expenditures optimized for home-defense and self-defense against street-thug attacks–much of which translates to national defense (in terms of close-quarters battle) as well.

      Thus, I would argue that there are a LOT of upsides to firearm ownership, marksmanship, and training–both for personal/family security and national defense. It sounds like countless Ukrainians are learning that the hard way.

    • I used to date a Russian gal 30 years ago. She could tear down an AK in 30 seconds blindfolded.

      Learned it in soviet high school.

  3. I guess “better late than never” might apply, here, but I’m particularly interested to see, once this whole Russan s***show is over, whether the Ukrainian government lets its people keep the firearms they’ve been given. History, particularly Ukrainian history, does not bode well for them.

    I hope the average Ukrainian reacts to the inevitable “gun confiscation” that the Ukrainian government will likely try to impose with a matching set of middle fingers . . . but I have my doubts.

    • Ukrainian history…

      A bit of trivia. Today is the anniversary of the massacre of Jews (of Seredino Buda) by Ukrainian mobs. Granted, it was over a hundred years ago by people born four generations ago and who are long dead and gone by now, but the Ukes do not have a clean history.

  4. Everything you have arises from the security of being able to get it have it and keep it. The foundation of that security is the means and capability to ensure that security, and the responsibility for that means and capability to ensure that security is on you and you alone.

    Its too late to say “I wish I would have…” when a deadly threat comes to invade your security.

    Its too late to say “Please, someone save me!” when the deadly threat is in front of you.

    When its too late, all you have is you and no one else is coming to save you in those precious few moments you have so its all up to you. Would you rather have the chance a firearm provides against that deadly threat or do you want to go down thinking “Huh?”

    If you are for a gun-control anti-gun life I urge you to not be for the gun-control anti-gun life – your belief in the gun-control anti-gun life may get you killed when that deadly threat shows up.

    Throw away the gun-control anti-gun rhetoric, take responsibility for your own security and/or for that security of your family. Buy a firearm, get trained, and become prepared. No one can guarantee the outcome against a deadly threat encounter, but you can place the favorable odds on your side by having a firearm and knowing how and when to use it. But there is one thing I can guarantee you and that is when a deadly threat comes to invade your security, when that threat is right there in front of you – there will not be one person from any gun-control/anti-gun group there to protect you and its pretty unlikely the police or someone else will arrive in those few precious moments you might have.

  5. It’s absolutely stunning that so-called “educated” people are so ignorant of history. Willfully ignorant. “It’ll never happen here” is the biggest cope there is. Many people, particularly on the left, really believed we reached the end of history. How many stories have I seen in the news with people saying “it’s the 21st century! How can there be war!” It’s happening, right now. History is reasserting itself.

    Buy a gun (or many), learn how to use it, and train.

    • Jimmy Beam,

      “It’ll never happen here,” is the biggest cope there is.

      I think that is, by far and away, the overriding dynamic. Learned people are well aware of History.

      It is incredibly difficult and disconcerting to embrace the reality that violent conflict could be just around the corner no matter where you are or in which period of History you live. Rather than embrace the reality, many people choose to console themselves with the idea that their community, society, and nation has somehow risen above the human condition. Of course that also feeds their huge superiority complex so it is a double “win” for learned types when in actually it is self-defeating. Oh the irony.

    • War is always happening. We’re only hearing about 24/7 now because political interests are at stake. There’s a new excuse to spend money and take power from the working class. The “for the little guy” Democrat sheep are doing a great impression of unwitting Raytheon shills, just like they’ve done a great impression of unwitting Big Tech and Big Pharma shills.

  6. off the topic but I watched a news report of the army handing out what was said to be 1800 rifles to the citizens. Good for them- but I noticed that the rifles were simply handed to the men and women, no signing for the guns, anything like that. Perhaps that was the idea. When this is over if the Ukranians win those guns will never be turned in! If the Russians win no record of where the guns went I suppose.

    • RKC,

      If the Russians win no record of where the guns went I suppose.

      I have to imagine that was a serious consideration.

      There is a similar consideration:

      There is a really good chance that Russia will appear to “win” in the next several days or few weeks, where “winning” means they take-over Kyiv and oust or execute the national government. Perhaps more importantly, “winning” will not mean killing the half-million (or more) armed Ukrainians who will probably dominate the second phase of the war through insurgency operations. With that likely future, it is critical that Russian intelligence cannot determine who has AK-47s.

  7. I believe a slight adaptation of Judge Alex Kozinksi’s statement applies with ginormous relevance to Ukraine:

    “The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where [your government does not stop a hostile foreign takeover]. However improbable [a hostile foreign takeover] may seem today, facing [it] unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.”

  8. Small arms will make little difference to the outcome of the war. The largest army with the most heavy equipment will crush the opposition.

    I might add contrary to popular belief the war in Vietnam was WAS NOT won with small arms either. Although far to complex to go into here the North Vietnamese and Vietcong actually had more artillery than the Americans and 9 times the number of soldiers. If it had not been for air superiority the North Vietnamese would have crushed the Americans in only a matter of weeks. Their belief in a just cause was also a factor in their winning but again there is much more to the story.

    For a fascinating look how one man (Ho Chi Minh) become the worlds greatest 20th Century Statesmen and changed S.E. Asia and defeated two powerful nations, see the book, “Ho Chi Minh, A Life” written by William J. Duiker, former U.S. foreign service officer and fluent in Vietnamese.

    It has been over 3/4 o a century since WWII and I might add that contrary to the Paranoia of the sick minds of the Far Right, that with the population of the world now in far excess of what the planet can sustain, strict firearms regulation is very necessary, as you are far more likely to be killed by the unrestricted use of firearms (as opposed to the rare revolution or invasion) because we live in an over populated world, complete with all its societal problems.

  9. The history of Ukraine since 2005 is nothing more than our government subverting there’s, along with NATO using it as another push against Russia to encircle it. NATO does not have the charter to do that and is acting out of bounds, but none of the members are willing to do something about it – until Trump started forcing their hands about making us pay for their defense.

    Sen’s Lugar and OBAMA got the Ukraine bio labs on our defense budget back in 2005 – and since then there are now 26. Our own state department admitted yesterday they were afraid of what the Russians might find there. Apparently we have been financing research in the same manner as Wuhan – not just collecting samples or storing items that weren’t supposed to be in the hands of various militia groups.

    And there is the problem with the overthrow of the legitimately elected Ukraine government in 2014, which has all the earmarks of a CIA operation. Poroshenko was installed, various factions were allowed into the government previously outlawed, and thats when the sons of Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, and Romney were all installed on Energy pipeline companies for tens of thousands of dollars a month – money that went back into their familty finances.

    No wonder all four are adamantly supporting Ukraine now – along with George Soros and Charles Schwab, the Euro banker who’s banks were recently tossed out of Russia. Of important note, Putin returned to the gold standard this week. The last leader who did that was Gaddafi. Clinton had something to do with his overthrow, didn’t she? Libya’s gold eventually resurfaced in South African vaults.

    Poroshenko didn’t last long as corruption investigations blossomed in Ukraine, and one investigating Hunter Biden got his dad involved, who threatened the loss of financial aid if the prosecutor wasn’t fired. That did happen, the money flowed into agencies, who awarded contracts to NGO’s, who then typically take a cut, fund a few feel good initiatives, and bank the rest back into the coffers of those who got it for them. It’s payola – our tax dollars going into family accounts back HERE in the US.

    Ukraine is a corrupt cesspoll of underhanded slush fund operations – all of which Russia has complained about for over 15 years. NATO encroachment, payoffs, bio weapons research, human trafficking, drugs and arms. It’s been going on a long time – look whos supporting all this – the same people who backed Pfizer to the hilt, who will not protect Americans from .Gov overreach, who banned the XL pipeline and now banned Russian oil imports.

    If you don’t like $4 gas and want it to go higher, you got the man you wanted in office, all 81 million of you. Id like to hear more about how he’s doing exactly what you want – I can’t find that guy in gun media yet. Just admins who stifle any discussion of what is going on, and happy we are sending a million rounds of ammo to Ukraine you will never be able to buy now. It’s good to extend a shortage, right?

    Support Ukraine like our leaders do, add your name to Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, Romney, Soros, and Schwab. It’s the patriotic thing to do.

    • Now, although you make some excellent points there, and certainly offer much food for thought, I would to add that Russia is bankrolled by fucking China. I’m not sending anyone anything, unfortunately. God bless the Ukranian citizens caught in the middle, which will not directly help anyone, but it’s all I’m going to give.

    • Stop spreading subversive things such as the Truth. No one wants to hear it and they shall cast you forth from the village for your blasphemy.

  10. Story out today that Ukrainians required to turn all their guns in after the war is over. Good luck with that.


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