Argentina. It is probably one of the most dangerous countries on earth, and like Colombia and South Africa, very beautiful.
I landed there after a grueling 10 hour flight complete with snoring passengers and shrieking babies, to be met by my host Jorge Baigorria.
Jorge picked me up and with one look announced that I needed some sleep. A mind reader as well as one of Argentina's best shooters...competitively and otherwise.
I slept most of the afternoon at my digs in Buenos Aires, and awoke just in time to go to dinner. There is one thing about B.A., there is no shortage of food...in any quantity. Same goes for the beer.
We got right to work. The course was The Ultimate Combat Skills and it was populated by tough men from all over the region. We had military guys whose eyes spoke of plenty of nasty encounters, and bodyguards whose lives are as cheap as a dinner in any town in the USA.
We had civilians. Quite a few. Unlike the so-called free states of New York and California, citizens in Argentina can carry guns.
We had cops too. Cops in B.A. are killed weekly. While I was there at least four were murdered on the job. An environment like that makes for motivated learners.
There are men here whose personal scores of dead bad guys make the likes of Jim Cirillo look pedestrian. I am humbled that they wanted to listen to what I had to say, and that they invited me back.
We crammed the entire CRG program into one whirlwind day and shot so much ammo you could not walk from one end to the other without walking on brass.
The next day we worked on fighting with knives. Not the defensive stuff so popuylar here in the US in some circles, but material borrowed from my knife instructor Tom Sotis.
Here in Argentina, you don't get one to three attackers like in the USA. Here you get twenty thugs! They call them "Barra Brava".
So the fight may begin or end with a knife. Surrender and they will likely stomp you to death, throw you under a train, or worse. You dare not let them take you alive. Everyone fights here.
Next came Force On Force. Hard force on force as we did not have the liability issues we face in the USA.
If someone broke their hand, or lost a tooth, we had a doctor nearby to fix them up and bring them back to class. Seriousness with a latin sense of humor.
We workewd on long range shooting as well and the majority of the class shot out to 90 yards. The last day we discussed integration of weapons with the pistol as well as the ever popular Vehicle Gunfighting program.
In Argentina, a carjack means they kill you and take your car. They wait for you to arrive at home and situations where wives and kids have seen their fathers bleed to death from wounds inflicted by the carjackers are common. Noone is immune so everyone takes this very seriously.
As an interesting note an anti-gun politician whose famous quote of "Insecurity is only a sensation" was shot in the head by criminals while I was there.
He is presently in a coma. Perhaps the bullet lodged in his skull is also just a sensation. Who knows?
(Edited by FerFAL to add: I remember that! It was pathetic the way his wife, even with her husband brain dead, insisted that BA isn’t dangerous. Pathetic and ironic all at once)
After the training we spent some days sight seeing. One of the places I went to was perhaps one of the worst places on earth, the Puerta Yerro area, a makeshift shanty town reminiscent of what we saw in South Africa.
There only the thugs rule and everyone is armed. Life is as cheap as a cigarette, and you'd better make sure you kill your adversary and anyone who appears to be with him.
This may be hard for law abiding american CCW folk to swallow, but if you have to shoot or stab an attacker here, you run like hell before their friends, or the police arrive.
It is just that kind of place. I was told that not long before I arrived a 12 year old girl was raped to death there, shot in the head and partially eaten by rats before the police found her. The bad guys were dealt with...off the books. Things are different here.
I left all my knives, holsterts, and weapons with the guys in B.A. I can get more, and they may need what I left tonight. Places like this really make you appreciate where we live and how we live. Let us never forget that, and specially not next November.
I took a couple classes with Jorge Baigorria and respect the man a lot. He’s a terrific instructor, has a lot of street gunfighting experience, and “EL Negro” is just the funniest guy you’ll ever encounter.
One small correction thought. Generally speaking, people here can’t carry firearms. You have to: A) Own a millionaire company, that moves a lot of cash B) Have important political or police connections C) Be rich enough to make up a company that justifies you owning a gun. Yes, THAT rich.
Other than that citizens here can’t carry weapons.