…and remembering the time I first fired the Soviet “Star” pistol. The story goes like this: I was alone and unafraid (again) in some province outside of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia reconning a military base to see if we might embed some Marines there as part of an enlisted development program that I had initiated.
Just me, the lone American, and a small group of Mongolian Army officers were checking out the pistol and rifle ranges for me to see their condition. Then the other officers had a quick internal discussion and I ended up with a “Star” pistol in my hand and was “invited” to bust some caps. So I did. Emptied the magazine in a nice little group — all rounds in (or near, cannot remember) the black.
They wanted me to unload another magazine but I declined. Don’t think I had fired a “Star” before or since then, but thank God for the USMC’s High Risk Personnel course that I had the privilege to attend. During the course we learned lots of neat stuff plus had a bit of practice with the most common foreign small arms around the planet. Thinking that hands-on experience with those foreign designs really helped out with my “Star” qualification.
P.S. I think they were testing me.
P.P.S. Those Mongolian soldiers could sure down some vodka. Oh, the headaches!