A MYSTERY OF SCIENCE: So this weekend I went shooting with a friend. We shot an AK-74, an SKS, and a civilianized M4, as well as a cool Colt cowboy revolver. The guns didn’t shoot themselves, and neither of us was transformed into a mass murderer. Go figure — from what I’ve read in the New York Times that’s practically unheard of . . . .

How’d I do? Not bad, for a law professor. He’s a Special Forces veteran. He outshot me on the rifles by a significant margin, I outshot him on the pistol by a not-so-significant margin. I’ll take that.

UPDATE: Reader Gerald Hanner writes: “For a Special Forces type, a handgun is the last resort — or maybe a knife or club is. For most of us flyers the only thing that we could get in the cockpit, usually, was Colt combat masterpiece. And that wasn’t much when a bunch of guys with AK-47s were looking for you.”

Yeah, my old secretary was a Marine combat engineer reservist, and I had to give him pistol lessons before his second deployment. He said the Marines didn’t teach him much about pistol shooting (it’s “every Marine a rifleman,” not “every Marine a pistolero”) but it’s hard to carry an M-16 while you’re squatting down to defuse a bomb. I’m a decent shot with a handgun, though — as I find out whenever I shoot in competitions — while my accuracy is good, I don’t have the speed that real pistol competitors have. They’ll get off five shots in the time it takes me to get two, and they’ll be at least as accurate as me.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers point out that the “Combat Masterpiece” is a Smith & Wesson, not a Colt.