By ITS Guest Contributor

During the Cold War, “Steve” traveled the world serving as a covert operator for the United States. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese and possessing a graduate degree in geography, he could pass as a businessman or expatriate at first glance, whether at home or almost anywhere in East Asia.

Like any good operative, he gave few details about what he actually did and why. Suffice it to say, he worked secretly to protect U.S. national interests. That work was performed quietly and undercover. “Anybody who thinks guys like me go in with guns blazing has watched too many movies,” he said.

However, there were a few times in his career when he was in certain Southeast Asian countries and his operations officer ordered him to “draw a weapon on station.” In other words, arm yourself when you get there. The weapon Steve was provided by a station chief was invariably a Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol. “It’s reliable, it uses 9mm ammunition (which is universally available) and even though it’s an anvil to carry, has a lot of bang in that 13-round magazine,” Steve said.

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