Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 701-800

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 701-800

I made a trip last week up to the local public range (the official name for it is the “Cecil M. Webb Shooting Range,” but I like to call it the “Dunning-Krueger Exhibition and Fairgrounds”) to sight in a new rifle scope (more on that next week) and to put some more rounds through the Colt Competition 1911.

I decided to up the workout I was putting on this gun and shot 100 rounds of Federal Aluminum-cased 230gr .45ACP FMJ through it, and because the range bans “rapid fire” (and with good reason, I might add…) I worked on one-handed shooting and accurate shot placement.

All 100 rounds of ammo fed into and out of the pistol with no issues, except that my arms wound up covered in bits and flakes of charred paint or something similar. How much of this is inside the gun and how it will affect performance is anybody’s guess.

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:
100 Rounds Federal Aluminium 230gr FMJ .45ACP

Results:

No issues.

Thanks again to Lucky Gunner for providing the ammo for this test.

Done With The Trunk Gun.

Done With The Trunk Gun.

I usually work in a “business casual” environment, and so I have spent years carrying around a compact .380 pistol and not a whole lot more. I’ve had to learn just what a pocket .380 can do and can’t do, and while I’d like to carry around more with me, the fact is, I can’t, so I work within the reality I’m dealt with, not the one I want.

Which is why I’ve clung to the idea of a trunk gun for so long. The lack of decent sights and small size of a compact .380 means that a 25 yard shot is theoretical at best, and even 10 yard shots can be a challenge, so it’s nice to have something nearby that treats 25 yards as point-blank range.

But.

Trunk guns are, by their very nature, in the trunk of your car (duh), which means that you’ll need a minute or so to get to it. Also, unless they’re locked away in a strongbox or something similar, (which will increase your access time to the gun even more), they’ll be the first things stolen if your vehicle is broken into. Both of these are not the sort of thing I look for in a self-defense firearm.

Also, I’ve been re-thinking the gear that I stow away in my car. I’m moving the emphasis away from a “do anything” pack that will keep me alive for an indefinite amount of time, and moving towards a “get home” bag that’s more limited in scope but is right there when I need it. That same concept of “if it handy when you need it, it ain’t your primary” is also changing what I carry in my car for defensive firepower.

We have all heard that “a .22 on you beats a .45 in the truck,” and the car gun corollary to that is “a pistol you can deploy right now is better than a rifle that’s in your trunk.” As such, I’m switching out the trunk gun with a backup pistol that’s secure but yet reachable from inside the passenger compartment. Yes, I am giving up something in firepower to do so, but it makes little sense to me to have a gear bag that I can grab quickly but a defensive weapon which takes me a lot longer to get my hands on.

Factoring into this decision is that I’m pretty comfortable with my ability with the 9mm Shield I carry around in more casual settings. I’ve shot the FBI qual twice with it and scored at the Instructor level both times, and I know I can consistently make first-shot hits from the holster with it out to 50 yards within three seconds. A rifle it’s not, but then again, I’m not looking to solve rifle-sized problems, I’m looking to get the hell out of dodge with what I can lay my hands on this very moment.

As such, I’ve put my backup Shield into a Hornady Rapid Vehicle Safe, and the primary means to open it is the RFID chip on the back of my phone case. Because I use my phone for directions and listening to podcasts while on the road, it’s usually in the console right next to me as I drive. I can grab it, open the Rapid Safe and retrieve my gun for use in just under four seconds.

Try doing that with a rifle in your trunk.

Right next to the safe in the passenger foot well is my get home bag, which means I can grab gun and bag and head out in just a few seconds. Yes, the bag is out in the open, but it’s black on black, which means a potential car thief will need to be eagle-eyed indeed to spot it as he saunters past my car.

The 9mm Shield gives me more thump than my LCP2, and can be used as a backup for when I’m carrying my primary Shield. Inside the get home bag is a Sticky Holster that can fit both the Shield and LCP2 and yet serve as a pocket holster or an IWB holster if needed in a pinch. Yes, a dedicated holster is better choice for IWB, but we are talking about a situation where something that can do 80% of more than one job is better than carrying two tools that can do 100% of their dedicated job.

So between the get home bag and the gun safe, I think I’ve finally settled on a system that will keep me and my loved ones safe, no matter where we roam. Hopefully, I’ll never have to find out, but I ready if that day ever arises.

Move And Shoot

Move and Shoot

The motivation for yesterday’s post on slimming down my “get home” bag came from Greg Ellifritz’s excellent article on this topic. Call it your social disruption bag or unexpected tornado bag or whatever you want, it’s the bag you grab when you have to leave your car RIGHT NOW. I’ve always thought that Echo Sigma was on the right track with their pre-packaged 24 hour bags built on a plain ol’ hydration pouch: Something lightweight, low-key and yet capable enough to deal with a wide range of emergencies, and so that’s where I started.

Rather than go with their kit, though, I wanted to build my own, and I based what I carry on the wilderness survival Rule of Threes:

  • You can last three minutes without oxygen (Note: This also includes bleeding out after a traumatic injury like a gunshot wound…)
  • You can last three hours in harsh weather without shelter
  • You can last three days without water
  • You can last three weeks without food.

This is what drives my gear choices. I find no end of amusement in “survival kits” that include fish hooks and fishing line but don’t include some means of purifying water. Priorities, people, priorities! Also, if the medical gear in your “bug out” kit is nothing but a few bandaids and some gauze, you are not preparing for the things that will kill you dead quickly, you are preparing for a paper cut.

I’ve been trying for a years now to compile a small, lightweight 24 hour kit that doesn’t look like I’m headed off to Fallujah. I’ve used everything from an OD Green bag covered with MOLLE to a canvas and leather man-purse, and yet I couldn’t seem to come up with the right combination of utility and ubiquity. After yet another failed attempt, where I bought a cheap, tiny MOLLE sling bag and then added on pouches for a water bottle and medkit, I went back to where I started: The old UTG* messenger bag I bought years ago to serve as the original bug-out bag in my car.

And you know what? It works pretty well. My mistake last time with using this bag was trying to cram in too much gear into it, so once I pared it things down to the bare essentials, it works great. That whole “Two is one and one is none” thing is fine if you’re not humping around your gear, but once you realize that carrying redundant gear means carrying around twice the weight, you pare things down to just the bare minimum.

The contents of the bag are much the same as my previous tactical hipster bag, with a few additions.

  • I’ve a little more up to speed on trauma stuff, so I swapped out the (questionable) SWAT-T tourniquet in my old bag for the proven SOFT-T and a Pocket Emergency Wallet from PHLster.
  • Water. I love these Berkey bottles, as they clean up the taste of nasty-smelling municipal water and, along with a coffee filter and an Aquatab, allow you drink just about any available water, potable or not. I also added in a small stainless steel camping cup, because needing to heat or boil water is always a thing.
  • Greg Eliifritz’s article reminded me of how common airborne particulates are in an urban emergency, so I added in a pair of safety googles and a filter mask, and I also added in some work gloves, because they’re useful.
  • Rain (and lots of it) is my primary weather concern here in SW Florida, so shelter-wise, rather than go with an umbrella that requires a free hand and can break in high winds, I went with a plastic rain slicker. The secondary weather concern is the heat and humidity, and downsizing from a huge backpack to this small bag will significantly decreases my burden if I need to walk for a while before I get to someplace safer.
  • A fixed blade knife (a Mora, because they’re decent and I won’t cry if I lose it) and a nice, bright flashlight, in this case a Streamlight ProTac 2L-X that kicks out 500 lumens and is USB-rechargeable. I also added in some moleskin bandages, because if I’m not able to drive, that means I’m probably walking, and there’s a good chance the shoes I’ll have on at the time are not meant for the long haul.

Inside the back zipper pocket is a holster, namely, a Sticky Holster that fits my two most-common carry guns, the LCP2 with laser and the S&W Shield, and I’ve included a dozen or so extra rounds for each gun in the bag.

The black bag disappears against the black carpet of the passenger foot well in my car, making it inconspicuous and unnoticeable to the casual outside observer. When someone sits in the front seat, the bag goes into the back seat, and if all the seats are full, well, then, it goes in the trunk and we deal with that reality when/if it happens.

I’ve also ditched the trunk gun, because even though I’ve gone to great lengths to make my car as inconspicuous as possible, there is still a non-zero chance it will be broken into and the rifle I had been keeping in my trunk would wind up on the street, which is the definition of a sub-optimal outcome.

And let’s face it: If I can’t deal with what’s happening around me outside of my home with a pistol and some spare rounds, it’s time to go full roof Korean and call up some friends to help me out.

More on my vehicle-based self-defense changes tomorrow.

 

* Yes, it’s a UTG, and no, I don’t care. If I were shooting people in the face more often, then I’d care, but I’m not, so I don’t. So there. 

Shoot And Move

Shoot and Move

I had a conversation with a friend of mine awhile ago who was recently mustered out from combat military duty and is now in the gun biz. When I told him that for me, an AR-15 is at best a tertiary weapon, he paused for a second to process that information. When he was in the service shooting people in the face, a rifle like the M4 was his day-in, day out weapon, but for me in the civilian world, I even if I could carry a rifle on a regular basis, I don’t, because I don’t want to be That Guy. As a result, I am much more concerned about my ability to deploy my carry pistol as the situation requires (or not), because the chances are that’s what I’ll have with me when things get wacky. To borrow from my friend Peter, if it ain’t on you when you need it, it ain’t your primary weapon.

With that in mind, I’ve been re-thinking the gear that I have with me but not on me. I’ve had a large bug out pack in my trunk for years now, but the fact is, that pack is inaccessible to me unless I stop, park, get out my car and lift it out of my trunk. This is great for when I’m camping or traveling far from home, but how does that work on my daily commute? What if Occupy $NAMEOFCITY decides to do something stupid on my way into work? How does a 72 hour bag and trauma kit in my trunk help me when I have no time to get to my trunk?

Answer: It doesn’t.

I’ll still keep the big bug out bag around, though, as it also serves the same purpose that my bug-in kit serves: It will help keep me and my family safe for 72 hours or more, no matter what happens. It’ll will also be useful to have when traveling out of town and also help augment the bug-in kit, but it won’t travel with me every day anymore.

As a result, I’ve put my in-car kit on a diet and pared it down to something that I can easily store inside the passenger compartment of my car, ready to grab at a moment’s notice if things get a little weird and crazy as I’m out and about.

More on this tomorrow.

“My Dad Was A Cop. He Taught Me How To Shoot.”

“My Dad Was A Cop. He Taught Me How To Shoot.”

Oh really?

Cops have a lot of jobs to do, and shooting people is only one (very small) job among many. I’m ridiculously happy that the cops are around and they should be celebrated for what they do, but chances are “firearms instructor” is not one of the jobs they perform on a regular basis.

Speaking of trust icons, let’s talk about the “I know how to shoot, I was in the military” canard. Yes, you may know how to lay down suppressive fire with an M240 Bravo, but that skill (thankfully) doesn’t have a whole lot of application in the civilian world.

Pistols? Pistols have a LOT of application in the civilian world, and the standards for excellence in the military for pistols is not so excellent.

The new Marine Combat Pistol Program Qualifier is designed to be a more “real world” qualifier than their previous one which was pretty much just a bullseye match in olive drab.

Here’s the course of fire for the new qualifier.

Yes, you have FIVE SECONDS to draw and shoot two rounds into center-mass of a target that’s seven yards away, and the rest of the par times are equally ridiculous. If you’re any kind of competition shooter (like D Class or better) or have taken a decent two-day pistol course, you should have no trouble qualifying as Expert on this course of fire.

And it’s not like the target they use is extra-small, either. The 10 Zone, the highest-scoring part of the target is bigger than the already generous scoring area of a USPSA target, and compared its a veritable broad side of a barn compared to the IDPA target in the photo to the right. Heck, I’d bet that 3/4ths of my friends on social media could qualify as Expert using half the allotted time for the drill, and more than a few of them could easily do it in half the time and at double the required distance.

Are their good, nay, great military and law enforcement shooters? Of course there are. Does being in the military or law enforcement automatically make you a great shooter? Probably not.

 

 

 

Flash Site Pictures, Monday Edition.

Flash Site Pictures, Monday Edition.

I’ve been busy.

Really satisfied with how my hog hunting with an AR-15 article for American Hunter turned out, and I’m also really satisfied how the hunt itself turned out. We had the backstrap from my hog for dinner last week with some mixed vegetables and rice pilaf, and it was some of the best pork I’ve had in my life.

My take on handheld lights vs. weapon mounted lights (Spoiler alert: Is it too much to ask for both?).

The ancient Greeks invented the Olympics as a way to practice beating each other up without beating each other to a pulp. Other cultures have also figured out that sport is useful way to practice combat, so why is there any doubt as to whether competing in practical shooting is a good thing or not for the person who carries a self-defense firearm?

A round up of 10mm handguns out there right now. I find it somewhat interesting that 10mm is back with a vengeance, and the cartridge designed to replace it, the .40S&W, is quickly fading from view.

And now some stuff not written by me.

It’s always the guns and never the mess we’ve created (in a Chicago paper, no less…).

Even Canadian-style gun control isn’t enough for some Canadians. Yes, there is a slippery slope, and yes, it is to be avoided at all costs.

A nice little 40 round practice drill for precision rifle. The tetonic plates are shifting here, and I might MIGHT!) get a chance to shoot some .22 precision in the near future. Looking forward to it.

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 601-700

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 601-700

I started this test with the intent to prove that a budget (sub-$1000) 1911 in .45ACP could stand up to a 2000 Round Challenge, and so far, so good. Something I didn’t know before I started, though, is that Greg Ellifritz has a list of the best 1911’s out there, and Colt is on the list.

This gives me hope.

One of the things that’s probably helping the reliability of my test gun is that I’m using nothing but Wilson Combat magazines in the test 1911. It’s fairly well-known that magazines are the Achille’s heel of the 1911, and I made the decision early on to use top-quality mags, and so far, so good.

I went shooting with Jeff Street last week and put 100 rounds of Remington UMC .45 ACP through the Colt Competition. Nothing happened except a big, ragged hole appeared in the target. This is getting boring. Boring is good.

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:
100 Rounds Remington UMC .45ACP FMJ

Results:

No issues.

Thanks to Lucky Gunner for providing the ammo for this test.

Optimizing A Walther PPS For Concealed Carry

Optimizing A Walther PPS For Concealed Carry

The Walther PPS is a popular defensive pistol because it’s thin, compact and easy to shoot. The new M2 model is an updated, improved version, but the original PPS is still a terrific little 9mm gun for concealed carry.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t get better, and here’s some suggestions for getting the most out of your PPS.

  1. Spare Magazines. The PPS ships with two seven round magazines, one with flush-fitting baseplate and one with an extended baseplate to give you a better grip on the gun. This is good, but if you’re going to do any training at all with your PPS, you’ll soon find out that you need more magazines. Also, because they wind up getting dropped on the ground and smashed into things, a pistol magazine is, in truth, a semi-disposable item. Get more than what ships with your gun. You’ll need them.
  2. Sights. Three dot sights are common on defensive pistols, and the PPS has a decent set of them. Three dot sights have a downside, though. It’s not unusual for your eyes to dart between the front sight and rear sight, and the sights on the PPS aren’t night sights. That’s easily changed, though, and several manufacturers make sights for the PPS. I myself am a huge fan of Trijicon’s HD sights because they have an easy-to-post dot on the front sight but still have a night sight capability that shows up when it gets dark.
  3. Holster. There are essentially two options for holsters for concealed carry: Inside the waistband (IWB) and outside the waistband (OWB). Me, I’m a fan of IWB holsters because in general, they’re easier to conceal than OWB holsters but is just as fast to draw from. For first-time gun owners, though, I recommend an OWB holster because they don’t require you to wear pants that are an inch (or more) wider than what you you wore before you carried a gun. Galco makes a terrific leather OWB holster for the PPS that I can heartily recommend for everyday carry.
  4. Ammo. Modern bonded jacketed hollow point ammunition is what turned 9mm into round known for punching holes in people to one that millions of people rely on to protect their lives. Lucky Gunner did a very exhaustive comparison of the modern defensive rounds for 9mm pistols like the PPS, and the 150 grain Federal Micro HST round did very, very well in that test.
Abby Normal

Abby Normal

Because I hate wasting good stuff at an away game.

Dear Tactical Abby,

I’ve been told by people on the internet that I must have a “no compromise” attitude when it comes to my personal security, but I worry that I have made a very bad decision. I really think that I’ve compromised my personal security and the safety of my family by not carrying around an M4, a plate carrier and a half dozen 30 round mags, as experience has clearly shown that this is the optimal choice for self-defense. Instead, I’ve foolishly, even recklessly compromised my security, and I’ve decided to carry JUST a pistol. What ever shall I do? How shall I rectify this dangerous oversight on my part? Because of what I’ve done, Abby, I’ve put myself and my entire family at risk!

Signed,
Defenseless in SW Florida.

Dear Defenseless in SW Florida. 

Have you ever considered learning what you can and can’t do with a pistol, no matter if it’s a full-size service gun, compact 9mm or a .380 pocket rocket and then putting that knowledge to use defending yourself and your family? Metal and plastic don’t adapt to changing environments, people do, though, and they do so all the time. That’s what training does for you; it also you to adapt faster than the other guy and come out on top.

A pistol, any pistol is a compromise, and any pistol is also a suboptimal personal defense weapon. This is the reason why the military carries rifles around to shoot people in face rather than pistols. People like you and me, however, don’t carry around rifles because we don’t want to look like those open carry maroons who walk into Starbucks with their rifles at low ready. Instead, we choose a suboptimal platform (a pistol) for our comfort and the comfort of those around us. Get a pistol. Learn to use it well and then most importantly, carry something with you wherever it is possible to do so. Even the wimpiest of .22’s on your person when you need it is a more effective defensive tool than a tricked out Glock that’s nowhere to be found.

Signed, 

Tactical Abby

Flash Site Pictures

Flash Site Pictures

I’ve been saying this for a while now: If your Special Operations training can’t be translated into civilian terms, it’s not useful for the armed citizens.

6 Tips For Imporving Your Accuracy With a Rimfire Rifle.

”All I’m saying is that the debate about firearms often simmers down into ad hominem attacks that presuppose gun owners and criminals are a part of the same social group.”

It’s not about the guns.

Prep for the beginning of a crisis, and then work towards the end. Hurricane season is starting up again here, so yeah, prepping is on my mind once more.

Hunting organizations are beginning to (finally) figure out that they need to get more adults into hunting.

Is .380ACP the new 9mm?