It’s All In Your Head, Kid.

I was chatting recently with a friend of mine about one of our favorite topics, the lack of sponsorship for competitive shooters outside of the gun world. Somehow, during our conversation, the needle in my brain skipped a few grooves, and I was reminded of my years playing role-playing games, usually with the people who designed the games we were playing.

I had some great times playing D&D and other games, and met some good people, but what I couldn’t do (and still can’t, to this day) is relate what happened in those games to anyone who wasn’t there. Playing a role-playing game is so intensely inwardly-focused, it just doesn’t translate to the outside world.

There are a LOT of people, like Larry Corriea, Jon Favreau, Vin Diesel and others who have harnessed the imagination and story-telling skill of an RPG and turned it into a profitable gig for themselves, but no one, ever, has made a ton of cash by talking about the adventures that went on inside a role-playing game.

Now pick that up and drop it on competitive shooting. Inwardly-focused? Check. Small group of aficionados who seem to speak their own cryptic language? Check. Usable in the real world only through interpretation? Check.

Today, a lot of people are making INSANE amounts of money in gaming, but it’s in video games, not role-playing games. There’s something to be learned here for the practical shooting community, but I haven’t gotten a clear grasp of what it is yet.

Yet.

Building The Perfect Murse.

I realized that I promised you all an update on how my tactical hipster bag is working out for me.

It’s working out quite well. I carry it pretty much everywhere because it’s small, light weight and it’s either on my shoulder or in the front seat of my car. It doesn’t look threatening, sorta it looks like the messenger bag it actually is.

I’ve stuffed it quite full: There’s a few little odds and ends that I need to add in, but I’ve pretty much locked in what I need in a bag that carries that stuff that I can’t carry on my person.

Tactical man purse

The bag looks great, but I do have two issues with it. I wish it had a pocket in the back to stuff the things like papers, etc. that I accumulate from time to time, and the front pocket was just not capable of holding onto any pen that I clipped onto it (more on that later).

Here’s what I carry in the front pocket:

Front pocket stuff

The holster is there because the fabric of the front pocket of this bag is just a little too skinny for pens to clip onto. In addition to all the pens and earphones and whatnot inside the front pocket, I have a Thrunite 2xAAA flashlight and a Kershaw Shuffle clipped in that pouch, right where I need them. If anything, I’d like to swap out the folding Kershaw knife with a fixed-blade knife, because a fixed blade knife gives me options that a folder just can’t offer.

Here’s the stuff that’s inside the bag.

Stuff inside the bag

Starting at upper left, that’s my iPad Air with a ZaggKeys keyboard cover, (which I’m using right now to compose this post), a mesh bag that I bought at my friendly Big Blue Discount Store which contains my phone and computer stuff, another mesh bag that contains my “prepping” gear, or the stuff that would make life easier if I have to go without the comforts of civilization for more than a few hours, a zip-closure bag full of medical gear, and my Altoids survival tin.

Phone Gear

I’m a big believer in the utility of the modern smartphone as a “survival” tool. Yes, they are not that useful if a cell network is unavailable, but if you can’t dial out, you can still use a smartphone to read books, take pictures or play Solitaire while you wait for help to arrive. As such, I have a micro-USB cord, an Apple Lightning cord, a cell phone battery that I got for free from my bank, a USB flash drive, a wall socket for a USB cable, a spare set of glasses and an empty grocery bag for trash or whatever. Yes, the spare set of glasses and trash bag have little to do with my phone, but this was as good a place as any to stash them.

Prepping Gear

This is the stuff that would make it easier for me to live my life if I were caught away from my home or car for more than a few hours. Call it a bug in bag, if you will. Starting from the upper left again, I have a disposable rain poncho (because Florida), a triangular bandage, a spare one gallon zip closure bag, a bandanna, a Gerber Dime multitool (It’s… ok. Good for it’s size, but I think I want something bigger and more useful.), a Gerber Shard that I had lying around, a one-shot pouch of sun screen (thank YOU, Blue Force Gear), a lighter and 6 feet of duct tape. I just ordered a bunch of disposable bug repellent wipes (because Florida) and some larger-sized Wet Ones to add to this pouch, and that should round things out quite well.

First Aid Bag

This is essentially a Patrol Officer’s Rescue Kit that’s been opened and stuffed into a zip-closure bag. I’ve added a vaseline gauze pad to use as a chest seal if needed, a couple of bandaids (because ouchies happen) and a face shield for CPR if needed. I’m missing some hemostatic gauze in this kit, so that’s on it’s way from Amazon.com. I am also not a big fan of using a zip bag to carry all this, so I just bought a cheap nylon first aid pouch to keep all this nice and secure until it’s needed.

Men's Messenger Bag

And that’s about it. One thing that I do need to add in there somewhere, in addition to everything else that I mentioned, is about $100 in emergency spare cash, because that sort of stuff is never not handy. As I said before, though, this bag goes along with me pretty much every time I leave the house, and it’s either on my shoulder or in the front seat of my car as I go about my day, and no one thinks that it’s anything more than a handy little man-purse, because, well, it is.

Pocket Pot

Well this looks like a handy addition to your bug-out bag: A foldable cook pot.

Yep, that’s right, not a nesting cook pot, not a metal scaled-down version of a bigger metal pot, but something that’s lightweight and collapsible.

I’m interested. VERY interested.

Pirates Of The Pirates Of The Caribbean.

Sean Sorrentino posted a terrific Marc MacYoung piece on ‘The Disneyland State Of Mind“, a mindset that Marc describes as slightly (or more than slightly) out of control and believes that dammit, I have a RIGHT to a good time, and HOW DARE YOU INTERRUPT ME HAVING A GOOD TIME!!!!!

I’ve written about how that applies to the interrupted good times of the Democratic Party over at Ricochet, but it also applies to our personal lives as well. To be honest, I was kinda troubled by how NORMAL it felt for me to carry around a knife and trauma kit inside a theme park. I mean, I’m on vacation, I’m SUPPOSED to be relaxing in a care-free environment with my family, and here I am wondering about how I’m going to smuggle things like a pointy-stabby blade past security.

And then I watched a violent domestic argument break out in front of me. No, I didn’t intervene, (because that’s what park security is for), but yes, it did wake me up to the fact that even though I was on vacation, reality itself was not on vacation, and bad things can and do happen in the happiest of places.

Having the means to defend myself and potentially deal with the consequences of lethal force didn’t affect my ability to have a good time. In fact, keeping an eye out for trouble also let me see the good things around me, like how many people around me were having as much fun as we were having inside the park. Being aware of what’s going around you means you’re aware of the good things going on around you, not just the bad things. It leads to a bigger life that’s more-connected with reality, not paranoia and fear.

Live in the moment. ALL of the moments.


Update: I wrote this post and queued it up for publishing before Monday night’s horror. If anything, it’s any more appropriate now.

Current Semi-Formal Carry

As I’m carrying around the LCP][ now instead of a P3AT, I thought a brief update was in order. Clockwise from upper left.

Looking over everything, I could really use a tourniquet of some kind and more options for less-lethal. However, there is just X amount of room in a pair of dress pants, and since the strong-side front pocket is completely dedicated to gun and holster, the weak side pocket has to carry everything else, and it can get a little crowded in there.

And no, carrying in an ankle holster is right out. Can’t stand the way they feel, and I tend to cross my legs when I’m sitting, increasing the odds of something on my ankle getting spotted.

Ruger LCPII 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 485 – 635

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge

LCPII FTEMy life’s been pretty hectic these past few weeks, but now that I’m back home (for awhile, at least), I had the time to head out to the range and put more rounds through the LCPII.

Really starting to like this little gun.

The range session did not start well: I had a Failure To Eject on round #4 of the first magazine, but the other 149 rounds ran fine. I concentrated on running the gun in some drills more oriented to self-defense, as I’ve decided to start carrying the LCPII four days out of seven, and this little gun did not disappoint.

One thing I’m finding out about this gun is that it’s surprisingly easy to shoot one-handed. A gun this small doesn’t have a lot of real eastate for your weak hand to hand onto and it’s so light, it’s easy to hold for long period of times in one hand. As a result, going from two-handed to strong hand only is not that big of a jump, and shooting it one-handed doesn’t affect accuracy all that much. Speed, yes (the lil’ sucker does jump around a bit), but accuracy, no.

CLP Defensive Drills

That’s 150 rounds of PMC Bronze FMJ shot as fast as I could settle the sights near the target and as fast as I could pull the trigger. I didn’t have a timer running, but based on other range days with this gun, I’m guessing my splits were around 0.3 to 0.5 seconds. Is that fast enough to become a BUG Gun Master? Oh no. Is it fast accurate enough to make it through a lethal force encounter?

Probably.

All 150 rounds were shot from hree to seven yards distance. This is NOT a long-range gun, 7 yards (maybe even 10, on a good day) is about the furthest distance I’d feel comfortable shooting this gun. Most of the 150 rounds were shot with both hands on the gun, though some were shot strong hand / weak hand only (about 50 rounds or so). Some were shot with diagonal or backwards movement, some not. The point of this wasn’t to put a one-hole group on paper, it was to see how the gun and myself work under stressful conditions, and I’m satisfied with the results so far.

But I’m always trying to get better.

One FTE on round #4, (round number 489 since it was cleaned, and the 3rd FTE so far).

Rounds Fired : 150
150 Rounds PMC Bronze

2000 Round Challenge Results
Total Rounds Fired: 635.
One possible failure to eject on round 116, two failures to eject, rounds 400 and 489.

Begin with Agreement and work from there.

The “conversation about guns” is turning in our direction. Keep it going. People, even liberals, are starting to understand that they are their own first responder. Emphasize safety, both yours and everyone else’s. No one thinks you shouldn’t protect your kids. No one thinks that learning first aid is a bad idea. No one thinks that flashlights aren’t handy. Nobody freaks out over a Swiss Army knife, except over-enthusiastic enforcers of “zero tolerance” policies. Start with the points you agree on, then work from there. Make it personal. Talk about your family, and how your love for them drives what you’re doing. Bring it down from the 10,000 foot level of “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!” and the finer points of Constitutional Law to stories about why you want to stay safe. If they have a point that you agree on, like keeping guns out of the hands of violent felons or away from toddlers, agree with them, because it makes you and your positions more reasonable. Gun owners have been portrayed as wanting to shove guns into the hands of four year olds.

Prove them wrong.