I’m In.

Armed Parents

What should pop up in my social media feed right after I finished those last two rants but the news that Melody Lauer is bringing her Armed Parenting Class to Homestead Training Center in December of this year.

I’m in. I am SO in. I’ve been fascinated about this class from the moment I heard about it, for two reasons:

  1. The name of the course is *Contextual* Handgun. Think about that for a second… most (if not all) handgun training takes place in a context-free environment where we students are forced to adapt what we learn to our own lives. The instructor talks about presentation from a holster and post-engagement scan and assess and blah blah blah and then we students have to figure out what may or may not work for us.
    And let’s face it: If I was a single guy in the my late 20’s with no family, the threats that I might face and my reasons for defending myself or others would be quite different than they are now, with a wife and two young sons. If the reasons why were buying guns these days isn’t just “It’s a gun, and I can,” it makes sense to create training classes that are more than just “it’s a gun, here’s how you shoot it,” and yet nobody is doing that.
  2. People who I know and trust (and Bob Owens as well) have taken this course, and they’ve raved about it.

Really looking forward to this.

Door Kickers On The Home Front.

Thinking more about yesterday’s post, maybe the reasons behind some of the (in Tam’s wonderful words) “Battle of Fallujah cosplay” that’s going on now might be because of where our current wars are being fought. Unlike previous wars that were fought out in the boonies somewhere, vets from today’s wars are coming home with experience fighting on urban terrain, then they try to apply the knowledge that kept them alive in cities overseas to their lives over here, with varying results. There is a LOT we can learn spotting trouble before it happens from people who have done overwatch on a convoy for years and years, but on the other hand, if I have to do a “clear and hold” operation on a nearby neighborhood, that probably means a) I am living in the wrong freaking neighborhood and b) isn’t that the cop’s job, not mine?

That being said, why hasn’t the info on how the contractors and others working overseas doing personal security work spread far and wide amongst us civilians? I’ve been trying for YEARS to find a good entry-level “executive protection” class for schmoes like me, but to absolutely no avail. The bodyguard’s job is lot closer to my job (if you want to call it a job, because doing so treads dangerously close to SHEEPDOG! territory) as an armed civilian that the soldier’s role is. The role of a bodyguard is to make sure the people under his or her care make it through the day alive, and the tools that a bodyguard has to use (a good set of eyes, an alert mind, and maybe a pistol or something) is much closer to what I have on me right now than someone jogging down a dusty street in Mosul with his platoon might have with them.

I will take two paragraphs on pre-attack indicators and how to react to a quick punch to the head over ten pages on how to form up a stack and breach a door. Nothing against those who are running towards the sound of gunfire, I will always respect what they do, but what they do and what I do exist in two separate worlds.

How Far Is Too Far?

I was chatting last week with a friend of mine about AR optics (Yes, I do talk about them. No, they are not my primary focus*). The discussion was around the utility of the low-power, variable power scopes on a defensive rifle. After all, I reasoned, the 1-4x and 1-6x variable power scope rules the roost in 3 Gun, a sport that requires quick transitions from targets that are right in front of you to shots that are 300 yards and beyond.

Sounds like something that would be useful to combat, doesn’t it? So why is the conventional wisdom still get either a 1x red dot/holographic like an Aimpoint or EO Tech, or a fixed-power 4x like an ACOG for a “fighting gun”? Why? Because you should use what the cops and the military uses, not what gamers use, that ‘s what they say. I mean, yes, gamers have used red optics on pistols for decades but red dot optics don’t belong on a fighting pistol, right? RIGHT?

Or you know, not.

The conversation turned interesting, though, when the subject of making self-defense shots at distance came up. Yes, having an optic on your gun that helps you reach out and touch someone at 300 yards might be useful, but will it get you into legal trouble if you do so?

*thoughtful pause*

He has a point. As I learned earlier this year, one of the principles behind a successful use of “self defense” in a legal situation is imminence: Is the threat I’m facing one that is happening right now, or is it a threat for sometime in the future? I can’t shoot someone because they say they’re going to shoot me a week from Tuesday, but that situation changes if that person is ten yards away from me and clearing leather.

So what, then, is the actual useful range of your long gun?

I’d say it depends: If you’re unlucky enough to have the Leprechaun Liberation Army marching down your street, Molotov cocktails in hand and shouting about how it’s time for the little people to rise up and overthrow the humans, then yeah, 50 yards might be a little close for your safety. If they take it one step further and those pesky little buggers have rifles to go with their flaming bottles of gasoline and are pointing said rifles at the general populace, then it might get rather sporty in my neighborhood for a moment or two **.


* Focus. Optics. Get it? Get it?

** As always, remember that I am an okapi in the Bronx Zoo, not a lawyer. I can give you advice on feeding schedules and where to poop in your compound, but not on when it’s ok to shoot someone.

When I Became A Man, I Put Away Childish Things.

Kathy Jackson makes an excellent analogy about firearms training: At first, we climb up the mountain because we are want to escape the rising floodwaters. In time, however, we realize that we enjoy the climb, and we go up the mountain for the sake of the journey itself.

I’m not saying I’m on the North Face of Eiger, hanging on for dear life, but let’s say my life has a distinct vertical tilt to it right now.

Last year, I trained with Bob Vogel. This year, so far, it’s been a class with Andrew Branca, and in May, I’m taking MAG40 with Massad Ayoob. I wanted to take a John Farnham class as well, but time and tide worked against me.

I’m not lacking for training: I’m at just over three hundred hours right now, and while that’s a paltry sum compared to some of my peers, it’s got me to the point where I’m comfortable defending my life or the lives of my family with what I have with me most days.

But I didn’t get into this to be comfortable, I got into this to be better, and that’s why I’m moving on to the next level and learn from the masters of the craft.

A Good Knife.

To be honest, I will never understand people who leave the house without a knife, phone and a flashlight. Unless you work in a non-permissive environment like behind TSA lines or in a school, it only makes sense to carry around a sharp edge, along with some way of seeing in the dark and a means of communicating beyond yelling at the top of your lungs.

Oh, and a lighter would also be a good idea as well, because being able to start a fire is never not handy.

Part of the problem is, when people say “I want a good knife,” we recommend a tactical folder to them or a confusing mulittool when all they really wanted was something cheap and pointy.

Enter the Opinel folding knife. I got turned on to these almost thirty years ago by a knife-loving friend of mine, and I’ve tried to keep one nearby as often as I could.

opinel_1

The Opinel knife has changed very little since it was introduced almost 100 years ago. It has a simple, twist-lock design that keeps it closed when not needed or when it’s open, and that’s about it. It’s not the easiest knife in the world to open (it usually takes me both hands to open mine), but what it does, it does very, very well.

opinel_2

The blade is sharp. DANG sharp, and the handle fits comfortable in your hand. If you’re looking for a cheap, everyday utility knife, skip the cheap Chinese imports and go with something that’s been around for a hundred years.

Switching My Daily Carry

Ruger LCP II

At this point, with almost 400 rounds through it with nary a hiccup, I’m confident enough in the LCP II to carry it on days when I have to be more discreet than usual. Also, based on the results from this test and feedback from people whom I know and trust, I’m switching from Hornady 90 grain XTP’s to Hornady 90 grain Critical Defense ammo in my .380’s. The Critical Defense round was the only round to penetrate more than 12 inches of gel AND expand each and every round that was tested.

Look for more rounds downrange with the LCP II in the near future.

Ruger LCP II 2000 Round Challenge : Rounds 223-383

Even though most of my free time is spoken for (there should be an announcement on what I’ve been working on in the next two weeks or so). Nevertheless, I found some time this weekend to duck out for some range time and continue this test (thanks, Jason!).

Odds and Sods.

I’ve got a bunch of partially-full boxes of .380 ammo laying around, so I spent this range session burning through them and freeing up space in my ammo cans, along with shooting some of the PMC .380 provide to me by the good people at Lucky Gunner, so I loaded up them all up and shot them.

Because that’s what you do with ammo and guns, that’s why.

Ammo Fired
6 Speer Gold Dot JHP’s
11 Winchester White Box FMJ’s
2 Hornady XTP JHP’s (why I had just two of them, I’ll never know)
142 PMC .380 FMJ’s

All the rounds fired and fed with no issues, bringing the total round count up to 383 rounds fired, with one possible failure to feed on round 116 of the challenge.

One thing that’s interesting to note is that I shot 48 rounds strong hand only and 24 rounds weak-hand only with the LCP II during this range session. The gun felt surprisingly good in just my strong hand and I was able to shoot it as asccurate as I could with two hands, just a bit slower while doing so. In the weak hand however, ho boy, it first weird, and I am fairly used to weak-hand shooting. I don’t know how to describe it beyond saying it felt more like a water gun in my hand, not a real pistol.

As I said, weird.

Also, the gun is quite easy to shoot for extended periods of time compared to my P3AT (which, I realize, is quite a low hurdle to cross). I had no problems dropping 3 boxes of ammo in out of this gun, and left the range with the same amount of pain in my right hand as when I arrived.

That is to say, none. Not a bad accomplishment for any pocket 380, especially a lightweight polymer one.