A weird thing happened last week as my wife and I were clothes shopping. I was hanging out, waiting for her to try on her clothes in the changing room, and as I usually do, I was firmly ensconced in Condition Yellow, splitting my time between keeping updated on what’s on going on by checking my phone and glancing around, seeing what was what and if anything was there that shouldn’t be there.
And I realized that a) that sort of thing seems… normal to me and b) no one else in the store was doing the same.
And that was a little jarring.
Now, I am not going to go full Grossman and “feel the wind blow through my cape,” but I understand how that emotion can spring up inside people who are serious about the armed citizen lifestyle. I have no desire to become a middle-aged Batman, but the difference in mindset between how I see the world now and how I saw it before I learned to carry is quite jarring.
It’s been a few months since I carried a pocket .380 as my primary defensive firearm. The fact is, though, that even when I carried a tiny little gun like my LCP2, I never feel under-gunned. Was it the optimal self-defense gun? Of course not, there is no such thing… a pistol, ANY pistol is a compromise, the LCP2 (and guns like it) compromise firepower in favor of portability and concealability. I know what I can do and can’t do with my LCP2, and I live within those limits. A Glock 19 is not an überwäffen: It also has limitations, and if you don’t know what they are, you’re in worse shape than I am with my pocket .380.
If you carry a pocket gun, and you haven’t put it (and yourself) to the test, do so, otherwise you’re relying on hope, not knowledge.
Tam took a picture of me at TacCon last year, and I’ve been embarrassed to show it because, well, I look really, really fat in the picture. And I was.
I’ve managed to lose about 15 pounds or so in the six months since TacCon, and while that is nothing compared to other people I know who’ve lost 40+ pounds this year, I’m managed to do it without any major changes in my life. I’ve cut out pretty much all sweets except for the occasional spot of ice cream, switched to drinking bourbon and scotch instead of beer, and I walk about two miles every evening.
Am I where I want to be? No. I still need to work on my flexibility and upper body strength, but it’s nice to know with a little effort, I can make myself slightly less out of shape than usual.
It’s also the #1 article in the history of Shooting Illustrated, and by a ridiculous amount (as in 10x the traffic of anything else they’ve posted, ever), because at the time, it was one of the first articles out there to say that maybe, just maybe, a .38 with pink grips isn’t the best gun for a women. That article flew around social media, and I honestly can’t tell you how many women commented with “Thank you! I’ve been waiting for years for someone to write an article like this!”
Now, was my methodology off and were those gun choices very flawed? Yeah, probably. I was new to the gun writing game, and those guns were the guns I had access to at the time. If I were to do it again, I’d add in some caveats about the carry gun, and toss in a G19 or the like.
However, five years after it was published, there STILL isn’t another article out there which covers women choosing their own guns, but yet I can find hundreds of articles on the best way to transition from your AR to a pistol.
Seems to me we have our priorities mixed up a bit…
Someone with at least 100 hours of classes from a variety of instructors
Now, to be fair, I can and have shot all of those drills at those levels, but to be honest, I don’t really consider myself to be an advanced pistol shooter. While it’s true that I’m rapidly approaching the point of diminishing returns, I still have two hills to climb.
I want to be USPSA B Class in Production
And for some reason, the NRA Instructor Qual is kicking my @$$ right now, and I am less than happy with that. 20 shots into a 5″ circle at 15 yards isn’t THAT hard, but for some reason, I just can’t do it right now.
Am I an advanced shooter? Yeah, kinda, I guess. Am I satisfied with my shooting ability right now? Heck no.
This photo of a target was posted in firearms-related Facebook group I belong to, and the person who posted it claimed he “knew how to shoot.”
Look, we can say we “know how to shoot,” but at some point, we are going to have to back up those words with our actions. Ideally, we should demonstrate our ability to shoot on a range, in a safe, controlled environment before the need arises to defend our lives with our defensive firearm of choice. In other words, we fail on the range so we don’t fail when our lives are on the line.
So when it comes to pistols, how do I personally define someone who “knows how to shoot”?
I never have to remind them about safety
Their carry gear is up to the task: No nylon waist holsters, small of the back carry or similar stupidity
Their carry gun is of decent quality and is loaded with good, name-brand defensive ammunition, with one in the chamber and appropriate safeties engaged.
They have taken a firearms class after their concealed carry course from an instructor who has more than just NRA credentials
They can shoot an El Presidente in 16 seconds or less
That’s the baseline for someone who I would consider to someone who knows how to shoot. That first item, knowing and practicing the rules of gun safety is THE most important one. Statistically, the person you are most likely to shoot is your own sorry self, and rock-solid safety habits can take care of a lot of that worry. You can achieve some of items two and three with some money, research and practice at home, but items four through six are only achievable if you step outside your comfort zone, realize that no, you are not a good shot, and make a conscious effort to change.
Everybody wants to lose weight. Not everybody stops eating candy. Everybody wants to be a good shot, but not everyone wants to accept the fact that they really aren’t.
On the right, I think we’ve identified markers for people who’ve gone too far in their ideology, and it looks to me that on the right, the marker we’ve identified is racial superiority… Here’s the issue: We know that things can go too far on the right, and we know that things can go too far on the left. We know what the markers are for going too far on the right, but we don’t know where the markers are for going too far on the left.
We can have a debate on the validity of Dr. Peterson’s work as a whole a later date, but he is spot-on here.
Now, pick up what he just talked about, that the progressive left has no concept of knowing when things have gone too far, and put it down on top of the current progressive urge for violence. I know when I’ve gone too far, when I’ve let my emotions have the wheel, and I do my absolute level best to eliminate those moments from my life, because I know the consequences can be quite literally mortal.
We in the applied violence community understand the need for restraint when it comes to violence and to use it only in “The Gravest Extreme.” This is because we realize that there is huge potential for negative outcomes if violence is used to settle a dispute, and we want to avoid that potential at pretty much all costs.
That concept does not exist right now in the AntiFa movement. To them, the only possible negative outcome is that they will fail, and their idea of what fascism is like will take root in the U.S. Everything else, every courtesy of polite society and restraint against violence must be cast aside in order to prevent that outcome from happening.
The idea that you can be too violent is totally alien to progressives, because if you are literally fighting Hitler and his fascists, why would you want to fight such a horror with anything less than ever fiber of your being? This is fascism we’re fighting, they say, of course it’s a fight to the finish, and we’ll use every means at our disposal to win.
Okay, first the bad news: The Colt Competition that I’m torture-testing really crapped the bed on this outing, with four Failures To Feed with Federal 230 grain JHPs in the first 100 rounds.
But a thought hit me: I’ve not cleaned the magazines on this gun in over a thousand rounds, and we all know that the magazines are a big choke point with the 1911 platform, and a dirty magazine might just have something to do with a gun failing to feed. To test out this theory, I shot the gun for the next 50 rounds using the mags that shipped with the gun, mags that I’ve used only for Barney-ing up the gun before a stage, and it went the next 125 rounds without a hitch.
Now that the test is over, it’s time to refurbish this gun and tune it to my specifications, so I’ll be sending it up to KGB Customs to have some work done on it. First up will be new springs pretty much everywhere and I’ll also be checkering on the front strap to give me a better grip. I have a literal boxful of 1911 parts from STI and other manufacturers like hammers and triggers and other parts which I’ve won off of shooting match tables that I’ll send up with the gun as well, just in case they’re needed. Sights-wise, I’m actually quite happy with the Novaks on the gun, so those won’t change, and the grips are also quite good, but I’ll probably add a magwell for faster reloads.
Overall, I’m very happy with the 1911 as a platform and this gun in particular. To be honest, if it weren’t for the word “Competition” in its name and the legal hassles that would come along with that name inside of a courtroom, I’d be 100% confident in using it as a daily carry gun. There are those who say that day of the 1911 has passed. I’m not one of them: I think the 1911 has more than a few years left in it, and I’m looking forward to shooting this gun for years to come.
I had a pastor who once said that if you’re being a jerk while talking about God, you’re not being persecuted or treated like a martyr for your faith, you’re being treated that way because you’re acting like a jerk. It’s not your message that is setting things off, it’s how you’re saying it.
When You Are 100% Certain You Didn’t Start Things
You and your mates carrying on at normal conversational levels for the environment you’re in is one thing. Talking about guns while dropping F-Bombs in the presence of children and drowning out the conversations around you is something else. I don’t care if you’re talking about a subject I really like; if you’re doing it while being a jerk, you deserve everything you’re about to get.
When It’s About Something Bigger Than You
If the argument starts with SJW’s getting in your face because what you are saying, it’s about something more than you. If it starts because of how you’re saying it, it’s about you. In that case, it’s yes on one, and no on two.
When You Have Other Options
Do you how to block a punch? Know how to wrassle someone to the ground without much fuss and bother? Do you carry pepper spray, a powerful flashlight or something other less-lethal device? No? Change your ways, and quickly. Going to guns when words are the weapon of choice will result in nothing but bad consequences for you. Take Managing Unknown Contacts or a similar training class. Learn how to defuse a situation with words, not with weapons, and yes, if things look to get dicey and lethal force is looming on the horizon, beat feet to someplace safer.
Most of all, be wise as to when and where you make your stand. Being a martyr might be inspirational to others, but it pretty much closes off all your options for the here and now.