And As It Turns Out, I Have Done Just That.

And As It Turns Out, I Have Done Just That.

Me, five years ago:

According to the commenters (some of which are combat medics), I needed to start with a pressure and a tourniquet rather than the QuikClot.

Which exposes a big gaping hole (no pun intended…) in my training: Aside from CPR and some basic first aid, I’ve had no training in dealing with the effects of a negligent discharge.

Today, I’ve had a day-long course in first-aid trauma med, and I carry either an improvised tourniquet or a full-on SOF-T everywhere I go.

Cool.

Which Is Better: An Indoor Gun Range Or An Outdoor Gun Range

Which Is Better: An Indoor Gun Range Or An Outdoor Gun Range

Owning a gun is great thing, but owning a gun and shooting it on a regular basis is even better. Having a gun in your house isn’t going to make you safe anyomre than having a car on your driveway is going to get you to the corner grocery store: You have to learn how to use it safely and efficiently so it to do the job it’s supposed to do.

So what does it actually cost a new gun owner to shoot on a regular (monthly) basis? In 2013, back when I lived in Phoenix, I visited some of the local indoor and outdoor ranges to find out what a monthly practice session might cost a new shooter. My assumption is that you’ll go to the range and spend an hour shooting 50 rounds of FMJ ammo from a 9mm pistol at three different man-sized targets, which based on my experience, is about what most casual shooters do on a typical day at the range.

Ranges: Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club (outdoors), Ted’s Shooting Range (indoors), Caswell’s Shooting Range (indoors), Phoenix Rod and Gun Club (outdoors), Scottsdale Gun Club (indoors) and Shooters World (indoors).
Lane Rental: One person for one hour
Ammo: 50 rounds of 9mm FMJ. For ranges without ammo sales (PRGC, Rio), I used the price of a box of 9mm at my local WalMart.
Gun Rental: A 9mm pistol for one hour. For ranges without gun rentals, I used the cost of a typical quality 9mm pistol ($540) spread out over 12 months.
Membership: One year’s individual membership. Range memberships at Ted’s is for 14 months, not a year, so I reduced that amount for comparison purposes.

Just VisitingLane RentalAmmoGun RentalMonthly CostYearly Cost 
Rio Salado$5.00$13.00$45.00*$18.00$756.00
Caswells$15.00$21.00$7.00$43.00$516.00
Ted's Shooting Range$14.00$18.00$9.00$41.00$492.00
Shooters World$15.00$15.00$10.00$40.00$480.00
Scottsdale Gun Club$15.00$14.00$14.00$43.00$516.00
Phoenix Rod and Gun Club$14.00$13.00$45.00*$27.00$864.00
With MembershipLane RentalAmmoGun RentalMonthly CostYearly CostMembership
Rio Salado$0.00$13.00$45.00*$65.92$791.00$95.00
Caswells$0.00$18.90$0.00$48.07$576.80$350.00
Ted's Shooting Range$0.00$18.00$4.50$44.17$530.00$260.00
Shooters World$0.00$14.25$5.00$40.08$481.00$250.00
Scottsdale Gun Club$0.00$13.00$0.00$44.67$536.00$380.00
Phoenix Rod and Gun Club$0.00$13.00$45.00*$71.75$861.00$165.00

* $45 / month reflects the cost of owning your own pistol, spread out over 12 months

So for just a couple hundred dollars more per year or so, memberships at Rio Salado or Phoenix Rod and Gun look like a real bargain, right? After all, that price includes a new gun, and they have long-distance rifle ranges as well.

Not so fast.

First off, they’re outdoor ranges. Not bad, now that temperatures in the Phoenix area are leveling off, but that sucks when it’s 115 degrees outside or, for colder climes, if it’s winter and the snow is waist-deep on the ground.

Secondly, the public ranges at both outdoor ranges have a minimum distance that you can set up targets, about 8 yards or so. Not a big issue for some, but if you’re trying to train a new shooter, it can get discouraging for them to shoot and shoot and shoot and not see decent groups on the target.

Thirdly, you can pull down at a set up targets at an outdoors public range only during cold range times, and those happen on a schedule, and not when you need them.

Finally, most outdoor ranges have pistol bays, where you’ll be the only one shooting and you can set up and take down targets however you like. These are where the real improvement happens, as shooters can set up advanced drills that involve drawing from a holster, moving with your gun in-hand and multiple targets at multiple distances.

So which should you chose?

That depends on your needs. I use both on a regular basis. I’ve been a member at Rio for over 5 years. I like their public range, and I like the people. But I’ve come to appreciate the comfort of indoor shooting and the convenience of reserving a lane in advance in an indoor range.

It comes down to what kind of a shooter you are. A public outdoor range membership is great for people who know what they want in a firearm and don’t need (or want) to try out new guns. However, indoor rental ranges are the perfect for  people getting into the shooting sports: For less than $50 a month, you can try out many different firearms and find the one(s) that suit you best and lets you grow into firearms ownership at your pace.

Either way, there are no bad choices: The worst day at the range is still better than the best day in the office.

Trust Icons.

Trust Icons.

You know those silly images on e-commerce sites which show who provided their SSL or say things like “Protected by McAfee”? To someone like me, who’s been on the web for over two decades, they’re at best a silly gesture and at worst totally useless.

But here’s the dirty little secret about them: They work. They bring in more business. Sites that have those images on their checkout pages have better conversion rates than sites that don’t have them. They’re called “trust icons”, and they work because people make buying decisions with their heart first, then with their head. They feel safe with a site that has them, and they want to do business with that site.

The same is true for firearms training, which is why trainers who talk about their military or law enforcement background can get away without little or no civilian training courses or instruction on how to teach anyone who isn’t being forced to sit in their classroom. They may not have be teaching stuff that’s particularly relevant to our lives as everyday people, but to many, many people out there, knowing that you’re getting your training from a cop or military veteran means you’re getting training from someone who has been there and done that, and you can trust what they say.

No matter if what they’re saying makes any sense or not.

A Bad Idea, Right From The Very Start.

A Bad Idea, Right From The Very Start.

This is an Alien Gear holster I received from the factory as a sample, back when I did marketing for a gun range. I’ve never worn it. Notice anything wrong here?

Don’t use an Alien Gear holster

Yep, it came from the factory with the neoprene already starting to fold over the kydex part, increasing your chances of getting in caught in your trigger guard and putting a round into your leg.

John Corriea of Active Self Protection has more on this. If you absolutely MUST carry in a hybrid holster, spend a few more $$$ and get a Comp-Tac: They put more time and effort into making it work, and it shows.

A SIGnificant  Event

A SIGnificant Event

Is SIG looking to get into the subcompact, single-stack arms race?

All signs point to “Yes”.

A single stack 9mm that uses the P320 Fire Control Uint would be really, really cool. Here’s hoping.

Update: Maybe a bespoke, slimmed-down version of the P320 FCU that can be dropped into single-stack .380’s, 9mm’s, .40’s and a .45 as needed would be pretty cool. Doubly so if a .22 version is possible.

The Year In Guns

The Year In Guns

It’s been a good year this year. I’ve managed to bring in a decent amount of side-job money, and that meant I had the wherewithal to buy myself some toys.

First up is the .300BLK pistol that I wrote up for Shooting Illustrated. I’ve tweaked it a bit with a Vickers sling and whatnot, and I like shooting it quite a lot.

Next is my suppressor for that gun, a SIG Sauer SRD762-QD. With wait times steadily falling on NFATracker.com, I expect to have it in-hand around March, if not a little sooner.

I hope.

I then put the Mossberg 930SPX that I had been using for 3 Gun out to pasture in favor of it’s gamer cousin, the 930 JM Pro. More competition is in the cards for me later this year, and so this gun will have a baptism by fire in the near future.

Smith and Wesson had a fire-sale on the first-edition 9mm Shields, and I picked up without a safety to replace the one I was carrying which had a safety. With the bladed trigger and other bits, there’s really no reason for an external safety on the Shield, and the darn thing is so small, it’s tough to flick off if accidentally switched on. Better not safety than sorry, I believe…

Lastly, I upgraded my 3 Gun AR with a new hand guard from Midwest Industries and an anodized aluminum stock from LeadStar Arms. That bloomin’ (literally) Bushnell red dot is leaving soon, probably swapped out for a Holosun dot.

As I said, a good year. Better than most.

See you in 2018!

Idol Threat.

Idol Threat.

The TSA has an interesting look at the various items it confiscated from people going through airport checkpoints. Among the obviously dumb ideas, (like trying to carry an item that LOOKS like gun but is really a knife onto a plane…) was this little tidbit of information:

Of the 86 firearms discovered, 73 were loaded and 24 had a round chambered.

The TSA specifies that they found these guns in carry-on bags, in other words, these are all off-body carry.

Here’s a breakdown of the guns found and the condition they were in when found:

Too bad. There's some decent guns here.

Only 85% of the people who had a gun in their bag for “self protection” had it loaded, and 28% had a round chambered. In other words, the 72% of the people who showed up to an airport with a gun thoughtlessly left in a bag they wanted to take on a plane had that gun in a condition where it was pretty much useless as for self-defense.

That says a LOT about the demographics of people who carry around a gun in a bag to make them “feel safe”.

 

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1141-1260

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1141-1260

I managed to squeeze in a little range time earlier this month to try out my new Comp-Tac Holster (spoiler alert: I *love* it) and shoot some more rounds through the LCP ][.

I started out with 70 rounds of Mozambique drill practice, done from 5 yards, and I’m kinda happy with the results.

Aside from the four obvious jerks (more on that later), that dude ain’t goin’ nowhere. I then threw caution into the wind and tried a Dot Torture at three yards, with predictable results.

Whoops

What’s interesting is what I learned from the shots I missed: Pretty much every missed shot on that target was because I was using the laser to aim, not my sights, and when I saw the green dot wobbling around on-target, I snatched the trigger, with very predictable results. When I took my time to aim, as I did on Dot 3, I did pretty well.

Lesson learned.

The other half of the range session was devoted to working with the new holster for my CZ P07 Duty, a Comp-Tac CTAC. I’d been hanging on too long the Crossbreed I first got for it, to my everlasting shame. With a class with Ernest Langdon in my future, I wanted something I could use with confidence on the range and in everyday life. The CTAC more than fits that bill. It uses kydex to hold the gun, with two leather bolsters attached to belt clips to help keep the gun comfortable. The kydex extends up and covers the slide of your pistol, yet still allows you to get a full firing grip on the gun before you draw it from the holster.

I started out shooting a series of ball and dummy drills, and then switched to shooting another Dot Torture with the CZ and the new holster, and quickly ran into an issue with shooting it one-handed. To be honest, I’d concentrated so much on shooting my striker-fired S&W Shield these past few months, running the DA/SA trigger on the P07 with just one hand proved to be my undoing, and I totally bombed both the strong hand and support hand parts of the drill.

So I finished things up with just shooting one dot with one hand, mixing in double action and single action until I was satisfied with the results.

And I am.

All in all, a good range session. I shot 120 rounds through the LCP][, with no hiccups whatsoever.

Rounds Fired: 120 Rounds Winchester White Box .380 ACP

2000 Round Challenge Results
Total Rounds Fired: 1260
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993
Failure to feed: Round 873

Two Links Of Interest

Two Links Of Interest

I’ve been lucky in that I’ve bought very few guns that I’d consider to be “the wrong gun”. The 930SPX was the WRONG choice for 3 gun (whoops), the P3AT was a bad choice, but at the time I bought it, it was pretty much the ONLY choice in pocket .380s, and the Sccy has since turned out to be a pretty useful little “tackle box gun”.

Also, my review of the Armed Parent/Guardian class is up at NRA Family.

I really can’t express how much I was impressed with that class. I’ve walked away from other classes thinking about how I would apply the skills I learned in class to how I operate my pistol. I walked away from this class thinking about how I would apply what I learned in class to how I live my life.