Fully Koala-fied

Fully Koala-fied

We are constantly being judged by standards. We’ve had the idea that we need to achieve passing grades or better drilled into us since at least our first day of school, and that idea continues through our adult lives. My bonus at work is based in part on how much new business I bring in, and that number is a set amount known to me and my boss. Standardized drills and qualifications are important in firearms training because if you (God forbid) have to defend a life and go to court, pistol qualifications are admissible as evidence and are not subject to cross examination (how do you cross-examine a piece of paper?).

Also, even before it gets to court, if you can bamboozle the D.A. with a list of certifications and qualifications that prove that you know how to shoot (and shoot as well as an FBI Pistol Instructor), your chances of going to court get smaller and smaller.

Shoot a qual, and shoot it either on video or with a witness. Create a foundation for your ability to defend your life with your pistol, and see how you improve on that foundation.

Slick On The Draw.

Slick On The Draw.

John Corriea of Active Self Protection recently mentioned a couple of things that have been rattling around in my head for awhile*. First off is the ubiquity of reloading your gun when it comes to pistol drills and qualifications. Thanks to security camera footage and after-action reports, we know that the number of times an armed citizen has had to reload during a gunfight is pretty darn close to zero, and yet reloading on the clock is an element of oh so many drills and qualifications.

Maybe it’s time for that to change.

Secondly is the value of the sneaky draw. After watching 10,000 gunfights on video, John has seen a number of them that started when the armed civilian (who is usually in charge of if and when the violence will begin in an encounter with a bad guy) drew his gun surreptitiously from the concealment and used the advantage to surprise to come out ahead.

We spend oh so many hours on the range practicing our draw from concealment, shaving off bits of seconds so we can go from a 1.7 second draw to a 1.5 second draw.

But you know what’s faster than that? Having the gun in your hand when you need it, not in your holster. To the best of my knowledge (and correct me in the comments if I’m wrong), there is no one out there teaching how to do a sneaky draw from a holster as part of their pistol curriculum.

And maybe there should be.

 

* Heaven knows there’s a lot of room up there for them to rattle around in…

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1751-1850.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1751-1850.

I took the gun up to Shoot Center to do some indoor range work with the Crimson Trace green laser I have on the gun. I can see the dot during the day, but it’s indoors where it really shines.

Yes, I meant to write that.

The MagTech and Fiocchi ammo I had been using in this test caused this gun no end of troubles, so I loaded up my mags with Federal Premium .380 from Lucky Gunner, and I headed off to the range, where something interesting happened: I couldn’t hit crap with the laser, but did ok with the minimal iron sights on that little gun. Here’s the same target, shot at 10 yards with irons vs. laser.

While neither target is a shining example of marksmanship, something happened when I saw that green dot show up on the target, and BLAMMO, I jerked the trigger. However, when I lined up the sights, I took my time and pressed the trigger and managed to deliver acceptable results for a .380 pistol that’s slightly bigger than an index card. I’m *used* to the lousy sights on this gun, what I’m not used to is the green dot. More work on this is needed, but at a later date because I’m calling an end to the test.

Yep, that’s right, the 2000 round test of the LCP2 is ending 250 rounds short of the goal. On the 87th shot of my session, the pistol threw a Failure To Eject malfunction at me, and I’ve had enough. The gun was reasonably reliable through the first 500 rounds, but boy howdy did things go downhill from there.

Ammunition-wise, this was the tale of the tape. From what I’ve seen, if you get a change to shoot MagTech in an LCP2, don’t.

RoundQuan. ShotFTEFTF
Hornady Critical Defense 90 Grain JHP24
Tula Ammo 91 Grain FMJ12
Speer Gold Dot 90 Grain JHP6
Winchester White Box 95 Grain FMJ5062
Hornady Custom XTP 90 Grain JHP2
PMC Bronze 90 Grain FMJ85021
Magtech 95 Grain FMJ1004
Fiocchi 95 Grain FMJ1002
Federal American Eagle 95 Grain FMJ1001
Blazer Brass FMJ95 Grain 50

The LCP2 is a pocket pistol, not a service pistol. It’s not built to the same standards as, say, an S&W M+P or a Glock, and it turns out there’s a reason why they’re called “service” pistols… they’re meant to stay in service and not barf up ammo after 500 rounds.

Now, does this mean that the LCP2 is a bad choice for a defensive gun? No, not at all. Pocket guns just are not designed to take the same abuse as a service pistol and are rarely have even 500 rounds put through them over the course of their lifetime (although I was kinda hoping this one would go further into the test than it did).

Bottom line is if you have an LCP2 is that unless you’re as dumb as I was and took things to the extreme, you little gun will serve you well. Put 100 or so rounds through it a year to maintain competency, and save the torture tests for the guns that can take the abuse.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge Results

Rounds Fired
100 Rounds Federal Premium FMJ 

Total Rounds Fired: 1750
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993, 1277, 1323, 1359, 1737
Failure to feed: Round 873, 1526, 1534, 1556, 1583

Product Review: Mag Guts +1 Magazine Springs And SSA MagFix Baseplates

Product Review: Mag Guts +1 Magazine Springs And SSA MagFix Baseplates

I’ve pretty much settled on the Smith&Wesson Shield in 9mm as my “go-to” carry gun for more-casual occasions.

I can hear the teeth gnashing as I type this, but the fact is, I’ve trained with this gun, I know what it is capable of, and I am absolutely confident in my ability to perform with it on-demand. However, with 8+1 rounds it’s not the highest capacity gun on the market right now, and it means that carrying a spare magazine is usually a good idea.

Enter the MagGuts +1 Follower. At $22.95, it costs around what eight round Shield mags are going for these days, but it works as advertised. I popped the baseplate off of a S&W 9mm +1 mag, dropped out the existing spring and follower, and slid the new base plate right back on. I did have to do some spring-wrangling to get the follower to line up, and unlike the stock spring, the edges on the MagGuts spring are sharp and pointy. No blood was shed in the alteration of the magazine interior, but I did get the point, and I got it often.

I also received a couple of MagFix baseplates for the 8 round Shield magazine, and these are terrific. I had been using pre-production aluminum MagFixs on my Shield mags, and I was curious to see how the plastic ones would compare. The good news is, they’re easy to install and work well with the MagGuts +1 follower. The only change I had to make was to use the standard S&W baseplate instead of the thinner MagGuts plate, but it was an easy fix to make.

The MagFix is a great addition to the Shield: Besides solving the sliding insert problem, there’s a little lip on the bottom of the sucker that adds stability to my firing grip and makes the gun feel more secure in my hand. Also, it’s a low-profile solution to the 8 round mag baseplate issue. Other magazine baseplates for this gun, like the ones from ProMag or Taran Tactical, add bulk to the butt of your gun, making them harder to conceal. The MagFix, though, is essentially the same size as the S&W magazine and prints much less than other options.

All of this is moot, however, if the combination doesn’t work, so I shot 50 rounds through the MagGuts / MagFix combo over the weekend, and there were no issues to report. I would have liked to do more, and I will, but my initial impression is that this is a great way to get one more round out of your Smith and Wesson Shield, and if Nigel Tufnel taught us anything, it’s that one more is ALWAYS better.

The bottom line is, if you have a 9mm Shield, these would definitely be two additions I’d add to your gun to make it a more effective fighting tool

Slide, Hammer, Holster.

Slide, Hammer, Holster.

One thing I like about Step By Step Gun Training’s Shoot N Scoot events is that they give the average gun owner an opportunity to safely draw a loaded gun from a holster, shoot it, then re-holster. The gun industry assumes that such things are common skills that everybody knows how to do, but the reality is quite different, both inside the industry and with regular gun owners as well. Not everybody does gun games or has access to a pistol bay or backyard range, and very few indoor ranges allow for drawing from a holster. As a result, the only opportunity a student receives to draw and shoot a loaded gun from a holster is at a training class.

This is not a good thing.

A couple of observations from TacCon this year:

  1. There was a shooter in Lee Weems’ class shooting a SIG Sauer 938 from a wildly inappropriate holster, a Nate Squared tuckable hybrid holster carried at the appendix position. We can debate the utility of hybrid holsters at a later date, but the holster this student was using was definitely NOT set up for AIWB and they were struggling. A few minutes on a range with an instructor could have solved a bunch of problems there.
  2. I shot almost all the pistol classes at TacCon with my CZ P07 in a Comp-Tac CTAC carried on my strong-side hip. One thing I learned in MAG40 was to side-step left and push my right hip out towards the holster, giving me a clear path to the holster which didn’t put any body parts in mortal danger as I was re-holstering. And, as best I could tell, I was the only one doing that. AIWB carriers at TacCon were, for the most part, leaning forward and making sure their wedding tackle wasn’t in the way of their muzzle, but I didn’t see any extra-special care with re-holstering done by strong side hip carriers. This is not good.

I can’t help but wonder if practical shooting has an influence on this somehow. Don’t get me wrong, I think competition is fantastic and every serious shooter needs to do it, but the “…and holster” command is done with an empty gun in USPSA and IDPA. This gets people used to holstering quickly and moving on to scoring, and that’s not a good habit to have if you’re doing it on a hot range. 

Bottom line is, the more venues we have to normalize the idea of carrying a gun on your hip, the faster the culture of concealed carry AND practical pistol will grow.

Flash Site Pictures – Monday Edition

Flash Site Pictures – Monday Edition

Some of this is my stuff, some is not.

Six terrible reasons not to carry concealed.

Getting ready for your first practical pistol match.

LCP vs. J-Frame, and the winner is

We are losing the cultural war against guns, and that needs to change. (I wrote this based on an email conversation I had with Michael Bane, and he talks about that conversation on his podcast this week.

This is how we’ll win, with more of this (and other stuff too).

Building an urban bug out bag. I like the idea of prepping for dust and smoke… we forget that fires tend to happen in a social unrest situation.

Tamara Has a Patreon Page. It’d be a good idea to chip In. I did.

Speaking of Gunblogging, if you’re not reading Grant Cunningham’s Hump Day Reading List and Greg Ellifritz’s Weekend Knowledge Dump, you really should.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1501 – 1650.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1501 – 1650.

This report covers both the 50 rounds I shot in Chuck Haggard‘s class at TacCon and 100 rounds I shot this weekend.

It’s also the most failures I’ve had with this gun so far, but I blame that on the fact I was shooting MagTech and Fiocchi ammo, neither of which this gun particularly likes.

Shooting Chuck’s class really brought out what a little gun like this was capable of, and what it’s not. Unless your last name is “Miculek” you are not going to shoot this gun beyond 15 yards, and even 7 yards can get iffy. But at most civilian gun fight distances, yeah, it’s plenty accurate enough, even to perform Mozambique/Failure To Stop drills at speed.

With four feeding issues in 150 rounds, we’re starting to see what happens when the round count on a little gun rises up into four digits. I’ve got 250 rounds of Federal Premium .380ACP from Lucky Gunner sitting in my ammo box, and how well that ammo performs in this gun will determine if I go the full 2000 rounds or not.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge Results

Rounds Fired
50 Rounds Magtech .380 ACP FMJ
50 Rounds Winchester .380 ACP FMJ
50 Rounds Fiocci .380 ACP FMJ

Total Rounds Fired: 1600
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993, 1277, 1323, 1359
Failure to feed: Round 873, 1526, 1534, 1556, 1583

 

 

Top Ten CCW Guns

Top Ten CCW Guns

Greg Ellifritz has a link to post with some solid suggestions for pistols for concealed carry.

After months and months of research and consultation with my friends and co-workers who are some of the smartest minds in the firearms business, I’ve compiled my own definitive list of the Top Ten Most-Effective Concealed Carry Pistols. Enjoy.

The Top Ten Most-Effective Pistols For Concealed Carry

  1. The Gun You Have With You Right Now
  2. The Gun You Have With You Right Now
  3. The Gun You Have With You Right Now
  4. The Gun You Have With You Right Now
  5. The Gun You Have With You Right Now
  6. The Gun You Have With You Right Now
  7. Glock 19, Carried With You Right Now
  8. The Gun You Have With You Right Now
  9. The Gun You Have With You Right Now
  10. The Gun You Have With You Right Now
The Art Of The Compromise

The Art Of The Compromise

“Madam, we’ve already established who you are. Now we’re just haggling over price.”Anon

Let’s start with the obvious: We make compromises in how we chose to defend ourselves. A “no compromise” approach to personal defense would have us carrying around an M4gery, wearing a plate carrier and looking like this guy.

So we compromise. We don’t wear body armor and chest rigs. We carry Glock 19s and M&P Compacts in concealed holsters rather than open-carrying AR-15’s.  We don’t carry an IFAK, we carry a tourniquet and some Quikclot. We do this sort of thing because we know that, over the long haul, it’s better for us to make these compromises and fit in with the rest of society than it is for us to walk around with a rifle at low ready, acting like a freak.

As a result, when talk about carrying a .380 auto pistol in our pocket versus carrying a compact 9mm on our waist, we are talking about degrees of compromise. The compromise happened when we decided to carry a pistol, not a rifle: Anything else is just moving the needle in one direction or another.

This is why I don’t feel particularly out-gunned when I carry my LCP2, and I don’t feel unprepared when I carry around my ready-to-go improvised trauma kit rather than a flat-packed SOF-T Wide tourniquet. I’ve trained with the LCP2, I know its limitations and I know I can have it with me (and more…) pretty much anywhere it’s legal to carry a gun.

Is that gear a compromise? Yes.

Is it ineffective? No, and that’s all that matters.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1400 – 1500

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1400 – 1500

Or. I got 99 problems and I Mozambique’d every one of them.

As the LCP2 is chambered in .380, a round that is marginal for self-defensive purposes, shot placement and penetration are what is going to get the job done, not “stopping power”*, I spent this range session doing Failure To Stop drills with my LCP2 from three yards out to ten yards, and also did a few of the walkback drills I learned in ECQC, where the gun is extended out enough to get good hits on-target, but not so far out that your opponent can get ahold of it. Seven yards is about the maximum for me for headshots with this gun, but I can do center-mass all day long at 10 to 15 yards.

This is why we play the game… so we can find the limits of ourselves and our equipment.

Gun-wise, everything went the way it should… I placed all my hits either in the center-chest and ocular cavity, and the LCP2 chewed up and spit out 50 rounds of Winchester White Box and 50 rounds of Blazer Brass from Lucky Gunner with no trouble whatsoever, which makes a nice change from the last range session…. maybe something about that Magtech ammo just doesn’t sit well with this gun.

So, three-quarters of the way done, here’s where we stand:

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge Results

Rounds Fired
50 Rounds Blazer Brass .380 FMJ
50 Rounds Winchester .380 ACP

Total Rounds Fired: 1500
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993, 1277, 1323, 1359
Failure to feed: Round 873


* Using “stopping power” to describe what pistol does is relatively equivalent to using “celibacy” to describe the antics of Kim Kardashian…