That was easy

Went to the local Staples last night to pick up some Cat 5 (What, doesn’t EVERYONE shop for networking cables in the late evening?) and noticed a shiny new “No Firearms Allowed” decal on the front door.

Well, that’s it for me and Staples. Fry’s Electronics doesn’t allow firearms, either, so it’s time to get nice and friendly with the people at Office Depot.

Get out of Dodge

Gabe Suarez sure has a chest-thumping, meat-eating manly-man way of taking on an aggressive mob

“If you have a pistol, please make sure it is a modern high capacity weapon with a couple of spare magazines in your belt. The Suarez International company gun, a Glock 17 with three magazines, yields a sum total of 52 rounds. Figure three rounds per man, and you can reduce an angry mob of panga swinging killers into a fleeing group of bloodied bad guys. Draw it and yell, “Get The F*** Back!” If they do, run away. If they do not, shoot the first man in the face. The rest will take care of itself.” 

Umn, err, “The rest will take care of itself” isn’t exactly a plan, is it? 

I carry a spare magazine for my CCW gun, but not because I expect the zombie hoards to pop up in my local Circle K or because I expect a hockey riot to break out in my local mall. Rather, I carry a spare mag because 90% of all problems with a semi-auto come down to feeding rounds into the chamber, and having another mag to go to in case something burps gives me a little more confidence in what I carry. 

And as for what to do when a mob shows up, I prefer to learn from people who went through the worst of the 1992 L.A. riots

Gunsite Lite

No, this is NOT a post about what Crimson Trace is doing up in Paulden next weekend, this a post about training and branding and consumer trust. 

Gun Culture 2.0 is about self-defence and unless you’re Chuck Norris (PBUH), that means training. Situational awareness training, “tactical” training, stress-fire, less-lethal options, safe rooms, the whole nine yards. Training is what turns the lump o’ metal on your hip into a weapon that will save your life.

Because the market is large and expanding, there are a lot of people offering “tactical” training out there, some of them very competent and serious, some of them not-so-serious. The problem for consumers is, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? With everyone and their dog talking about their tacticool skills, how do you make competent, informed decisions about self-defence training that aligns with your perceived needs and available budget? 

I was fortunate enough to have an extremely talented shooter and teacher as my CCW instructor. One of the first things he told us is that only 1 in 3 people who finish a CCW class are serious about it and will make defensive carry a part of their lifestyle. I like to think I’m that one person, although the fact that I’m STILL stuck in D Class Production casts doubt on that point… 

I digress. 

For that 1-in-3 person, what post-CCW training options are there? The NRA offers excellent one and two-day training classes in Personal Protection. I’ve taken both courses, and they do an excellent job of teaching the basics of defensive firearm tactics like safety, situational awareness and methods of concealed carry. The Personal Protection I and Personal Protection II classes are excellent value: For the cost, they’re hard to beat. 

But.

They are beginning courses. They’re not going to teach stance (much), they’re not going to help much with flinching or mashing the trigger or any of the various ways we humans can mess up a shot. Instructor quality can vary: Generations Firearm Training has top-notch people leading their courses and I trust them implicitly, but when it comes to training, there are few recognized leaders out there for the consumer to chose from.

This is where branding comes in. We trust the NRA to provide good training because of their long history, and, for the most part they come through. I have no idea why the NRA doesn’t step up to the plate and aggressively market their NRA-branded protection courses as the logical next-step for CCW holders, but they are missing out here, and others are stepping in to the void left by the NRA’s inaction. 

This market is prime territory for Gunsite and other top-tier schools. They have the brand loyalty. They have the established trust. They have the brand recognition. And most importantly, they know how to teach people how to safely use firearms. 

The least-expensive course at Gunsite is almost a thousand dollars in tuition. Add in three days of hotel, airfare, car rental and ammo, and you’re looking at the same amount of money as a three-day trip to Disneyland. My wife’s a good shot, but I’d have a hard time justifying spending the money for our family vacation on a trip to Gunsite. 

Why not let the mountain come to Mohammed instead? Consider this: 

Gunsite On Location
Course length: 2 days (18 hours)
Prerequisites: CCW License, NRA Basic Pistol or equivalent instruction
Instructor to student ratio: Minimum 1 instructor to 6 students
Instructors: Lead Instructor is an instructor qualified to teach at Gunsite, with up to three assistants, each trained at Gunsite in some manner.
Class: Defensive Pistol 090. Basics of drawing from concealment, situational awareness, firearms safety, defensive tactics, taught using methods from America’s premier defensive firearms academy. Marketing tagline: “What your CCW class doesn’t teach.”
Cost: $500 per student. 18 Students max.
Ammo: 300 rounds factory practice ammo
Completion of this course entitles the participant to $100 off any 250 Pistol course at Gunsite.

The downside to this is that it may dilute the Gunsite brand, but that can be mitigated with video recording of the instructors on location to insure standards are met, detailed after-action reports and instant feedback from class participants via the web.

The advantages are it’s a new revenue stream for Gunsite, it’s another avenue to advertise Gunsite to Gun Culture 2.0 and it increases interest in the more advanced classes at Paulden, both for the students and the assistant instructors.

Ok, Gunsite, I’m looking for a job. There’s your business model, now hire me to run it. 

STILL not the Wild West

It’s been over a year since permit-less concealed carry was signed into law, nine months since the law took effect, and there hasn’t been any gunfights at the O.K. Corral since 1881. 

Will that affect the Brady Campaign and Illegal Mayors Against Guns?

Probably not. 

More …

Planning for Plan B

Pocket Protector

Michael Bane talked about training to your weakness this week on his podcast, and I realized I’ve been neglecting to train with my usual daily carry gun, a Kel-Tec P3AT. 

Oh sure, I’ll go the range with it to try a quick El Prez or the like, but I don’t train with if (or any of pistols, for that matter) in any other situation than standing up. 

But I can’t guarantee I’ll be standing upright if I need to defend my life: I may be sitting, I may be kneeling, I may be face down in the dirt, but I need to know how to get my pistol into action as quickly as possible from all of those positions, and that’s something I’ve never trained. 

For safety’s sake, though, it’s best if I do this in two distinct parts. One is practicing my draw and presentation with an unloaded gun at home. Ideally I should use a blue gun for this, but they don’t make a P3AT blue gun just yet, so instead I’ll use a homemade chamber flag and multiple, multiple chamber checks to make sure the gun’s empty and stays empty throughout my practice. I’ve not had a negligent discharge (yet) and I fully intend never to have one. 

The second part is practicing shooting from sitting, kneeling and prone positions with my P3AT and other carry guns on the range, a fairly easy task to accomplish.

All this practice and training probably won’t make me into a robot mutant cyborg, but it will make me more fast and accurate on the worst day of my life. 

And that’s a good thing.

Flight of fancy

USPSA v. FBI QITI wanted to see how my daily carry rig stood up to a standardized pistol drill, and I chose the Air Marshal standards course, as it seemed to be (and was) a good test of my skills and equipment.

The rig I used was my CZ P07 in a Crossbreed SuperTuck, concealed with an oversized t-shirt. My spare mag was stored in my weak-side front pocket. I don’t have any FBI QIT targets, so I used a USPSA Metric target. I scored A, B and C hits as 5 pts, D hits as 2, and misses as zero.

The drill, and my results

All strings are shot from a distance of seven yards.
Qualification: Time: Cannot exceed total time for each drill. Example: Drill #1 – 1st time 1.70 seconds, 2nd time 1.55 seconds; Total = 3.25 seconds = Go. Must achieve a “GO” on each drill. Accuracy: Target is FBI “QIT” (bottle). Total rounds fired is 30. Point value inside bottle = 5. Point value touching line or outside bottle = 2. Maximum possible score = 150. Mininum qualifying score = 135. All stages must equal “GO” to qualify.

Individual Drill Starting Position Time Allowed Actual Time Score Pass/Fail
One Round (Twice)
3.3 Seconds Total
Concealed from Holster 1.65 seconds 1.92 5 F
1.65 seconds 1.82 5 F
Double Tap (twice)
2.70 Seconds Total
Low Ready 1.35 seconds .98 10 P
1.35 seconds 1.07 10 P
Rhythm; fire 6 rounds at one target; no more than 0.6 second between each shot.
3 Seconds Total
Low Ready 3.0 seconds 2.62 30 P
One Shot, speed reload, one shot (twice).
6.5 Seconds Total
Low Ready 3.25 seconds 2.89 10 P
3.25 seconds 5.35 10 F
One Round each at two targets three yards apart (twice).
3.3 Seconds Total
Low Ready 1.65 seconds 1.35 10 P
1.65 seconds .89 7 P
180° pivot. One round each at three targets (twice). Turn left, then right.
7.0 Seconds Total
Concealed from Holster 3.5 seconds 2.84 15 P
3.5 seconds 2.75 10 P (?)
One Round, slide locks back; drop to one knee; reload; fire one round. (twice).
8.0 Seconds Total
Low Ready 4.0 seconds 5.1 10 F
4.0 seconds 4.7 10 F
Result: (1 miss on one of the pivot drill strings)       142 Fail

A few thoughts…

FAIL.

I love my Crossbreed Supertuck, but it sucks to draw from. I need to start thinking about a pancake or yaqui slide holster for the P07 and use the Crossbreed only as a tuckable IWB holster, or else modify the Supertuck so I can get a quicker draw.

And no, switching to a “shoot me first” vest isn’t something I’m considering, mainly because I never wore them in the past, even when I was a full-time photographer, and in the heat of a 115+ Phoenix summer, adding on additional layers of clothing doesn’t seem that wise. Besides, I’m more of The Dude than I am Walter Sobchak .

I need a better way to store spare mags than my front pocket. I blew one string because I wasted a couple of seconds playing pocket pool with my reload, and failed two others for much the same reason.

All in all, though, I like the drill as it tests both my skill set and the tools I use. When I didn’t hav to draw or reload, I easily beat the required par times. A few tweaks to my holster and accessories, and I should pass the next time I run this drill.

Maybe I was wrong after all

I wanted to go up to the range and run through my practice drills, but the near-freezing temperatures in Phoenix last week talked me out of it. Instead, ExurbanSteve and I went to Caswell’s and shot on their indoor range, and ended up I working on my strong hand and weak hand only shooting. 

I also wanted to see if there was a noticeable difference in accuracy and controllability between my compact (-ish) 9mm CZ P07, my subcompact Sccy 9mm and my .380 Kel-Tec P3AT. The range rules at Caswell’s don’t allow me to draw from a holster, so instead I ran through three Mozambique drills each from low ready with each gun. 

And son of a gun, but the little 9mm Sccy was significantly harder to control and less accurate than the even-littler (but less powerful) P3AT, even though the sights on the P3AT are, at best, limited (actually, “pitiful” would be the word I’d use). 

I won’t know until I get out on the range, shoot from a holster and time my runs, but my first impression is that if you’re looking for a compact, easily concealable CCW gun, skip the subcompact 9mm and get a pocket .380. 

The Blessings of the Itty Bitty 9

Sccy CPX-1

Shelley at Gun Nuts Media ain’t a big fan of the new ultracompact single-stack 9mm’s coming on to the marketplace

I can dig it. They do seem like a solution in search of a problem. They’re pushing the boundaries of what could be considered a “pocket pistol”, but don’t offer the control and accuracy of a compact or subcompact 9mm. 

But. 

I consider the ultra-compact 9mm to be the “scout rifle” of CCW. No, they are not as concealable as a pocket .380, and no, they are not as powerful as a .45 and no, they are not as accurate as a compact 9mm like a Glock 26 or a Springfield XD-M. 

However, a small single-stack 9mm is 85% of all those guns. Just like a scout rifle is the rifle to have if you can have only one, a single-stack 9mm allows you to carry your gun in the front pocket if you want. It allows you to carry IWB if needed, it gives you 7 rounds or more of 9mm stopping power, which provides more confidence in what you carry.

Small 9mm’s don’t do one thing really well, but an ultracompact 9mm does a whole lot of things fairly well, and they work really well as the CCW gun to have if you can only have one. 

The gun you have

I still dabble in photography, even though it’s been almost ten years since it was my full-time job, and photographers are still equipment-obsessed, a trait they share with firearms enthusiasts. Camera companies spend millions of dollars on ads that show the wonderful, striking photos you can take with your SuperTouchDeluxe XV3 (now with MondoPixel technology!), and photographers fall for it, thinking that all they need is the latest technology to turn into the next Yousef Karsh.

But the fact is, great photos can be taken with any camera, and chances are, you can defend your life with just about any firearm. It’s not the tools you use, it how you use the tools you have. Tam’s post on The Firing line nails it wonderfully.

Two reasons people are anti-training (perhaps not coincidentally, this is also why people are anti- competing in organized shooting sports):

1) “It costs too much.” Somebody has fifteen guns, a motorcycle, a PS3 with plenty of games hooked to his flat-panel TeeWee (not to mention the PS2 and PlayStation in the attic), and who knows how many other toys, and a $200-$400 handgun training course “costs too much”. Hey, Skippy, how ’bout selling that Taurus Raging Judge you were bragging about buying last week and using the proceeds to get yourself taught how to use one of the fourteen other guns you already had? (And maybe sell one of those and take an MSF class for your motorcyclin’ while you’re at it.) The problem is, people can’t point at new mental furniture and say to their friends “Look what I just bought!”

2) People can’t shoot, but think they can. At the range, nobody is really watching them shoot and, face it, everybody else at the range is awful, too. But if they go to a class or enter a match, it will get proved officially: “Joe/Jane Averageshooter: First Loser”. It takes humility to learn and lose. Humble people don’t boast on their adequacy. So most people go and buy another gun instead, because when they open the box on that gun, it won’t look up at them and say “You stink!”; it’ll say “You just bought the official pistol of SWATSEAL Team 37 1/2! Congratulations!”

If you want to take better pictures, learn about light and get some training, because chances are the camera you have is up to the task. If want to defend your life, learn to use the gun(s) you have, because they’re the ones you’ll need if your life is on the line.

Product Report: Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe

I am an Acolyte (Second Class) in The Cult Of Mac, and one of the liturgies in our faith is The Ritual of the Unboxing, where we carefully document not only our latest purchases from Apple, but how the items were shipped to us in the first place

Yes, it’s a disease, and no, there is no cure. 

So when my Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe arrived in the mail yesterday, it’s only natural (for me, at least) to document how it got here and how it works. 

Disclaimer: I am not a high-speed, low drag operator. I scored a “1” on the mall ninja test only because my AR has a bunch of rails on it. I’m not former law enforcement or special ops, I’m just a guy who wants to protect his family as best as he can.

I had decided on CZ P07 to replace my Sccy CPX-1 as my daily (non-work) carry pistol. Finding a good day-in, day-out holster for the P07 has been a bit of a challenge. I purchased a BladeTech OWB Kydex holster for the P07 for IDPA, and I wanted my carry holster to mimic the retention and reholstering capabilities of the BladeTech but was comfortable enough to wear all the time. Because my holster options for the P07 are limited, I decided to go with a Crossbreed SuperTuck for Springfield XD-M, and it holds the P07 pretty well (more on that later).

Packaging

For starters, the holder came by regular snail mail, a surprise for someone who’s used to everything being shipped by UPS or Fedex. 

Contents

The pack contained my holster, the extra J-Hooks that I ordered in case I wanted more concealment than the normal hooks, a brief letter saying that I should hang on to this if I needed to use their lifetime warranty, a quick guide to reshaping kydex for added retention if needed, and a membership form for the NRA. One thing it didn’t come with is some instructions on how to best use it with your clothing, something that a newbie to the hybrid tuckable holster world like myself could have used. 

Fit

The P07 fits the holster quite well. Really well, in fact, considering that it was made for another gun entirely. If the retention on the BladeTech is a 10, the retention on SuperTuck is an 8. Initially, I thought it was a little loose in the holster, but once I had the holster on my belt and the gun the holster, the pressure of the holster against my body made it secure enough to go ahead and use it for now, and if I need to snug up the gun in the holster, I can always follow their instructions on how to reshape the kydex for a tighter fit. 

Concealment

The holster is incredibly comfortable to wear. My previous experience with an IWB holster has been limited to a Bianchi 100 for my Sccy CPX-1 and Galco 2nd Amendment for my P3AT. In the Crossbreed, my P07 is as easy to carry as the Sccy, even though the P07 is a bigger and heavier pistol. I chose strong backlighting for this shot because it works great (along with strong sidelight) for showing how a gun prints,. You can see in that shot while the Crossbreed does show up as a little asymmetrical, it’s nothing overtly noticeable.

IWB

It also seems easy to draw from, but I’ll know more on that later this week after I run it thru an El Presidenté or two at my next practice session. 

All in all, I’m wildly satisfied with the quality, fit and value of the holster, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a comfortable, easy-to-wear and practical holster for their CCW gun.