Character Is What You Are In The Dark.

Character Is What You Are In The Dark.

We must work, for the night, she is coming!

Time and time again, I see people in the gun world, people who preach de-escalation as being vital to self-defense, being unwilling or unable to de-escalate personal spats online, leading to butthurt galore and all sorts of unnecessary drama.

If you can’t de-escalate a virtual spat, it brings into question your ability to de-escalate a spat in real life.

At the very least, it gives a prosecutor a little more ammunition to shoot at you in court: “Your Honor, the State would like to enter into evidence the following online exchange to show that the defendant has a temper and was itchin’ to start a fight that evening…”

Gumby.

Gumby.

One of the practical pistol skills I need to work on is moving out of a shooting position faster and moving more rapidly between positions. Coincidentally, this is also darn close to the skill of getting your assets off the X in a defensive situation. The same abilities that may help me get through a stage quicker at a match may one day help me get out of the one of fire just a little bit quicker.

But I hope I never have to find out.

Also, I’m not getting younger, and staying flexible and healthy means a BIG deal when it comes to quality of life as I get older. Might as well start on that now.

Emotional Rescue.

Emotional Rescue.

This post at Ricochet started off as a diatribe against the idiots who cry out that “weapons of war don’t belong on our streets!,” every time someone is shot with an AR-15 which is, in reality, a rather uncommon occurrence.

However, it turned out to be something more, it turned into a celebration of a simple, honest man, and his simple, honest love for his family.

Turns out I attach more emotions to my guns than I thought I did.

Start With The Darkness.

Start With The Darkness.

Maglite and Tool PouchThat little combo flashlight / multitool pouch on the right may not look like much, but in a way, it’s what got me started on my journey towards armed personal defense.

I started off my photo career as a photo assistant, something pretty much everyone does, and within a few months, I was making a full-time living at it, something very few people were able to do in the Phoenix market. I rose to the top because when I was on the job, I made it my priority to make the photographer’s needs my priority, and that meant thinking ahead and having a plan to deal with all the things that might go wrong on the set. Sets that were usually pretty dark, because a ) The setups were usually indoors and b ) You really don’t want stray light sources interfering with your photos.

As such, it’s usually dark inside a photo studio, and that means that if something goes wrong, it’s probably going to have to be diagnosed and fixed in the darkness. I found out really quickly that having a flashlight (in my case, a AA Maglite, which seemed AMAZINGLY bright when I first started out) and a multi-tool (this Gerber, which I still love and adore), a pen (a fine point Sharpie) and some gaffer’s tape (because, just like The Force, it has a light side and a dark side and it binds the universe together) on me at all times was good thing, because stuff can happen when you’re 14 feet up in the air adjusting a light and you may or may not have someone near the grip cart to help you out. You were on your own, and you had to solve the problem in front of you RIGHT NOW with only the tools you had on you.

Sound familiar?

I honestly think carrying a flashlight on a day in, day out basis is the best starting point we have for getting people used to the idea that they need to prepare for the crap that can happen in their lives. As sure as the sun sets in the west, darkness will happen in our lives. We know this, we accept this, and yet the VAST majority of Americans walk around completely unprepared to deal with it beyond hoping that the streetlights come on each night.

Get people to carry a flashlight everyday. That starts the wheels turning.

All The Feels.

All The Feels.

There’s a difference between myself and many of my friends, and most other gun owners out there. My friends and I have taken the time to figure out what we are doing wrong when it comes to marksmanship, and we have invested time and money into solving those problems.

That is a HUGE difference compared to most gun owners. You ask anyone on the range if “they can shoot” and nine times out of ten, the response you’ll receive, is “Sure I can shoot”.

The lack of consistent grouping on their target will tell another story, and if you ask that same person a) what they’re best and b) what they need improving on, 9 times out of ten you’ll get a blank stare, because in their mind, they can shoot, so there is no need for improvement.

That element of “I suck at doing (something), therefore, I am not going to integrate (something) into my teaching, and downplay it’s importance,” is what comes natural to most people. It’s people like me and the other members of the 1% who say “I suck at (something) and I need to train (something) so I don’t suck at it, and let others benefit from my experience.”

The problem is that having the courage to say a) I suck and b ) I need to change that is a rare commodity. We ALL have a tendency towards confirmation bias. We forget that buying decisions (and our measure of the relative value of an item) come first from our emotions. If we *feel* like we’ve got our money’s worth, we like that experience. I’m not like most people: I look for training classes that challenge me and show where I suck because I really want to BE proficient, not FEEL like I’m proficient.

The trick is giving people the feeling of proficiency and then adding in actual proficiency, without destroying their self-worth by telling them how much they suck. Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL in favor of standardized measurements when it comes to firearms training and instructors who forgo the idea of using benchmarks to improve performance are foregoing pretty much all of modern educational theory.

The goal is to create lifelong students of marksmanship, not one-and-done gun owners who either think they know everything after two days of classes, or who are so demoralized by their performance in a class they never set foot in a pistol bay again.

A good percentage of the instructors I know look at firearms training as an intellectual exercise… “In this class, you will LEARN (knowledge) how to draw from a holster and blahblahblah.”

How many of them add in an element of emotion? Can you do that without treading on tactical derpitude territory and claim your students will learn to shoot like a Navy SEAL?

If someone bought a gun in order to FEEL safe, what about your class and how you talk about it enhances that feeling? What detracts from it? Are you even asking those questions of yourself and how you teach?

The Rod And Thy Staff, They Comfort Me. And The 9mm On My Hip Helps As Well.

The Rod And Thy Staff, They Comfort Me. And The 9mm On My Hip Helps As Well.

My friend John waits 72 hours to comment on a mass shooting, and that’s a good idea.

I’m not that patient. I can only wait 24 hours.

Here’s what we know about the massacre in a Baptist church in Sutherland, Texas.

I do not suffer from the illusion that those who do not respect the law of God (and man) will somehow respect God’s sanctuary and not commit a horror inside the church. I’ve carried my CCW gun into church ever since I got my permit and my pistol, and if you can carry, you should, too.

Greg Ellifritz has some thoughts on staying safe inside the sanctuary, so does Ed Head. Read them both, and this weekend, when you go to church, praise the Lord.

And pass the ammunition.

Ruger LCPII 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1039 – 1140

Ruger LCPII 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1039 – 1140

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge

I took the LCP][ with me to this week’s Shoot N Scoot range day at Louland Gun Range, to put another 100 rounds of Lucky Gunner’s .380ACP ammo through it. Jeff and Robyn attract a lot of new shooters to this class because it’s a low-key introduction into the world of competition that gets people used to walking around with the weight of a gun on their hip.

Plus it’s a lot of fun.

The stages are really lightweight, usually comprised of 4-5 shooting boxes and 4-6 rounds per presentation, with no memory stages and pretty much 100% steel targets. It makes for a good intro the sport, which is why I shot it with my LCP][.

The biggest issue I found was reloading, as six round mags on the LCP][ meant that I was constantly feeding in fresh mags, and I also ran into some issues with the low-power .380 rounds not having the oomph needed to drop the poppers. This wasn’t an issue, though, as this is a training event and is not for score.

All in all, another successful outing with this little Ruger. My confidence with it as a carry gun grows each time I shoot it, and I’m continually impressed with how easy it is to shoot.

Rounds Fired: 100 Rounds Winchester White Box .380 ACP

2000 Round Challenge Results
Total Rounds Fired: 1139
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993
Failure to feed: Round 873

Range Stuff, Life Stuff, Other Stuff.

Range Stuff, Life Stuff, Other Stuff.

Gabe Suarez has a great article on the realities of shotgun reloading in defensive situations. If you need to reload a shotgun in the midst of a defensive encounter, that means the 5+1 or whatever rounds you had in it were not up to the task at hand, and if 6 or more #00 buck or slugs ain’t solving your problems, buddy, you have problems indeed.

Which got me thinking about skills that are essential on the range in a training class, and skills that are essential outside the training bay.

Loading a shotgun quickly is one of those training bay skills, and it’s even more essential in 3 Gun. There is gadget after gadget out there designed to help you reload your scattergun in mere seconds during a match, but those gadgets are of limited utility outside of a 3 Gun stage.

Speaking of reloading, Karl Rehn has a terrific breakdown of what is actually faster; reloading a pistol with the muzzle pointed up vs. level vs. pointed down, which is great for proving which method is faster and safest in a training bay or at a shooting match.

However, given that John Correia has watched and analyzed over 10,000 gunfights on video and not one armed citizen has ever needed to reload his gun during the fight, is a fast pistol reload necessary for the training bay, or for outside the range?

Final, semi-heritical note: Reloads are an essential part of a number of pistol drills, including the beloved El Presidente and the F.A.S.T.

If we know that reloading the pistol is a skill that we probably won’t need to use under pressure, even if we get into 10,000 gunfights, should it really be a part of those drills?

I don’t know, but I’m interested in finding out.

The Thing Itself.

The Thing Itself.

I subscribed much more firmly to Aristotelean realism than to Platonic idealism. I’m not too concerned about the implications and ramifications of what might exist, rather, I am more focused on the thing itself.

Which is why this piece interested me.

What emotions do you attach to firearms?  Your emotions help determine what an object means to you.

I don’t, for the most part, attach any emotion to a firearm. There are a few exceptions, of course, like the .22 revolver my father-in-law carried or the CZ75 that kicked off my journey into armed self-defense, but I don’t attach feelings to all of the other guns I own. They serve a purpose, and if they didn’t, I’d get rid of them.

There are others who feel different, and that’s fine. There’s a lot of different ways to be human, and as long as we play nice with each other, everything is cool. I’ve just never associated emotions with objects. My self defense guns are an extension of my desire to keep my family safe, and I attach my emotions to my family, not to what keeps them safe. It’s always been about the why, not the how with me.