As Requested…

As requested…

My friend Vox asked me on Twitter earlier this week:

In the (slim) chance you haven’t seen it, this is what she’s talking about.

And here’s a link to the story.

I’m not a big fan of Monday-Morning-Quarterbacking this sort of thing because violent encounters are chaos situations and no two incidents will EVER be the same, but based on what I saw here, my initial reaction is Mr. Williams (the CCW holder) did almost everything right.

1. He walked away from a gunfight with the same amount of holes in his body he started the gunfight with.

2. He saw that the biggest threat was the guy with the gun close to him, saw an opening, and took it. The INSTANT he saw things were happening, he went to his gun, but did not draw until the opportunity presented itself. This is one advantage of a pocket pistol: Until you draw it, it looks like someone putting their hand in their pocket. I’d also note that he had a clear shot from less than five feet at center-mass with a .380ACP, and the shootee was able to scamper away.

3. He shot until the threat was stopped and then stopped shooting, which is EXACTLY what we’re supposed to do. Could the shots at the fleeing crooks be considered excessive force and come back to haunt him if one of the bad guys didn’t survive this encounter? Maybe. But in this case, Mr. Williams thought it was needed, and it worked.

4. I will say that Florida Internet cafes (which are really nothing but small legalized gambling halls) seem to attract a lot of armed robberies as of late, and that means you have a higher chance of being robbed if you go to one than if you go to, say, a library. That’s a risk/reward decision we all have to make for ourselves.

I could ding him on sitting with his back to the door and his lousy grip and stance, but I won’t: Unless we walk around in a state of quasi-paranoia, sometimes we do stuff like that because life happens. And that funky Weaver grip and point shooting at the end? Well, not everyone is Rob Leatham.

As to when and if to respond to a threat like this, that depends. In this case, given the outcome, I’d say Mr. Williams got it right because he and everyone else who wasn’t a crook walked away. In other cases? Don’t know, and I can’t know, because the next situation will be different. What I do know, to quote the Bard, is the readiness is all. Rather than say “Ok, if he does THIS, I’ll do THAT”, work on a set of loose guidelines. What are your options for an armed attacker at 21 feet or more? Less than 21 feet? What about a unarmed attacker? Do you know how to de-escalate an encounter with an irate drunk?

As for situational awareness, that didn’t really come into play here as the encounter went from peaceful “Condition Yellow” (or White) to bright shining Red in just a few seconds. Not a lot to be aware of here besides “Ok, do I do something or not?”, and in this case, doing something worked. In other cases, giving up your wallet and letting the robber walk might work. Which one is best? That depends on what is going on, and how you perceive the situation.

And look how many people JUST SAT THERE as a gunfight happened right in their laps. Their brains just weren’t up to the task of dealing with what was going on, and they were stuck in the “Observe” part of the OODA loop.

In this case, what Mr. Williams knew, he used to his fullest extent and came out on top of a close-range gunfight. That’s a win in anybody’s book.

Product Review : The Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network

Product Review : The Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network

At the end of last year’s post comparing of self-defence insurance policies, I wanted to make signing up for one of the plans a priority for me once my employment situation settled down.

It has, and I did.

After talking with a local attorney who’s known nationwide for firearms-related legal matters, I settled on The Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network, for the following reasons.

  1. Quality of available expert witnesses. If Massad Ayoob be for us, who can be against us?
  2. Performance. If the initial deposit and legal firepower behind the network isn’t enough, there’s the legal defense fund that’s available if warranted.
  3. Price. $85 a year versus $127 a year doesn’t seem like much, but it’s easier to justify to Mrs. Exkev (aka The Office Of Planning and Budget), and some is better than none.

And the icing on the is the DVD series they provide.

I just finished Disc Four, “Pre-Attack Indicators” with Marc MacYoung, and it’s fantastic. I shared some of the tips from it as I watched it with Mrs. ExKev, who’s a middle-school teacher so she could watch out for troublemakers in her classroom, and she suggested I teach what I told her to the other teachers at her school. This one DVD alone would be worth the $85.

I’m very happy so far with what The Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network has to offer. For about the same price as 400 rounds of 9mm, you’ll get the backup in the courtroom that your pistol can’t provide you.

There’s A Fine Line Between Stupid And Clever *

There’s a fine line between stupid and clever *

I started reading this article from the United States Concealed Carry Associated on defending yourself in your vehicle with great eagerness, as I realized that entering and exiting from a vehicle is a popular time for criminals to attack.

But then my inner Wonka started a-twitchin’. Do I really need to plan for an attack in my car beyond “keep an eye out for bad guys and have a plan if something happens”?

Probably not.

The mere fact that I’m usually aware of my surroundings should be deterrent enough to a goblin, as muggers aren’t going to go after hardened targets who seem to know what’s going on, they’re going to look for someone to sneak up on.

So yeah, it’s a good article, but no, I don’t think it’s for me, as I don’t think that I need to take it to that level.

And if you think you do, then I won’t say differently. We all live in our own worlds.

* Yep, it was a Spinal Tap reference


A Beginner’s Guide To Choosing Defensive And Practice 9mm Ammunition

A beginner’s guide to choosing defensive and practice 9mm ammunition

So you just bought your first defensive pistol, and you walk out of the store with your gun in its case, a box of defensive hollow-point ammunition and a box of cheaper Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) ammo for practice. No problem, because as long as it’s not +P ammo (which essentially means “more powerful than normal”), 9mm ammo is all alike, right?


Well, let’s find out.

First, a brief note about bullet weights. Bullets are just the thing that goes flying out the gun: The whole thing together is called “ammunition”, and bullet weight is measured in grains, with 437.5 of them in an ounce. As you’d expect, heavier bullets like 147 grain 9mm rounds shoot the bullet out at slightly slower speeds than lighter bullets, but because the rounds we tested are all “normal” 9mm ammunition and not “+P” (or “+P+”, which means, you guessed it, even more powerful 9mm rounds), at the end of the day, the energy of a lighter bullet going faster should be close to the same as a heavier bullet going slower and everything should even out.

Should, that is. Should. We’ll find out if this is true in a bit.

You can buy 115 grain FMJ grain ammo from any gun shop or online ammo store out there, and while it’s a very common choice for practice ammo because of its price and availability, it’s a poor choice for defensive purposes because the round nose of the bullet tends to punch through the target and not deliver its energy into what’s being hit, and when it comes to defensive ammo, you want to drop all the energy of the bullet into the target as quickly as possible and not have the bullet go through and hit something else. Hollow-point defensive ammunition is designed to do just that by expanding and slowing down when it hits something substantial, delivering its energy all at once and creating what’s known as “stopping power” onto the target. Stopping power is at least another four or five cans of worms to open up, so we’ll leave that for later. How does four years from next Tuesday work for you?

I digress.

Hollow-points are also more expensive, usually costing about twice as full metal jacketed round nose ammunition, so it’s very common for people to practice with FMJ’s and shoot their defensive ammunition sparingly, if at all.

So let’s find if there is a difference:

Given the same bullet weight, does commonly-available full metal jacket practice ammunition feel different to shoot than hollow-point defensive ammunition?

Ruger LC9 and Springfield XD9

We’ll do a blind test with two common 9mm handguns, a Ruger LC9 and a Springfield XD9, and since I can’t do a blind comparison by myself, (well, I could, but my local range refuses to allow me to shoot blindfolded. Go figure…), we’ve enlisted Robert and Jaci of help to shoot the test.

Ruger LC9 Test

This is good, because they’re both at a very similar level of shooting skill: They’re both “C” Class USPSA Production competitors and Sharpshooter in IDPA ESP, which is also about the same skill level as I am myself, so I’m very interested in seeing how this test comes out. They didn’t know what they were shooting for each test: I loaded their magazines for them and the boxes for the test ammo were nowhere in sight.

The Test:

Fire five rounds of each type of ammunition with each pistol at a 8 inch steel plate that’s 24 feet away. Start position will be pistol aimed on target, finger on trigger, and the shots should be taken as fast as possible while maintaining good hits.

Springfield XD9 Test

So let’s see how we did!

Test #1: Federal 115 Grain FMJ
1180 FPS – 356 Foot/Pounds Muzzle Energy

Shooter Total (secs) Shot 1 Shot 2 Shot 3 Shot 4 Shot 5
Jaci – LC9 5.98 .83 2.29 1.34 .83 .69
Robert – XD9 3.16 .26 .64 .75 .91 .60

Jaci: “Straight push, light muzzle flip, recoil felt like a shove and not a hammer, not snappy at all”
Robert: “Soft, light push, slow felt recoil”

Test #2: 115 Grain Hornady XTP Hollow Point
1155 FPS – 341 Foot/Pounds Muzzle Energy

Shooter Total Shot 1 Shot 2 Shot 3 Shot 4 Shot 5
Jaci – LC9 5.35 .79 1.57 .79 1.41 .85
Robert – XD9 3.86 .26 1.06 .79 .67 1.06

Jaci: “Poppier with more muzzle flip, less push-back in my hand, louder report, still manageable”
Robert: “Soft, with not much felt recoil, easy to shoot, would use it in competition”

Test #3: 147 Grain American Eagle FMJ
1000 FPS – 327 Foot/Pounds Muzzle Energy

Shooter Total Shot 1 Shot 2 Shot 3 Shot 4 Shot 5
Jaci – LC9 5.32 1.17 .82 .84 1.70 .79
Robert – XD9 4.46 .32 1.35 .90 .78 1.11

Jaci: “Felt like gun was jumpier, more recoil, stung hands, barely manageable follow-up shots”
Robert: “Manageable, sharp push into hand, more flip, felt like it was a heavier bullet”

Test #4: 124 Grain Speer Gold Dot – 1150 FPS
364 Foot/Pounds Muzzle Energy

Shooter Total Shot 1 Shot 2 Shot 3 Shot 4 Shot 5
Jaci – LC9 5.00 1.16 .95 .94 .98 .97
Robert – XD9 4.14 .49 .92 .84 1.06 .83

Jaci: “Sharp recoil, lots of muzzle flip, snappy, hot”
Robert: “Stout recoil, drove gun into hand noticeably hard, felt like a punch in the hand”

Test #5: 124 Grain American Eagle FMJ
1150 FPS – 364 Foot/Pounds Muzzle Energy

Shooter Total Shot 1 Shot 2 Shot 3 Shot 4 Shot 5
Jaci – LC9 5.15 1.13 1.06 1.01 .98 .95
Robert – XD9 3.90 .30 1.02 .98 .85 .75

Jaci: “Snappy but light, some flip, manageable, comfortable and easy to shoot”
Robert: “Medium-soft, comfortable, some muzzle flip, would shoot it in competition”

Test #6: 115 Grain Speer Gold Dot Hollow Point
1210 FPS – 374 Foot/Pounds Muzzle Energy

Shooter Total Shot 1 Shot 2 Shot 3 Shot 4 Shot 5
Jaci – LC9 5.32 .96 1.01 1.57 .91 .87
Robert – XD9 3.65 .51 .96 .79 .75 .64

“Heavy and hot, lots of recoil, felt ‘abusive’, some flip but lots of felt recoil”
Robert: “Not a lot of muzzle flip but a strong push into back of hand, felt the sting afterwards”

Test # 7: 147 Grain Winchester White Box Hollow Point
990 FPS – 320 Foot/Pounds Muzzle Energy

Shooter Total Shot 1 Shot 2 Shot 3 Shot 4 Shot 5
Jaci – LC9 5.95 1.15 1.08 1.48 1.09 1.15
Robert – XD9 4.08 .54 1.00 .83 .78 .98

Jaci: “Lots of muzzle flip, most of all the tested rounds, manageable felt recoil”
Robert: “More muzzle flip, sharp but not overly heavy felt recoil”

Shot 1, Shot 2, ETC: How long it took to get the next shot shot on target. Jaci had some problems at first with the looong trigger pull on the LC9 versus her usual gun, which is why some of the scores in the first two tests are a little weird.
Red Numbers:
A miss. Oops.
Bullet speed in Feet Per Second, or how fast the manufacturer says the bullet is going when it comes out of the barrel of the gun. This can change with different types of guns, so the numbers quoted here and from the ammunition manufacturers themselves.
Muzzle Energy: The theoretical force the bullet has as it leaves the end of the gun, which equals (Bullet Speed x Bullet Speed x Weight of the Bullet) / 450,240. More is better here, but remember, Newton’s Third Law of Motion means there’s going to be an equal and opposite amount of force to the force that goes out of the end of the barrel and that means more recoil and less control.


All 9mm “normal pressure” ammo is NOT created equal. Even though all these rounds are considered “normal” and not “+P”, there are big differences in how the ammo felt to shoot. We chose “normal” ammunition for this test because of the recent popularity of small and subcompact 9mm pistols: Because of their size, some of those pistols cannot shoot +P ammuniton safely, and even if you could, you don’t want to shoot +P ammo in a small 9mm because the added recoil and muzzle flip makes it a VERY unpleasant experience with little to no upside.

Surprisingly there wasn’t a big difference in the shot-to-shot times between each type of ammunition, indicating that while some brands and bullets weights FELT easier to shoot, and the end of the day, it’s the person shooting the gun and not the ammunition that matters. That being said, ammunition that feels easier to shoot will get shot more often, something to take into account as you choose your practice ammo.

It’s also important to note that we’ve reached a point in ballistics and bullet development that almost ANY of the modern hollow-point ammunition from the “name-brand” manufacturers will work as a defensive round and provide enough “stopping power.” I could link to literally thousands of blog posts and forum comments and reasoned opinions from some really, really smart people, but at the end of the day, with a few notable exceptions (Glaser Safety Slugs and similar “frangible” ammunition being one), all modern hollow-point ammo will do the job it needs to when it needs to it. The point of this test wasn’t to find The Ultimate Manstopper, it was to team up the best defensive ammo for your practice ammo of choice, and vice versa.

Judging by these results, if you practice regularly with Federal 115 Grain FMJ ammunition, you may want to consider the 115 Grain Hornady XTP over the 115 Grain Speer Gold Dot ammunition. If you shoot with 124 Grain FMJ’s, and unless you’re convinced that Speer Gold Dots are The Ultimate Man-Stopper, you may want to pass on them in favour of something with a little less recoil that more closely matches the ammo you train with. However, if you have 147 Grain Winchesters Hollow Points in the 9mm you rely on for personal protection, 147 Grain American Eagle FMJ’s seem to be a good choice for a practice round for you.

As for me, I’m changing defensive ammo as soon as I can afford it. I practice with 115 grain Federal FMJ ammunition, but the CZ P07 I carry currently has 124 Grain Speer Gold Dots in it, which means that if (God Forbid) I have to use that gun with that ammo in it, how the gun will react to the ammo and how I will react to what the gun is doing will be different than how the ammo I practice with reacts. I’ll be switching those out in favour of Hornady XTP’s as soon as I can, because in the end, you want your training and practice to be as close to what you’re training and practicing FOR as you possibly can get it.

Stay safe, have fun,

profile_pic_smHey, if you liked this, feel free to come back often. I write about this kinda stuff almost every day, and the best way to keep track of things is by following the site on Facebook.




Thanks to Lucky Gunner for some of the ammo used in this test, Jaci and Robert of TeamGunblogger for their help, and Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club for the use of their pistol bay and steel target.

Yellow Means “Go Very Fast!”

Yellow means “Go very fast!”

Caleb and Robb and others are in the midst of a good discussion over here on the fine line between preparedness and paranoia.

My two cents (well, 1.2 cents, now that ObamaCare has passed…):

1. Yes, I admit, I called myself a “sheepdog” in the past. Since then, I’ve realized an important point: Sheepdogs are the paid employees of the shepherd.

However, what I do, I do for the flock. I am not outside of the family, I am part of the family. Therefore (to stretch the analogy to the breaking point) I am a ram who’s willing to use his horns, and not a sheepdog.

2: The two most powerful machines I own are my firearms and my cars. Both of these, when improperly used, are capable of doing horrific levels of violence on innocent people, and (as anyone who’s read Larry Niven knows) of the two, a car is the deadlier weapon.

So how come I don’t say to myself “This might be the day I get hit by a garbage truck” when I get behind the wheel?

Because I drive defensively behind the wheel, not at home.

I don’t “game out” scenarios at home late at night, wondering “what if a pickup truck goes through the red light at the off ramp of Rural Road and the 101?”. I don’t watch YouTube videos of traffic accidents trying to learn something from other people’s misfortune and I don’t sit in front of the computer trying to glean accident-avoidance tips from Bob Bondurant.  I need to get better at defensive driving (who doesn’t?), so yes, a trip to driving school is in my future. I hope.

In the meantime, I drive defensively, and I try to practice those skills every single time I get behind the wheel.

I don’t drive angry. I de-escalate when someone acts like a jerk. I don’t drink and drive. I keep an eye out for the unexpected from when I back out of the driveway until I turn off the ignition.

Sound familiar?

We know how to do this stuff when we’re driving. If we do it when we’re carrying, we’ll all be just fine.

Daily Where

Daily where

When I was at Front Sight earlier this year, I was the only one in my class practicing and shooting with an untucked shirt as my cover garment. Everyone was using an unbuttoned shirt or a jacket to cover up their gun. At IDPA, I’m usually the only one without a “Shoot Me First” vest. 

I can understand people not wanting to show off their underwear as they yank their shirt out of the way (Calvin Klein boxer briefs, if you MUST know), and many of the students at Front Sight were from colder climes (ie not Arizona) so a shirt or jacket in summer makes sense, and yeah, if you want to win at IDPA, you need a shoot me first vest… 


Watching the people of Arizona these past few days, we just don’t wear jackets or unbuttoned shirts in the summer. We just don’t. Heck, I’ve seen more people open-carrying than I have with open shirts. 

Which confirms my decision to train and compete with an untucked shirt. Sure, I may show a little skin during the draw and yes, it’s a tiny bit slower than a vest, but it also fits the definition of “concealed carry” in Arizona, which is why I do it in the first place.

More …

First Impression – Crossbreed Microclip

First Impression – Crossbreed Microclip

Ever since I put a Crimson Trace laser on my P3AT, I’ve had to carry it my pocket and nowhere else, which is not a bad thing as the gun is unique suited to pocket carry. 


I like to carry the little sucker when I’m wearing blue jeans and i don’t want to carry a bigger gun and I’ve yet to have a smooth draw from the front pocket with jeans. And no, I don’t wear emo pants. 

There just aren’t a lot of tuckable IWB options out there for a P3AT with laser. P3AT, yes, with laser, no.

Fortunately, Crossbreed offers their holsters with a option for the P3AT and a laser. 

Minituck and P3AT

RIght off the bat, I remembered why I like carrying the KelTec on my waist. After the first 30 seconds with the Microclip on my belt, I forgot I had a gun with me.

It’s that light. 

The Microclip is smaller than it’s Supertuck big brother. Here’s the two side by side. 

And here it is with the Galco Ultimate Second Amendment that I used with the P3AT before I got the laser.

The holster is as well-made as the larger Supertuck and is very comfortable to carry, but that comfort comes with a tradeoff: The leather backing seems to interfere with my draw more than the old Galco holster did, but I won’t know until I take it to the range and test it out. 

Also, my first attempt at carrying it tucked in resulted in the holster pivoting around that one J-hook and the gun in the holster slid under my beltline and out of easy reach. A quick trip to the restroom solved that problem and it hasn’t happened since, but it was a little disconcerting at the time. 

All in all, I like the Microclip. I may need to do some razor-blade surgery on it to improve my speed, but I’ll leave that question for another day once I run it thru a Mozambique or two. But if you’ve got a P3AT with a laser on it, the Microclip is definitely a viable option for belt-carry. 

More …

Are USPSA And IDPA “martial Arts” ?

Are USPSA and IDPA “martial arts” ?


Last week’s discussion at the Power Factor Show on training for practical pistol covered topics like learning footwork and hand position and drills and training schools.

Which are the same things you talk about in a traditional martial art. And given the martial origins of kendo, karate, kung-fu, krav maga, etc, and the defensive applications of IDPA and the origins of USPSA …

Update: Poll removed because it wasn’t playing nice with our content management system.

Dear Holster Manufacturers,

Dear holster manufacturers,

Your websites suck. 

All of them. 

When I come to your site, I don’t really care that you make a SuperStar Deluxe IWB with Komodo Dragon skin or your kydex OWB holster is in service with Tier One operators in Derkaderkastan. 

All of that means SQUAT to me if I can’t find a holster that fits my gun.

And listing out your hosters only by holster type/carry position insures that I need to spend 30+ minutes on your site going thru ALL your pages looking for one that fits my gun. I have a life, and spending 1/48th of my day on what may be a fruitless search for the holster I want just isn’t a part of it.

Some of you get it and have built your sites so they allow me to search for holsters by gun type, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. 

Stop buidling your websites around how you build your holsters, and start building them around your customer’s guns. 

Something That’s BUGging Me.

Something that’s BUGging me.

We’ve had a bunch of good, small 9mm’s arrive on gun store shelves as of late. The Ruger LC9, the Sig P239, the S+W Shield and the Beretta Nano are all first-rate and teeny-tiny defensive pistols that are VERY popular right now. 

And if you want to compete with any of those guns, your choice is IDPA BUG (BackUp Gun) matches … 

… and that’s about it. 

I’m not a big fan of BUG gun matches because they’re one-size-fits all. To quote from the IDPA Rulebook,

All CoF for the Back-Up Gun Division must be limited to five (5) rounds maximum per string (no reloads on the clock) to allow autos and revolver shooters to compete equally.

Which kinda sucks if you own a small 9mm that holds more than 5 rounds, as 5 round stages are BORING.

So BUG matches are 5 rounds only, which leaves pocket 9mm owners without a match to shoot. Even a comparatively short 14 round IDPA stage is a looooooong time to be shooting with one these little guns (even if  you can talk your way into shooting in whatever division you manage to hornswaggle yourself into) and even if you do, you’ll most likely run out of ammo before you run out of targets if you shoot an IDPA stage with these guns. 


How do we “train like we fight, fight like we train” if there’s a dearth of competitions out there in which to train? Maybe something like a Steel Challenge or Bianchi cup for BUG guns, where each match consists of the four same stages all the time, and those stages would be designed to reflect a variety of “Real world” scenarios. 

Something like this… 

BUG stage 1

Limited Vickers count. The idea here is to practice retreating to cover and the need to do a “failure to stop drill” when needed. I specifically avoided the “Put two on T1, three on T2” type of briefing because we just don’t know when we’ll have to do a failure to stop, and leaving it up to the shooter to decide is more reflective of that fact. 

BUG stage 2

An “Oops, what the heck is going on here!” stage, designed to help with opening doors while armed, movement and use of cover. 

BUG Stage 3

A simple mugging defense scenario, based on the classic scene from Collateral (minus the final coup de grace, of course…). 

BUG Stage 4

Again, a “Oh, crap, what’s going on!” stage. I hate stages that are supposed to represent “surprise” real-world scenarios but then have you start out facing your target, knowing where everything is in relationship with where you are. 

And yeah, there’s no distances written on any of these stages, as these are just me spitballin’ what a standardized defensive match format might look like, but figure 10 yards as a maximum distance for any target. 

So that’s just one idea I had to get all those pocket 9mm’s out of their boxes and on to the range. IDPA was created before sales of pocket guns went through the ceiling, so their idea of a “defensive” gun hasn’t caught up (yet) with what we’re carrying, so there’s an opportunity out there for “IDPA V2” to accomodate gun owners and their brand new pocket pistols.