An Immodest Proposal.

An Immodest Proposal.

There are people in the Facebook group for my neighborhood who are complaining that there are alligators living in the ponds behind their houses.

Memo to my neighbors: WE LIVE IN THE FRICKIN’ EVERGLADES, PEOPLE!!!!! Complaining about the gators in SW Florida is like complaining about the coyotes in Wyoming or the jumping cholla in Arizona: They literally come with the territory. Deal with it.

But I understand that my neighbors feel like they have to “do something” about the gator menace, and so that’s why I propose a simple, three-step solution to enact “common sense” gator laws that are absolutely guaranteed to get rid of the alligators from our community.

1. We label alligators as an especially dangerous type of animal, one that has no purpose in life other than to kill innocent human beings and their pets. It’ll be easy: We make a list of features found on a typical alligator (scaly skin, teeth, four legs, tail) and then label every reptile that has those features an “Assault Reptile,” or “AR” for short.

Gator-Free Zone2. We ban AR’s, and anything that LOOKS like an AR. As a result, these little guys will also be labelled as “Assault Reptiles” and banned along with alligators, but this ban will also affect the flood of cheap imported “Saturday Night Lizards” that are making our streets less safe. To be fair, some may say that banning these so-called “assault reptiles” will not actually affect a change on our streets because it will allow other deadly reptiles to roam free, but I say, if banning AR’s saves just one life, it’s worth it.

3. We put up signs like the one on the right around every pond, declaring our neighborhood to be a gator-free zone. We know from previous experience that these signs are 100% effective at keeping predators away from schools, banks, churches and government installations, so there is no reason to believe they will not be a deterrent to the deadly assault reptiles that infest our backyards, both here in SW Florida and throughout the south.

By enacting these common-sense gator laws, we can make our neighborhoods safe for our children, and our children’s children as well. I mean, just look at what they’ve done for neighborhoods in Chicago, Baltimore, New York and D.C.!

Life During Wartime.

Life During Wartime.

One year ago today, the eye of Hurricane Irma passed right over my house, knocking out power and cutting us off from the world for days.

What have I learned since then?

  • Prepping means preparing long before you’ll need the things you’re storing up. Seems simple and obvious, but it was amazing to watch bottled water disappear from the store shelves when things got dicey.
  • The sound of garbage trucks is the sound of civilization returning your community.
  • Lumens are life. Multiple sources of light, enough for at least one light for each member of your household, are absolutely essential: they’re right up there with water and food.
  • Lumens also let people know that you care. We had a couple of cars poke their nose into our street after curfew, but a quick 500 lumen blast told them they might want to go somewhere else.
  • A solar recharger is DARN handy. It’s the absolute minimum for any grid-down situation, especially when your flashlights use rechargeable batteries.
  • Generators are better.
  • Gas cans are cheap. Fill them up at the first indication that the storm is headed your way.
  • The shortages after the hurricane passes will be worse than you think. It was days until we could fill up the cars with gas, and weeks until food supplies were back to normal.
  • A good supply of cash on-hand gives you the same comfortable feeling of security that a good ammo supply does.
  • Expect not to be able to communicate for at least a couple of days.
  • Most importantly, GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS. I relied on the people of my street to help put up shutters and keep us safe, and I helped out a friend of mine after the storm had passed. To quote the 20th century’s greatest philosopher, a man alone is easy prey. Do something about that.
Hmmn, This Could Be Interesting.

Hmmn, This Could Be Interesting.

ShootingClasses.com bills itself as “Online Class Management For Instructors.” In the email that they sent me after I signed up, they describe their site as:

Guided by industry expertise and instructor feedback, ShootingClasses.com is an online system that simplifies the administrative side of the teaching process for instructors, helps students find an instructor in their area and even allows range owners to connect with instructors and students.

Interesting idea. I’ve been batting around doing something similar, as there is no “one stop shop” for finding out about new training opportunities in any given area (I found out about the SouthNarc and Vogel classes near me by accident), so someplace that lists all opportunities in a given area would be really useful.

Plus there’s the whole registration thing, where people are using a mishmash of EventBrite and WordPress plugins and all kinds of other stuff to sign up people online. This site might solve a bunch of problems at once.

After Action Report: Florida Firearms Training 2 Day Long Range Rifle Class.

After Action Report: Florida Firearms Training 2 Day Long Range Rifle Class.

I’ve been remiss in following up on my class from a couple of weeks ago, so here’s the AAR.

This is my third class with Will and his crew: The first was a brief pepper spray class, the second was a hog hunting class that netted me 150+ pounds of free-range pork products, and now this class on theory and practice of hitting a target that is quite a long ways away.

I’ve had my Savage 16 for four years now, but to be honest, before this class, I had never even come CLOSE to getting what I could out of that gun. I didn’t chrono my loads, I was shooting ammo that wasn’t up to the task of long-range shooting (surplus 7.62 NATO from Greece is nobody’s first choice in target ammo), and to be honest, I just didn’t get along with the Millett optic I was using.

I upgraded to a Primary Arms 4-14 MOA scope, changed over to Federal 168 SMKs, and went to Florida Firearms Training to get serious about the long-range game.

Right off the bat, Will and his co-instructor Brad helped de-mystify the elements of long-range shooting that had eluded my grasp, and rather than teach us to shoot their way, thy emphasized the need for consistency in all things such as shooting position and ammunition in order to deliver consistent results. For instance, I had been taught that after you got into a shooting position, you wanted to “load up” your bipod by pressing forward on it slightly. However, as instructor Brad pointed out, there is really no way to do that sort of thing consistently, so the benefit your get from it (a more stable shooting position) is outweighed by inconsistency it introduces into your shot.

Makes sense.

After a half-day in the classroom, it was off to the range to chrono our loads, sight in our guns, set up our ballistic calculators and start to get some DOPE on our rifles. I was pleased to see that my gun was holding MOA and also pleased that my gun and ammo were dead-on to Strelok at 200 yards.

Okeechobee 500 yard range

That’s “only” 400 yards from the firing line.

The next day is when the fun really began. We shot at 100 yards to confirm zero, and then started to push ourselves out to 200, 300 and 400 yards, getting data on how our guns, optics and ammo were all working together, and then it was time for the 500 yard shot.

Where I pinged a 12×12 piece steel on the very first try. I’ll take it.

After that, we did some timed drills engaging targets at various distances, confirming DOPE and gaining confidence to make the shot when needed, and it worked, because later that week I went to Training Grounds to make the 1000 yard shot for an upcoming article, and whereas before, I could barely hit the berm out beyond 300 yards, I was getting first-round hits on steel plates out to 800 yards.

Not bad.

If you’re looking to ramp up your long-range shooting for either hunting or competing in Precision Rifle, give Florida Firearms Training a call. If they can turn me into a cut-rate Carlos Hathcock, they can help you, too.

Can You Keep A Secret?

Can You Keep A Secret?

Here’s the deal: About two months ago, my wallet flew out of my pocket while on a roller coaster at SeaWorld. The good news is, it’s probably at the bottom of a lake somewhere, so at worst, there is a ‘gator out there that is stealing my identity, but the bad news is, my entire life was in that wallet. My driver’s license, my Social Security Card, my Green Card and my concealed carry permit.

Now, to be fair, I.C.E. and the Florida DMV have actually been fairly amazing: I got my driver’s license back in a matter of minutes, and green card (while expensive to replace) was sent to me in a just a few weeks.

My concealed carry permit, on the other hand, took two months to replace.

Why? Is it REALLY that more involved a process to replace a state permit to carry a gun than it is a federal permit that says I can live here permanently? And why did it take me 15 minutes to replace one state permit (my driver’s license) but 86,400 minutes to replace another?

Get on the ball, Tallahassee. This sort of thing is embarrassing.

In the meantime, not having my permit meant I couldn’t carry a weapon. The pistol obviously falls under this restriction, and Florida’s carry laws are so vague, I wasn’t sure about my centerline knife either (heck, even my auto-opener was on the bubble).

Not no more. While it feels good to walk around with all my accoutrements in-place once more, the fact of the matter is a) I live in a really quiet, well-upholstered section of God’s Waiting Room, so my chances of a stupid thing happening to me are quiet small to begin and b) I’m to the point that I can spot the potential for a stupid thing to happen LONG before it actually occurs.

But still, it’s nice to have all my options with me once more.

Off To Gun School.

Off To Gun School.

Kind of excited about this one. I’ve been wanting to get into the long-range game for years now, but I just couldn’t connect the dots. I have the gun for it (a Savage Storm in .308) and I just upgraded the optics on it to a Primary Arms ARC-2 4-14×44 First Focal Plane scope, and 300 rounds of Federal Gold Medal Match is waiting for me in an ammo can as I type this.

long range shooting

There are a bunch of reasons why I’m looking forward to this class. First off, it fills a big gap in my gun knowledge. Secondly, I’ve been wanting to shoot Precision Rifle for YEARS, and this class is a big step towards getting the confidence and skills to do so. Thirdly, it looks like a lot of fun, and fourthly, I’m gettin PAID to take the class, thanks to an article I’m doing for Shooting Sports USA.

Should be fun.

 

Flash Site Pictures

Flash Site Pictures

I did the writeup on the new Springfield Armory XD-S MOD2 for Shooting Illustrated. I honestly don’t get all the hate for the XD platform, but then again, I only shot 300 rounds through it. However, I think it’s great choice for people who will never go to Gunsite or Rogers.

I overheard someone talking about their experience at the same knife defense class I went to, and the response they got was “You carry a gun: Why do you need to learn how to use a knife?” Well, this is why you need to learn how to defend yourself from 1 inch on out to 100 yards and beyond.

Google bans firearms sales apps. Kinda surprised they allowed them in the first place.

Everyone who’s new to concealed carry thinks that everyone around them can see that they’re carrying a gun. And everyone is wrong about that.

This isn’t going to end well.

As I’m going to a class on long-range shooting next week, I’ve been reading a lot about ramping up your long-range game, including this article on how to determine wind direction and this one on at-home precision rifle drills.

 

The Sword Of The Lord.

The Sword Of The Lord.

I found about about this organization a few years ago, and I’ve been remiss about talking about them and spreading the good word about what they do.

Tactica Ministries trains police officers in Costa Rica in the latest police strategies and techniques, and also strengthens them with spiritual, moral and ethical guidance.

If you’re a trainer or a law enforcement officer who’d like to put your training to some good use, drop them a line, they’d love to hear from you.

Guns ‘R’ Us.

Guns ‘R’ Us.

As you probably know, Toys R Us went out of business earlier this year, and because they had a penchant for free-standing stores, that means there is a LOT of empty real estate in prime retail locations sitting around empty.

So why not turn old Toys ‘R’ Us locations into gun ranges?

Consider this:

  • Free-standing Toys R Us store are built on a pattern that tended to repeat itself, so you wouldn’t have to customize your renovations much from store to store.
  • They’re solidly built: Everyone I’ve seen has been made of either tip-up concrete walls or concrete block.
  • They’re usually in great locations next to shopping malls and major thoroughfares (although rezoning could be a hassle).
  • They can be had for a song. Retail is dying, and so the list of people clamoring for those locations has to be quite short.

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a BIG gap in the gun market right now: We have nationwide chains of sporting good stores that sell guns, but the biggest chain of gun ranges (where you can actually USE those guns) is Shoot Straight here in Florida, which has a whopping eight locations (and to be honest, each and every one of them is VERY low-rent).

Someone (Glock? SIG? Action Target?) is going to do for gun ranges what AMF did for bowling alleys, and instill a standard level of service from one range to another so that the consumer understands the value proposition of what they’re getting before they walk in to shoot.

There’s probably a shuttered Toys R Us within an hour of where you are right now. Someone is going to SOMETHING with them, why not open a gun range inside of them?