After Action Report: Shoot N Scoot At Night, Step by Step Gun Training

I had a chance to train with Jeff and Robyn Street of Step By Step Gun Training over the weekend at the night version of their “Shoot N Scoot” training event, and I learned a lot about how my carry gear works in low-light and no-light conditions.

  1. Dry-fire is good, but there is no substitute for shooting ammo.
    I’ve developed a nasty habit of riding the recoil which is sending my shots high, and dry-fire will NOT help with that. Time to shoot more matches and put in some old-fashioned range time to cure that.
  2. There is no substitute for a laser when it comes to long-range shooting at night.
    Pinging away at a piece of steel that is 1/2 the size of a USPSA target that is 30 yards distant, in the dark, without using your sights will make you trust your laser.
  3. There is no substitute for candlepower.
    The Streamlight TLR-6 on my Shield is good. The laser dot is easy to pick up at night, and the flashlight gives you enough illumination to discern targets out to 15 yards or so. A Viridian C5L green laser is better. MUCH better. That sucker is almost like a searchlight, it’s so bright. You want hits with a laser at night? Go green, it’s worth the money.
  4. Battery life matters.
    I left the red dot glowing on the Vortex Sparc that’s on top of my trunk gun, and it was dead when I tried to use it in this event, and like a moron, I did not have a spare with me.
    Whoops.
    That’s been rectified. Lesson learned.

This is now the fourth time I’ve trained at night, and I continue to learn things about what gear and techniques actually work when the lights go out. If you’ve not trained at night, I highly recommend you do so. We are sight hunters, and we spend half our lives in the dark. It’d be a good thing to learn how to save our lives when there is little to no light around to help us see.

Ready. Fire. Aim.

Santa was a few days late with this present to Nevada gun owners, but I’m sure they don’t mind. Sebastian points out that Michael Bloomberg’s brand new make gun ownership illegal “universal background check” law can’t be enforced in Nevada, because Bloomberg’s lawyers seem to be unaware of how Nevada’s gun laws actually work.

NRS 202.254, as amended by Background Check Act, makes it a crime to engage in private sales or transfers of firearms (with certain exceptions) unless a federally licensed dealer conducts a federal background check on the potential buyer or transferee. Because the Act specifically directs the deal to run checks through the FBI’s NICS system, the Nevada Department of Public Safety has no authority to perform the background checks required by the Act.

Nevada, like Pennsylvania and Florida, uses a state-run background check system and not NICS, so the FBI/ATF had no jurisdiction and authority to run background checks in Nevada. It’s roughly equivalent to writing a law which mandates that the police department in Bangor, Maine, write the speeding tickets for Glendale, Arizona. Yes, the Bangor Police Department writes a lot of tickets, but no, their actions have little, if any effect on the traffic laws of Arizona.

Congratulations, Bloomberg. That’s $20 million you could have spent on something that would have actually lowered crime and improved the lives of the people of Nevada, but you chose to do this instead.

 

 

2016 In Review

Or, the year that everything changed, and nothing changed. I did really, really poorly on my shootey goals, but I did really, really well with other things.

I shot the fewest matches I’ve ever shot in one year, but I’m quite satisfied with almost every part of my pistol skill except my draw, and I’m working on that part every day.

Speaking of which, I’m on a regular dry-fire routine of ten to fifteen minutes of practice draws and trigger presses before I leave for work each day, and I’m doing at least a half-hour’s fast walking every night to get myself in some sort of shape other than “pear”.

While I haven’t been shooting much, my writing opportunities have really taken off. I’ve written a LOT for Shooting Illustrated and Ricochet, and I’ve added in the occasional article on Lucky Gunner as well.

Training-wise, the two-day class with Bob Vogel was well worth the money. If you’re looking for a class that will teach you pistol marksmanship, pure and simple, you’d be well served to take one of his classes.

SHOT Show was not in the cards this year, but NRA was, and it was wonderful to meet people like Andrew Branca, David Yamane and Tam for the first time and find out that they’re almost as nice in-person as they are online.

While I’m not working in the gun biz full time, my current job is one of the best I’ve ever had in my life, so I’m actually much, much happier than if I was slinging steel for a living. It was also nice to see some of my posts gain some traction inside the business, and I’m also working with a new startup developing a rather cool gadget for firearms training, but I can’t talk much about it right now.

Thank you, everyone, for coming by. I sincerely appreciate it, and have a happy and blessed New Year’s.

Home On The Range.

I’ve been helping a friend of mine come up with ideas on renovating an outdoor range here in Florida, and in doing so, I realized that his competition isn’t nearby gun clubs, it’s all the other outdoor activities that are around the club. Dedicated gun owners will go to the range. We have no choice. Shooting is our primary hobby, and that’s done (for the most part) on a range. I’ll drive for two hours to shoot out to 1000 yards or go to a really good USPSA match, and I’ll go even further to train with one of the legends in the business.

The casual gun owners who make up a big part of Gun Culture 2.0 are not like that. Guns are a part of their lifestyle, which means the guns they own and how they use them needs to fit into their lives as well. If the club cannot provide the same experience and level of service as, say, a municipal driving range, casual gun owners are going to chose other recreational activities over going to the range. You want to make it as nice to go to the range as it is to rent a kayak or go for a horse ride or things that compete for the same outdoor activity dollar.

This is why the “guntry club” idea has taken off. It’s not that 50,000 people have plunked down thousands of dollars for a Super Duper Exclusive Deluxe Membership, it’s that those ranges tend to have nicer experiences for the average schlep than other ranges do, and if you’re paying roughly the same price for the experience, you want to go to places that treat you well. People have limits on the money and time they can spend on their leisure time, and if shooting a gun isn’t fun, they’ll do something else instead.

Shoot To Live, Live To Shoot

There’s an answer to a question posed in yesterday’s post regarding ways to expand the shooting sports at a pace that matches the expansion of gun ownership, and that answer is found in the tag line of this blog: Guns are the new Harley-Davidson.

Harley was smart enough to realize that their long-term growth depended not just on people BUYING motorcycles, but RIDING them. The garages and closets of America are filled with gadgets and toys that people bought because it was the cool thing to do at that time, but then they quickly moved on to something else.

This is why I use the term “tactical pet rock” when it comes to today’s gun owners: At best, they’ll be like Harley owners, and understand that owning a gun means a change in their lifestyle. At worst, they’ve bought a novelty item like a pet rock that will languish on a closet shelf for decades until it’s time to get rid of it.

Harley-Davidson sells motorcycles pushing the idea of the open road, independence and freedom. They rarely talk about their actual products to new motorcycle owners, they talk about how a Harley makes you *feel*.

This is called “lifesytle marketing,”, and it’s an almost un-heard of thing inside Gun Culture 2.0.

Harley creates the “motorcycle lifestyle” with “Learn to Ride” events all over the country that teach people who want to buy a motorcycle how to actually RIDE a motorcycle.

Quick: Which gun company is doing that same sort of thing to encourage people to own (and shoot) their guns?

That’s right, none of them.

Glock is the closest to doing such a thing, and no, it’s not GSSF I’m talking about. Rather, it’s the Everglades Glock event they’ve put on the past couple of years down here at Louland gun range. It is a celebration of Glock ownership and has simple, easy-shoot stages that are closer to what a competition is truly like, rather the point-and-squirt stages of Steel Challenge or GSSF. This event is more about Glocks, how they shoot, what you can buy for them and how they fit into your lifestyle than it is about shooting a match or learning a new training technique.

We forget just how much new gun owners DON’T know about guns, and how “basic” our basic level of training and competition needs to be. Getting people to have fun at a shooting match is important, as is getting people to be carry more confidently because they’re well-trained. We forget, though, that the fun and the confidence has to come first, and then (and only then), the competition and the training will follow.

“I Own A Gun, But I Only Carry If I Think I’ll Need It.”

We’ve all heard THAT one before, haven’t we? (And if you’ve said it yourself, welcome to the blog, you must be new here…). I simply cannot comprehend the logic there: There have been two times in the past five years when I’ve felt like I needed a gun: When my family was in St. Louis the night of the Ferguson riots, and  when I accompanied a friend to buy some woodworking tools for cash off of Craigslist. It makes sense to go armed if you’re carrying several hundred dollars in cash and you’re meeting a stranger or if a mob pops up twenty miles away. Other than that, however, I avoid places and people that make me feel like I “need a gun”. People who say such things don’t own guns, they own talismans of self-protection, and they are hoping that the warm feelings of having a gun nearby will somehow make the bad guys go away.

The bad guys, who are unaware as to how sympathetic magic works, ignore such desires and attack you anyways.

I live in a quiet subdivision outside of a quiet town in Southwest Florida: It’s like Mayberry, but with Catholics instead of Southern Baptists. The other day, I walked to our local grocery store (just over a mile, round trip), and I had all of this on my person. Was I expecting trouble? No. Could a stray dog or something else have ruined the tranquility of my walk and presented a danger to me? Yes. I live on the edge of the Everglades, and Florida panthers (the felines, not the hockey team) and black bears have been spotted near my house (and we won’t even begin to talk about the gators or snakes). If something like this can happen to the sitting governor of Texas, it can happen to me.

casual_carry

Clockwise from upper left:

The ABDO is an interesting beast. I have it as part of a review for Shooting Illustrated, and it’s rapidly turning into a useful thing for those “I just need to pop out and get the mail” moments when you don’t need to carry a week’s worth of MRE’s on you because you’ll be within walking distance of your home. I use it because I hate pocket-carrying with jeans, and the darn thing is surprisingly quick on the draw.I’ve got a full review of it up on Shooting Illustrated’s website, go check it out.

All of that easily fits into my pockets and on my belt, and yet it still covers all the bases of less-lethal, knife, flashlight, medical gear, ammo and gun that we should be carrying around everyday.

Think you should carry “Only when you need it”? Carry first, worry about the need later.

Cop’s Life Saved by Citizen

This happened about 10 miles away from where I work.

Estero, Fla. — A passerby shot and killed a person who was fighting with a Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy on Interstate 75 Monday morning.

Deputy First Class Dean Bardes, a 12-year-veteran, was working an accident at mile marker 126 when the suspect came upon him, causing Bardes to pursue him, according to multiple sources.

Bardes and the suspect exited their vehicles at the Corkscrew Road exit and a fight started, sources said.

The passerby, who had a Concealed Weapons License, exited his vehicle and instructed the suspect to stop beating the deputy, sources said.

After noncompliance from the suspect, the passerby shot the suspect three times, sources said. The suspect later died.

Although Bardes was crying for help, he was not shot, sources said. He was treated and released from Lee Memorial Hospital.

Good shooting, Mr. Concealed Carry Person. I hope you never have to pay for a beer again in your life.

After Action Report – Everglades Glock Range Day

Glock Event Stage

Not that easy of a stage, but people seemed to enjoy it.

Run and Gun

Four shooting areas, all steel, with some strong-side shooting as well.

Cosplayers were out in force.

Cosplayers were out in force.

Glock 40 MOS

Glock 40 MOS. I’m not a Glock guy, but I likey.

I popped down to Louland Gun Range over the weekend to check out the Everglades Glock event put on by, well, Glock and Step By Step Gun Training.

It’s a low-stress, lightweight version of a Glock Shooting Sports Event, but with stages that vary from year to year and some stage movement as well. There were four stages, along with a demo stage where people could pay five bucks to try out the Glock of their choice and a exhibitors area with vendors and a food truck.

This. This is how you do an “Intro To Competition Shooting” event, and you do it right. What made it work?

  1. Glock was the title sponsor, but their footprint on the event was smaller than at a GSSF event. I’m not a Glock owner, but I could be, and Glock did a good job of balancing their presence there with the need to bring in more shooters.
  2. Fun stages that were more than paper targets or plate racks. Shooting steel is fun. Shooting on the move is fun. Shooting steel while moving? Lots of fun. Look, you can go to an indoor range and stand there in one place and then blast away at a target all you want, but just about the only time you can move and shoot is in a pistol bay. Why, then, does Scholastic Steel Challenge and other “Introductory” sports set up static stages? When you played “Cowboys and Indians* ” as a kid, did you stand in one place and shoot your fingers at each other, or did you run all over the neighborhood like a roadrunner on meth?
    I thought so.
    So why, then do The Powers That Be think that standing in one place is a fun thing to do for people who’ve never shot a match before?
  3. Prizes. Even if it’s only one or two guns, it’s enough. I’ve seen people go NUTS for bar stools with Browning’s label on them, imagine what they’ll do for a free Glock 19.
  4. Relaxed atmosphere. No one was screaming “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!!”. No Threepers. None of the usual gun show nut jobs, although one guy had on thigh holster, because Mall Ninja, that’s why. The vast majority of people there were normal-looking and normal-acting. There is a time and a place to get riled up for what you believe in, but that time and place is not when you’re trying to bring new people into the cause.

Kudos to Louland, Everglades Ammo, Step By Step Gun Training and Glock for putting on such a fun event, and I hope others will learn from it and help spread the good word of safe and FUN practical shooting.


* That’s “Nomadic Livestock Management Engineers” and “Oppressed Native Americans” to you more post-modern types.

Match Report: Pistol Match at Louland 10/20/16

I had been trying to get out of the house to shoot a match on the weekend the last three weekends in a row, but time and tide worked against me. However, I realized that if I ducked out of work a bit early (thank goodness I’m salary, not wages), I could shoot the Thursday night match at LouLand and still have my weekends available for honey-dos.

So I did.

This is not a tough match. Lou has an extensive background in USPSA, but, in his own words, he’s tired of putting up with the crap that USPSA throws at him, so the matches are easy to shoot and have a low round count. Most of the stages consist of 3-5 shooting boxes with steel targets, and no table starts, memory stages or awkward shooting positions.

Like I said, not tough.

I shot well, or I should say, as well as I expected to given a three month hiatus. I had one Mike the entire match (I coulda sworn I hit that plate six times and not five) and a dropped shot or three, but other than that, I was happy.

One stage in particular was interesting, Stage Four. It was a very simple stage, but it revealed some things about my fellow shooters.

stage_four

It’s a nice little balance between speed and accuracy, and if you swap out the partial targets downrange with 6′ plates and toss in a mandatory reload, it’d make a dandy little drill stage because it combines speed, movement and accuracy all within 12 rounds.

But it was interesting watching how the shooters accustomed to this match handled this stage. There’s one sound lad in particular who is blazingly fast on the trigger and has great food speed, but his accuracy is… suboptimal. He blew through this stage in just under five seconds, but with a bunch of Charlies and a Mike on that close-up target. He shoots this match a lot, and his shooting style was developed in an environment that rewards fast movement and fast shooting, and if you miss, well, that’s what makeup shots are for!

stage_scores

How he would do at an IPDA or Bianchi Cup match, where accuracy trumps speed? What would that do to how he approaches this match?

If you want to remove the blind spots in your defensive skills, you train with a wide variety of competent trainers. If you want to shoot matches and have them assist your defensive skills, you need to shoot matches that show where you need improvement, not what you’re doing well.