Fighting Shape

Fighting Shape

Tam took a picture of me at TacCon last year, and I’ve been embarrassed to show it because, well, I look really, really fat in the picture. And I was.


I’ve managed to lose about 15 pounds or so in the six months since TacCon, and while that is nothing compared to other people I know who’ve lost 40+ pounds this year, I’m managed to do it without any major changes in my life. I’ve cut out pretty much all sweets except for the occasional spot of ice cream, switched to drinking bourbon and scotch instead of beer, and I walk about two miles every evening.

Am I where I want to be? No. I still need to work on my flexibility and upper body strength, but it’s nice to know with a little effort, I can make myself slightly less out of shape than usual.

Flash Site Pictures

Flash Site Pictures

If you’re looking for a way to shorten the length of your AR Pistol, I’d take a long, hard look at the Maxim Defense CQB Brace, which also came with a JP Rifles Silent Capture Spring. I’m a big fan of that spring because it’s very reliable, easy to use and completely eliminates the “SPROING!” of the buffer spring recoil next to your ear.

I also did the review of the DoubleStar ARP-7 AR Pistol, and I loved the darn thing. Accurate little sucker too… I managed a few MOA and sub-MOA groups with it using SIG Sauer 77gr ammo.

And because there are very few articles on this topic, I wrote up five skill building pocket pistol drills you can shoot on an indoor range.

I’ve also found a lot of articles that showed you HOW to move on a USPSA stage, but darn few about WHY you wanted to do so, so I wrote a beginners guide to stage strategy for USPSA.

Gun sales are starting to flatten out. Am I surprised? No, not really.

Ten tips for starting out in competitive shooting.

How to talk with a violent criminal so you don’t get your a$$ kicked… or worse.

USPSA stage strategy for Production versus Open.

A cost breakdown of shooting at a public outdoor range vs. a private indoor range.

How Much Does It Cost To Shoot Precision Rifle?

How Much Does It Cost To Shoot Precision Rifle?

So we know how much it costs to show up to a 3 Gun match, and how much it costs to shoot 3 Gun and not embarrass yourself much.

So what does it cost to shoot Precision Rifle?

The temptation here is to buy a stock, no-frills Ruger Precision Rifle and call it done, but there is a LOT more the sport of Precision Rifle than just buying a rifle, as I am finding out.

I’ll have the full writeup on all this stuff in an upcoming article for Shooting Sports USA, but here’s what I’d consider to be the minimum amount of gear to shoot a Precision Rifle match and do well.

Precision Rifle Gear 

Precision Rifle$1030.00Ruger Precision Rifle - 6.5mm Creedmoor
2 Mags$80Magpul Polymer AI
Optic$700.00SIG Sauer Tango 6-24x50
Rear Bag$31.00Wilderness Tactical
Front Bag$70.00Weibad
Mat$135.00Wilderness Tactical
Wind gauge$149.00Kestrel 3000
Baliistics Calculator$12.00Strelok Pro
Bipod$97.00Harris S-BRM
Spotting Scope$479.00Vortex Diamondback 20-60x80
Total Cost$3156.00

That Sig scope is a bit of a change-up… I’m seriously impressed with Sig’s optics, and a 6×24 scope first focal plane scope for under a grand (way under) is a pretty good deal. I left off a sling (whoops) and an arm pillow (a massively useful thing to have) so yeah, it might cost you a little more up-front to shoot Precision Rifle than it would 3 Gun, and it’s also going to cost you more to shoot, as 6.5 Creedmoor match ammo, even when bought in bulk, ain’t cheap.

The Essential 3 Gun

The Essential 3 Gun

Picking up from Friday, what should you expect to spend on a decent, but not extravagant 3 Gun rig?

Well, as I found out a few years ago, it costs about the same as a “barbecue gun” 1911 might cost you.

Barbecue Gun 1911 

"Entry Level" high-end 1911$2,865.00Wilson Combat CQB .45
Gun Belt$85.00Dragon Leatherworks
Holster$164.00Milt Sparks
6 Magazines$144.00Wilson Combat
Magazine Pouch$70.00Milt Sparks
Total Purchase Cost$3,328.00

As I said before, if anything, I’ve lowballed that rig… there’s no elaborate stitching on the holster nor engraving on the gun, so it barely meets the requirements for something that’s meant to dazzle your friends at a social get-together.

So what does $3k+ buy you in 3 Gun? A nice little rig.

Beginner’s 3 Gun Setup

3 Gun Rifle$964.00Colt 6920 Trooper
Low Power Variable Scope$350.00Primary Arms 1-6x
3 Extra Magazines$45.00MagPul Gen 3
Mag Pouch$40.00Blade-Tech
Total (Rifle)$1489.00
3 Gun Shotgun$699.00Stoeger Mk3 Freedom
Speedstrippers (2)$86.00TacCom
Mounting Hardware (2)$24.00Blade-Tech
Total (Shotgun)823.00
3 Gun Pistol$550.00Glock 17 Gen 5
Gun Mods$200Trigger, mag baseplates, etc.
Extra Magazines (4)$80.00Brownells
Holster & Mag Pouch$77.00Blade-Tech
Magazine Pouch$25.00Blackhawk!
Gun Belt$55.00Wilderness Tactical
Total (Pistol)$932.00

If you can’t shoot a typical 3 Gun match with this setup and shoot it well, the problem is with you, not your gear. The 6920 is a terrific AR–15, and the Stoeger in particular is a legitimate bargain, giving you all the benefits of more expensive shotgun, at one-third the price. The Glock 17 is a good entry-level pistol that you can shoot IDPA and USPSA with as well and upgrade to your heart’s content.

With that gear, you’ll be competing in Tac Optics, which does have the downside of being the most popular division in the sport, so be advised you’ll have a lot of people contending for top spot in the division. If that’s not your cup of tea, drop this optic on your gun and compete in Tac Limited instead.

Tomorrow we’re going to see which is more expensive to get into: 3 Gun, or Precision Rifle.

Stay tuned.

How Much Does It Cost To Shoot 3 Gun?

How Much Does It Cost To Shoot 3 Gun?

… so the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) published an article on “How to get started in 3 Gun,” and halfway through it was this little tidbit:

Once the bug bites — and it will — with today’s prices, you can buy all three guns for less than $1,000.

Wait, what? Buy all three guns for shooting a 3 Gun match for less than $1000? Now, I will agree that it’s possible (very possible) to buy EACH of the guns for 3 Gun for less than $1000, and that’ll be the topic of a later post.

But buy a rifle, pistol and shotgun for 3 Gun for $1000 total that will allow you to complete a typical 3 Gun course of fire? Is that even possible?

Well yes… sorta.

Budget 3 Gun Setup 

Budget AR-15$450DMPS Panther
Rifle Optic$65Bushnell TRS-25
Shotgun$190Mossberg Maverick
Pistol$280Remington RP-9
Total Cost$985

That’s enough to allow to shoot a course of fire in a typical club-level 3 Gun match. With that red dot on your AR-15 and no other optics, you’ll be competing in Tac Limited, and because you’re using a pump-action shotgun with less capacity than most 3 Gun shotguns, you’re probably not going to win. There’s also the little matter of spare magazines for your rifle and pistol and some way to carry your shotgun ammo so you can reload your scattergun in fourteen minutes or less. That gear, at a very minimum, will run you at least another $200 or more. MUCH more.

Budget 3 Gun Accessories

Pistol Magazine$31Brownells
Holster$60Mission First
Mag Pouch$17Uncle Mike's
Extra Rifle Mag$15Magpul Gen 3
Shotshell Holders (2)$90TacCom
Mounting Hardware (2)$20Tek-Lok Ripoffs
Accessories Total$233

And then there’s ammo costs, which at around 100 rounds each of .223 and 9mm and 50 shotgun rounds per match, can add up REALLY quickly.

CAN you shoot 3 Gun with that rig? Yes. In fact, I shot my very first 3 Gun match with a pump-action Mossberg 500, and I had a lot of fun, but I quickly upgraded all my gear, if for no other reason than my squad mates quickly grew tired of watching me struggle through each stage. What SHOULD you consider to be an entry-level 3 Gun rig? More on that later.

The Vacuum Speaks For Itself

The Vacuum Speaks For Itself

Greg’s not wrong… there are a lot of flaws in this article, one of the very first things that I wrote for Shooting Illustrated.


It’s also the #1 article in the history of Shooting Illustrated, and by a ridiculous amount (as in 10x the traffic of anything else they’ve posted, ever), because at the time, it was one of the first articles out there to say that maybe, just maybe, a .38 with pink grips isn’t the best gun for a women. That article flew around social media, and I honestly can’t tell you how many women commented with “Thank you! I’ve been waiting for years for someone to write an article like this!”

Now, was my methodology off and were those gun choices very flawed? Yeah, probably. I was new to the gun writing game, and those guns were the guns I had access to at the time. If I were to do it again, I’d add in some caveats about the carry gun, and toss in a G19 or the like.

However, five years after it was published, there STILL isn’t another article out there which covers women choosing their own guns, but yet I can find hundreds of articles on the best way to transition from your AR to a pistol.

Seems to me we have our priorities mixed up a bit…

Colt 2000 .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge – Rounds 1796 – 2005

Colt 2000 .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge – Rounds 1796 – 2005

Okay, first the bad news: The Colt Competition that I’m torture-testing really crapped the bed on this outing, with four Failures To Feed with Federal 230 grain JHPs in the first 100 rounds.

But a thought hit me: I’ve not cleaned the magazines on this gun in over a  thousand rounds, and we all know that the magazines are a big choke point with the 1911 platform, and a dirty magazine might just have something to do with a gun failing to feed. To test out this theory, I shot the gun for the next 50 rounds using the mags that shipped with the gun, mags that I’ve used only for Barney-ing up the gun before a stage, and it went the next 125 rounds without a hitch.

Colt Competition 1911

Now that the test is over, it’s time to refurbish this gun and tune it to my specifications, so I’ll be sending it up to KGB Customs to have some work done on it. First up will be new springs pretty much everywhere and I’ll also be checkering on the front strap to give me a better grip. I have a literal boxful of 1911 parts from STI and other manufacturers like hammers and triggers and other parts which I’ve won off of shooting match tables that I’ll send up with the gun as well, just in case they’re needed. Sights-wise, I’m actually quite happy with the Novaks on the gun, so those won’t change, and the grips are also quite good, but I’ll probably add a magwell for faster reloads.

Overall, I’m very happy with the 1911 as a platform and this gun in particular. To be honest, if it weren’t for the word “Competition” in its name and the legal hassles that would come along with that name inside of a courtroom, I’d be 100% confident in using it as a daily carry gun. There are those who say that day of the 1911 has passed. I’m not one of them: I think the 1911 has more than a few years left in it, and I’m looking forward to shooting this gun for years to come.

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:
200 Rounds American Eagle 230 Grain FMJ
20 Rounds Hornady 200 Grain XTP JHP


2005 Rounds Fired
One Double Feed, Round #1347 (Remington UMC)
One Failure To Feed, Round #1568 (MagTech Defender)
One Failure To Feed, Round #1574 (MagTech Defender)
Three Failures To Feed, Rounds #1820, #1863, #1894 (American Eagle FMJ)

Flash Site Pictures.

Flash Site Pictures.

Mike Janich is coming to South Florida. If you want to avoid being stabbed and learn how to use a blade as a defensive weapon, start with his class.

I did a review of the Daniel Defense DDM4 VP7 pistol in .300BLK with a LAW folding brace.

How far are you willing to go to support “your side” when a culture war heats up?

Speaking of which, if this doesn’t chill you to the bone, brother, you are already dead.

I agree with Greg: There really is no reason to carry something other than a SOF-T or CAT tourniquet. I carried a SWAT for awhile, but the fact is, it’s no less bulky than a SOF-T is, so you might as well carry something that’s documented to work.

Product Review: MagGuts Ruger LCP +1 Magazine Follower

Product Review: MagGuts Ruger LCP +1 Magazine Follower

I’ve carried around a compact .380 for over ten years now, and I’m pretty comfortable with what they can and can’t do. One of the more obvious things they can’t do is shoot a lot of bullets without reloading. The magazine in my old P3AT held seven rounds and my LCP2 holds just six, and while both have a higher capacity than a five shot .38 snubbie, no one ever complained they had too many bullets in their gun after the firefight was over.

I had good luck with MagGuts products in my Shield: Their +1 follower for that gun installed quickly and easily and is proving to be reliable in that gun, so I thought I’d give their version for the LCP2 a try as well.

The MagGuts +1 Follower for the LCP2 is slightly different than the one for the Shield: Rather than a one-piece spring, the +1 follower for the LCP2 magazine has a two-piece spring, with a flat ribbon spring that nestles into a pocket into the top spring, and then that fits into the bottom of the new, slimmer follower for your magazine.

MagGuts +1 Follower

I installed that top spring the wrong way on my first try and couldn’t fit the as-promised seven rounds into my magazine (whoops), but the people at MagGuts quickly set me straight, and yes, seven rounds can fit into a standard LCP2 magazine.

On the range, shooting a mixture of PMC 90 grain FMJ and Hornady XTP JHPs. The follower worked fine for the first 50 or so rounds, and then things started to get a little… weird. Over the course of 150 rounds, I had three failures to extract, and the gun did not lock back of several occasions.

Now granted, the LCP2 isn’t the most rock-solid reliable gun on the planet, but still, one failure every 50 rounds gives me pause. With that failure rate, this is just not something I’m willing to carry on a full-time basis, especially since Ruger now makes a seven-round magazine for LCP2.

Flash Site Pictures

Flash Site Pictures

I did the writeup on the Beretta APX Compact for Shooting Illustrated. It’s, um, a compact 9mm striker pistol that feels great and shoots great. As I said before, it’s really, really hard to buy a lousy gun these days: Pretty much everything you can buy new in your local gun shop will do the job, and do it well.

Speaking of Beretta, I wrote something for them on what to do before you take a concealed carry class.

I don’t feel particularly under-gunned when I carry my .380ACP LCP2. Can I successfully shoot a Bane Drill with it? No. Is it an ineffective defensive tool? Also no.

You carry a tourniquet? Great! Do you practice deploying it under less-than-ideal conditions? No? Well, here’s a few simple drills to help with that.

Thanks to the tribalization that’s powered by a global communications network, we are rapidly approaching a post-Westphalian model for government. It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that a lot of tribes are very nasty indeed.

Think that the police are standing by to use cutting-edge tactics and gear to save you from an active shooter? Think again.

Some really, really good tips on surviving a “grid down” situation in an urban environment from someone who is going through a bout of homelessness right now. Bottom line is, want to avoid being prey? Then don’t hang out where the predators are.