Remember Kids, Don’t Try This At Home.

Yeah, so I’ve been writing a lot about firearms training recently. I think it’s because I’m finally to the point where I can see the (many) holes in my technique, and I want to patch them up and get better.

A corollary:

We did not have a lot of choices for hamburgers in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta. There was McDonalds, A&W and very local places like Peter’s Drive-In (if you get a chance to try their peanut butter and banana milkshake… don’t.). At the time, all of those place discouraged special orders and had lousy customer service.

Then Wendy’s opened up, and there was a literal line outside the door. With fresh ingredients and good customer service, they were like nothing else we’d experienced.

We didn’t know what a good burger tasted like because we had never tasted a good burger.

Which is where I am now. I see the goal, and I’m getting closer to it. My pathway to that goal involves thinking about how I want to accomplish things, and rather than keep my (inane) thoughts to myself, I’m writing them down for all to see.

Am I a tactical guru? No. Do I want to be a tactical guru? No. Do I want others to see the path I’m going down and decide for themselves if I make sense or not? Sure, why not? There are no secrets to this stuff, there’s just mindset and the ability to execute on-demand.

For me, the execution is built through dry-fire, practice and competition, and the mindset is built by writing down my thoughts and working through things with all the power that my (ever-diminishing) brain cells can muster. I’m not an expert on this, I’m just muttering to myself in the corner about the things that are happening inside my head.

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.

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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!

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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.

 

Take What Is Best, Discard The Rest.

There’s been quite a lot of chatter from parts of the internet about the effectiveness of timers in training and what skills we should use as benchmarks in our training. Some of it is good, some of it isn’t.

A lot of the talk centers around what should and should not be tracked with a timer, because chasing those skills, some say, is a waste of your time and effort.

Let’s look at one of the most “gamer” skills out there, target-to-target transitions. “On the street” it doesn’t matter HOW fast your gun moves from one target to another, right? That sort of stuff is pure gamer, useful only for getting a better score at a match or impressing your buds at the range.

Or is it?

Let’s review.

  1. Pistols, even the vaunted .45AKCACP usually do not stop a threat with just one shot*.
  2. This means that multiple rounds on-target (preferrably in the center-mass area or into the ocular cavity of the skull) are going to be needed, and they’ll be needed under very stressful conditions.
  3. People don’t like getting shot and they tend to run away from people who are shooting at them.

All of this means that if (God forbid) we get into a gun fight, we may need to dump many rounds into a target that is moving so that it does not get shot full of holes.

Think being able to quickly acquire a new target and move your gun so the sights are on-target helps in that situation?

I do.

Still think that target transition speed is a “gamer” skill?

Let’s watch this in practice. Notice how fast the bad guys de-ass themselves after their supposed victim shows his claws. The “victim” in this case wisely decides to stop shooting when it’s apparent that their victim du jour is anything but and de-ass themselves from the situation, probably weighing slightly more as well, thanks to the several dozen grains of lead that is now deep inside their chest cavity.

They call them “running gun battles” for a reason, people.


* Although a round into the ocular cavity that drives into the medulla oblagata does tend to end things right quickly…

Quote of the Day, Colion Noir Edition.

“I’ve always looked at firearms training as a form of (the) martial arts. In that world, people spend hours perfecting a fighting craft, yet no one thinks  they’re nuts. Average people think hand-to-hand combat is a pursuit of accomplishment, rather than preparing to beat up the next dude we see in a Tap-Out t-shirt. Part of reason of the reason why people train with a gun is self-defense, but they also want to be good shooters for the sake of it. Learning to use a gun with extreme proficiency is an art form, and it’s time we start talking about it that way.”

So. Much. This.

I Got 99 Dollars And You Can’t Hear None Of Them.

A lightweight rimfire can for $99? Yes, please!

img_6690-resized-e1474993801503
The SOS-22 is a masterpiece. In a world of overpriced suppressors the SOS-
22 shatters the mold. Needing only three baffles (shocking we know), the SOS-22 is
one of the lightest rimfire cans on the market, incredibly quiet, robust, snappy to
disassemble and maintain, and only $99.

So for around 4 bills, once you’ve dealt with transfer fees and tax stamps, you’ll have a rimfire suppressor of your very own.

Ok, I’m interested.

The Default Setting Is Fun.

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Thinking a little more about yesterday’s post, one of the biggest issues that Gun Culture 2.0 has is helping people get serious about shooting. Gun Culture 1.0 didn’t have that problem because the shooting is the culmination, not the beginning of a hunt and a poor shot could be overcome with a closer stalk. Getting people to do more with their gun than just go to a range and make noise is a challenge, because blasting away and making noise IS A WHOLE LOT OF FUN. Taking a class and finding out how much you suck?

Not fun.

I’m still not certain how we can bridge that gap between the joy of shooting loudly and the confidence of shooting well. Kathy Jackson uses a swimming lesson metaphor and it’s a good one, the closest one I’ve yet found to helping people understand how training can make a day on the range more fun than an untrained day on the range.

Taking a walk in the woods is fun, so therefore, people go out into the woods and hunt. Riding in a boat across the lake and chatting with your friends is fun, so people go fish. Going to the range and shooting is fun, so people do that as well. Shooting a competition with your friends is fun, and that needs to talked about more often if we want Gun Culture 2.0 to thrive.

The First Steps Are Always The Hardest.

I am continually amazed at how much bad advice there is out there when it comes to helping people shooting more gooder with a pistol. Yelling “Front sight! Front sight!” over and over again to someone not shooting well means little if the person behind the trigger doesn’t understand that what you mean is “Watch what the front sight is doing in relationship to the rear sights before, during and after you press the trigger.”

We wouldn’t expect a blindfolded quarterback to be able to throw the ball accurately *, so why do we expect people to shoot well when they can’t predict their shots will hit before they pull the trigger?

More thoughts on this over on Ricochet.com.


* Ok, let’s face it, Peyton Manning or Joe Montana could do it, but they’re not human.

Product Review: Prosounds M2 Ear Protection.

m2_prosounds

Advantages: Low cost, full features
Disadvantages: Top out at 25db noise reduction
Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

Earlier this year I backed a Kickstarter project for a set of ProSounds M2 electronic earmuff hearing protectors. They came in last month, and to be honest, I forgot I had them, because I’ve taken a shine to these other ProSounds hearing protectors instead.

However, the M2 earmuffs are quite good. Slightly larger than the Howard Leights they replace, they offer 25db noise reduction versus the 22db reduction of the Howard Leights. They also cover my ears more, which is probably one of the reasons for the better noise reduction rating.

The volume controls are easy to reach and easy to use without looking at them (a must-have for this sort of hearing protection, and they were comfortable to wear all morning long at a recent USPSA match.

If you’re looking for something that’s a little step up from the Impact Sports that are so popular these days, give the Prosounds M2 a look.

The Problem Just Showed Up On Our Doorstep.

Me, last year.

How long before MS13, La eMe, etc, figure out there’s as much money to be made from kidnapping middle class citizenry as there is from smuggling people and/or drugs into the U.S.?

Phoenix, Arizona, today.

A bank teller noticed a distraught woman withdrawing a significant amount of money and contacted police who then saved her from kidnappers.

Court records show that on August 26, a woman walked into the Bank of America near 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road. She was reportedly visibly distraught and tried to withdraw $19,000 without a bank card. The teller “went to check if she could go that,” but instead alerted police.

Phoenix police report that they arrested 22-year-old Alonzo Daniel Cabrera who was with the victim in the bank.

The whole story has yet to be told here, so I’m willing to bet there was an illicit connection of some kind between the victim and her kidnappers. I don’t think this was a random kidnapping, but the amount of the ransom, $38,000, tells us that the bad guys out there are willing to roll in hot and kidnap people for ransom amounts under $50,000. This one probably wasn’t a random kidnapping, but the next one might not be.

Stay safe out there.

Quiet Is The New Loud.

Prosounds in ear hearing protectionI reviewed a set of the ProSounds H2P earbuds for Shooting Illustrated.

Bottom line: I likey. I can’t stand foam ear buds, but these things were ridiculously comfortable to wear throughout a full day at the range, and unlike over-the-ear hearing protectors, they don’t make your ears sweat.

Go check out it.