Certifiable.

Certifiable.

There was an interesting little tidbit on last week’s “The Remnant” podcast, where Jonah Goldberg interviewed Charlie Cooke. Charlie is the editor of NationalReview.com and is a former subject of Her Majesty who now lives in the U.S. and is also a gun nut.

Why does that seem SO familiar?

In the midst of a discussion about the impact that 3-D printed guns would have on gun manufacturers, Jonah mentioned the impact that Indian casinos have had on Vegas: None at all. What happens is that people who start gambling in a low-rent dive eventually want to take their game (and the experience of playing) to the Nth level, and so that means a trip to Vegas.

Which got me thinking: Why don’t gun companies do more to improve the shooting experience at a gun range? They have a vested interest in getting people out to the range and shooting guns more, so why is the NSSF the only one who certifies ranges as being a cut about average?

Look, I like, nay, LOVE the NSSF, but let’s face it, the average gun owner knows nothing about them other than they’re the ones who toss in an Operation Childsafe pamphlet into the box of their new gun.

What would happen if, say, Glock certified ranges? Or Sig? Would people who own Glocks want to shoot on a range that they knew had the stamp of approval from their favorite brand of gun?

Something to think about.

Flash Site Pictures

Flash Site Pictures

Three Concealed Carry Myths Debunked. The Sheriff speaks the truth here. Read it.

What, a guns of the 80’s retrospective WITHOUT the classic Witness Protection shorty 870? For shame! 🙂

Tam does a good job elucidating what you want and don’t want in a carry holster (two guesses which holster shown in that article wasn’t one that she had in mind when she wrote it…). 🙂

Some nice little drills for the indoor range. If you can’t adapt your teaching to work on a “bowling alley” indoor range, you are setting your beginning to intermediate students up to fail.

Lessons from a daytime home invasion. A few years ago, we lived in a neighborhood in Chandler, Arizona that was, um, in transition, and the townhouse next to us had it’s door kicked in and ransacked, while ours wasn’t. Why? We had an external security door on both entrances, and they didn’t.

I really liked the iDryfire and Sharpshot EZ dry fire training apps. You can easily set up a dry fire dojo inside your bedroom or garage for under $100. Just do it.

This is actually a pretty good list of books about America’s gun culture. I see some that I’ve read, and some I need to read.

College students learning about guns. More of this, please.

Hobbyist’s Lobby

Hobbyist’s Lobby

Grant Cunningham (and others), talk about the “gun training hobby,” and I gotta admit they have a point. Going to gun school for more than just a few hours a year is not a thing that most gun owners do. Only a select few consider something like Rangemaster to be a “must-see” event, and they’re the ones who set the pace for “serious” firearms training in the U.S.

When does the circuit get flipped between someone who’s a casual gun owner and a gun training “hobbyist”? Well, for me, it was when I realized I don’t “go shooting” anymore: When I go to the range it’s to work on a drill or try out a gun or practice a skill. The last time I went to the range to shoot for shooting’s sake was when I did a quick test of the Kel-Tec PMR30, a ridiculously fun gun to shoot. Other than that, I see marksmanship as a skill to master, not as a pastime or recreational endeavor.

Is that a problem? No. But it becomes a problem when it gets in the way of me doing stuff with the people who like going shooting solely for fun. Those of us at the deep end of the pool need to remember how much fun it is splashing around in the shallows can be, or else we’ll never get people to try to extend their skills.

Upgrades

Upgrades

I have a few new products in for review for Shooting Illustrated, and so far they are three-for-three in the winning department.

The new Primary Arms 1x PRISM scope with ACSS reticle is simply terrific for people like me who have astigmatism. I had been running an admittedly cheap Bushnell red dot on that gun, but the clarity of the prism optic make for a much, much better shooting experience than either a conventional red dot or holographic optic.

I’m also reviewing the Timney Targa AR-15 trigger. Yes, it’s a 2 stage trigger, but it’s a really, really good one. I’d feel completing comfortable running this at a three gun match (and I’m doing that this week, as a matter of fact).

I’ve also got in a Sharpshot EZ dry fire trainer, and I really, really like it. It’s a bit more than other dryfire training devices, but unlike everything else, you don’t need to hike back and forth to your phone between strings. Plus it has a lot of great features like a shot timer and drills and can be used with a bunch of standard targets, putting it at the head of the class of dryfire training aids.

And speaking of upgrades, a little birdie told me that the new owners of the training complex formerly known as Altair have some big plans for that site, backed up with a decent amount of capital to make those plans happen.

Good. It’s a nice facility and it deserves to be used to its fullest potential.

Yes, You DO Need To Worry About That Little Guy.

Yes, You DO Need To Worry About That Little Guy.

NRA Instructor QualAs I mentioned earlier, I shot the NRA Instructor Qual with the Colt Competition 1911 that I’m running through a 2000 Round Challenge.

I had (*had*) been doing dry fire up to the day of the test with one of my tricked-out CZ75’s, in anticipation that shooting the qual with a gamer gun that has a wonderful single action trigger would give me a little edge, but seeing how I had a bunch of ammo left over after the Louland match, I went with the 1911 instead to shoot up the extra ammo. I did ok, right up to the point where I had five shots outside of the eight-inch circle at 15 yards, over the maximum of four that the test requires. To make matters worse, that one shot I pulled low and left not only DQ’d me because it was the fifth shot outside the circle, it was outside the six-inch max group size required by the test.

Whoops.

Look, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the 1911 platform itself: It’s a gun that wins bullseye matches year after year after year, and it wins them because it’s stupid accurate. However, my experience with the 1911 is pretty much limited to the 1000 rounds I have through my test gun, while on the other hand, I passed the 1000 round mark with a CZ75 long before we had smartphones.

Lesson learned.

I’ll shoot the qual again, (probably next week) because I want to get my certs re-upped and start teaching CCW (more on that later) so I’ll shoot it with something I already know how to use accurately, not something I’m learning to shoot.

Flash Site Pictures

Flash Site Pictures

Are Race Holsters really worth the $$$$?

The Liberator pistol and Sten SMG were designed to be functional firearms that can be built in a garage, and this is further proof of that fact.

I did the writeup on the Ruger PC Carbine for Shooting Illustrated. Spoiler alert: I liked it. But then again, I’ve been a fan of pistol-caliber carbines for quite awhile.

Five easy upgrades for your AR-15. If you bought an AR but don’t know what to do with it, this is where I’d start.

Both the NRA and the Huffington Post agree: Justice Kennedy’s retirement is bad news for gun control.

Not sure I agree with the Sheriff here about carrying a reload. I carry one for my Shield, but with 9+1 in it now, I’m not certain I need one.

My CZ75s are proof that I was into TA/DA guns before they were cool (/gunhipster).

Farce On Farce

Farce On Farce

One of the interesting takeaways from my knife defense class was some of the comments in a Facebook group where Jeff Street posted a link to the article.  Another instructor in the group didn’t believe that the class taught anything worthwhile because it didn’t teach us how to then press the attack with a knife, it taught us how to get away from the knife and therefore was of little use.

The thing is though, I really, really don’t want to get into knife fight when I fight: I prefer not to get into a fight at all.  If I have to get into a knife fight, I want it to quickly evolve into a gun fight, because I’m much better that I am with knives.  A pistol fight also gives me the wonderful option of running away screaming in terror, which is the most effective defense against the knife there is.

The trainer who was complaining that our class was “unrealistic“ was a big proponent of force on force training to prove that his theories were correct, and the videos he posted to bolster his arguments showed that yes, they did indeed work.

As long as you play by the rules he set up prior to the start of the fight, and that’s a mighty big if.

I’m not really interested in force on force training which proves that your system works: I’m more interested in scenarios that show where it breaks and where we need to improve.  Force on force training works because we have to improvise on the fly when we’re in the fight. Force on force in training helps us improvise quicker, better, and more often, not repeat the patterns of training we already know, that’s what drills are for.

There are many trainers out there who denigrate the use of practical shooting as a way to improve your pistol skills. They say that the minute you define the rules of the match, it no longer becomes effective combat training.  Personally, I think you can thousand years of human civilization argues against this back. From the ancient Greeks on Mount Olympus to the Roman gladiator games to knights of olde jousting to samurai attacking each other with wooden swords, mankind has always used sport as a way to improve our combat ability.

Are there more rules in a sporting event than there are in real life? Of course there are! Those rules, however, are there so sport becomes a learning event, not a literal life-and-death struggle. We learn the rules, we master them, and then we learned to break them when necessary.

Upcoming Training: Long Range Rifle Immersion Level One

Upcoming Training: Long Range Rifle Immersion Level One

I’ve had my Savage 116 for years now, but I’ve never taken the time to really learn how to use it. It’s an MOA or better gun, but I’m not an MOA or better shooter.

Time for that to change, which is why I’m enrolled in Florida Firearms Training’s Long Range Rifle Immersion class in August.

The class is designed to give students a grounding in the long range game that can be built upon to push things out to 500 yards and beyond. If it’s anywhere near as fun and informative as the hog hunting class I had with them, it’s sure to be a blast.

 

After Action Report: Introduction To Basic Knife Defense

After Action Report: Introduction to Basic Knife Defense

I signed up for an “Intro to Knife Defense” class with Step by Step Gun Training, taught by Paul Rosales and his two assistant instructors, all of which have an extensive background in Escrima, Muy Thai and a bunch of other martial arts I know nothing about.

I walked into the classroom with my usual open mind about what I was going to be taught, but I will confess that in the background, I kinda had a “Yeah, how good could this REALLY be?” attitude.

Boy, was I wrong. Although the class was only three hours long, I learned A LOT about staying un-stabbed in a knife fight, and what I learned fit perfectly with both ECQC and what I’ve learned about concealed carry.

Which shouldn’t surprise me, because Paul created this class as a way to bring the worlds of civilian civilian concealed carry and the world of knife-fighting together. The point of the class wasn’t to turn us into world-class cutlery wielders, the point of the class was to give us a basic knowledge of how knife attacks happen and what we can do to get out of a bad situation as quickly as we can.

And it did just that. The class was tremendously informative and left me wanting more. As I’ve written before, martial artists tend to see ever problem in terms of a punch or kick solution and gun people tend to see BANG as the solution to every situation. This class integrated the two, and it works nicely as the bridge between the ground work and grappling of ECQC and the quick draw and retention work of concealed carry.

 

A few notes from class:

  • Civilians tend to keep both a knife and their gun on their right side, which is not the optimal location for a self-defense blade. I wonder if that’s because we see it as a utilitarian tool more than we do as  a weapon. 
  • There are the knives you use to open up a package, and the knives you use to open up a person. Don’t confuse the two.
  • Never bring a gun to a knife fight. The reverse is also true.
  • Quick movement to the knife side in a fight opens up more space than movement back or to the left, which is also consistent with firearms teaching about getting off the X. Go figure.
  • Rapidly deploying a folding knife in a fight is theoretical at best. Go with a centerline fixed blade.
  • More than that, set up your blade so you can draw and strike in one smooth motion. I carry a centerline blade (an SOG Mini Instinct) but the handle on it faces left. Not no more. I turned it around this weekend so I can grab it with either the left or the right hand and slash upwards on the draw, giving me a chance to either gain space or go on the attack.

All in all, it was a highly informative three hours that gave me a good basis for both keeping safe outside of the home and integrating the other means of self-protection that I carry on a daily basis. Really looking forward to what Paul and his team have in store for further training.

I Am A Expert (Ex-Spurt?) Pistol Shooter.

I Am A Expert (Ex-Spurt?) Pistol Shooter.

I decided to put my money where my memes are, and shoot the Marine Corps Combat Pistol Program Qualifier with my carry gear, from concealment.

Now, as I shoot a 9mm Shield with a max magazine capacity of 8 rounds* and not an M9A1 with 15 rounds, I had to alter the ready magazine routine a bit and shoot from multiple mags. Also, I didn’t score, paste and repair in-between strings because I wanted to see my results all at once.

And what were those results? First, a review of what the levels of Qualification actually are.

Expert: 364/400
Sharpshooter: 324/400
Marksman: 264/400

I shot a 376, and qualified as Expert.

Now Kevin, I hear you say, there are only two holes outside of the 10 point scoring zone on that target. How could you have scored only 376 and not 396? Well, the truth is, on the last string of fire on Stage One, the one with the Tactical Emergency Reload, I got my cover garment (a loose t-shirt) stuck on my tourniquet pouch and it took me 14 seconds to make the reload which resulted in two shots that were on-target but outside of the par time and therefore count as misses.

Whoops.

Other than that, I found the par times were ridiculously long for each course of fire. I didn’t quite shoot each string in half the required time, but I was shooting them in 2/3rds the time or less. I also learned a valuable lesson about practicing with your carry gear: Practice with ALL of it, rather than just the shootey bits. My t-shirt got hung up on something (my tourniquet) that I’ve never had on me in a class or at a match.

Lesson learned.

Knowing that I qualified at the Expert level is an ego boost, and it’s potentially a boost in the courtroom as well if I shoot it under supervision. It also gives me another baseline to measure my progress on my ability to defend myself with a pistol, and gives me a platform to reach up even higher.

 

* 9 rounds if I’m using the magazine with the MagGuts +1 follower.