The Drill That Dare Not Speak Its Name

The Drill That Dare Not Speak Its Name

There are very few drills that incite more conversation than the tried and true El Presidente drill.

The drill itself is deceptively easy:

  • Set up three USPSA targets 10 yards away, with about one yard in between them
  • Load your pistol with 6 rounds, and have a reload with 6 rounds standing by
  • Turn so your back is facing the targets and wait for the beep of the timer
  • Turn and draw your gun, and shoot each target twice, which will empty your gun
  • Reload, and shoot each target twice more
  • Only hits in the vital area (either the center-chest area or, if you’re good, the head box) count for score

Seems simple, right? The problem is, most of the early classification drills for USPSA use something similar, so the El Presidente is forever tied to the “gaming” scene, and its detractors say it’s nothing but a one-way ticket to training scars that will teach you to shoot just two rounds into a target and move along.

But what does this drill actually teach?

  1. Quick target acquisition. Standing with your back to the targets means you have to seek out your first shot as you turn, and then do it again after your reload.
  2. Quick target transitions. Two shots and the moving on forces you to learn to see the target with your eyes first, then bring the gun to bear. Think this applies to hitting a moving target? I do.
  3. Gun manipulation. While I don’t see the value in learning a fast reload to the average person who carries concealed, the fact is, the motions needed to reload your gun quickly are pretty much identical to the motions needed to clear most, if not all, the various malfunctions you might have with your gun.

Sounds pretty handy to me.

The biggest drawback I see with the drill is that it requires a pistol bay and three target stands to shoot, something not every shooter is going to have lying around. Is the El Prez the be-all, end-all of drills? Heck no. Is it an outdated relic that is of little use to today’s pistol owners? Also no.

Bon Voyage.

Bon Voyage.

On a recent Safety Solutions podcast, Claude Werner, the Tactical Professor, said that firearms training is not an event, it’s a journey.

He’s right.

But it’s getting people to go on that journey that’s the hard part, because unless they are absolutely forced to so, people don’t like to go on journeys that are not fun. My family and I will gladly travel up to Orlando for two hours in order to go to a theme park, but we are not willing to travel two hours to go eat broccoli.

And I like broccoli.

Also, first impressions matter. I have friends who are seriously into shooting practical pistol competitions, but their first foray into self-defense training was way too “tacticool” and serious for their comfort zone, and they’ve shied away from that area ever since, even though they are great shots and carry a gun on a regular basis.

Making sure the first steps are fun is the key to lifelong learning. Ever watch a preschool teacher? How much of what he/she is teaching involves actual teaching, and how much of what they do is getting their students excited about learning?

That’s why events like Shoot N Scoots are so important. By emphasizing the fun of practical shooting and how you can be safe with a gun on your hip, students think that training and competitions are just as fun as going to the local range and shooting with your friends.

And, of course, it is. We just forget about it from time to time.

However, if the first steps in the journey are difficult and confusing, the student is going to think that the rest of the journey is as horrid. As a result, they’ll put “get more gun training” in the same bucket as “work out more often” and “eat less sugar”… things that we know we SHOULD do, but just don’t see any reason to do so right now.

Want a lifestyle of concealed carry? Make people EAGER to join your classes. Make them not only see a need for training, but also make them feel good about choosing to train with you.

How Does This Gun Make You Feel?

How Does This Gun Make You Feel?

Getting people to live their lives armed means teaching them about an armed lifestyle. Moreover than than that, the lifestyle that we’re teaching has to Be FUN. Yes, we can (and do) encourage people to eat better and exercise by using dire warnings about heart disease and obesity, but the those appeals come down to the simple fact that you will lead a better life if you do such things. Yes, the journey involves a lot of work, but it’s sold as a destination, and that destination is a healthier, happier, life. In other words, eat your broccoli and work out, so you can go to the beach and not look like a beached whale in bathing suit when you do so.

Look at how other lifestyle products are marketed: When’s the last time you saw a TV ad for a family car which rattled off a list of features? TV ads for family cars are all about how people use them and how your family life will be once you buy that car. Beer marketing is all about having good times with your friends as you drink together.

There are exceptions to the rule: Subaru has been all about safety since Day One, and Michelob Ultra and Miller Lite have made low carbs/low calories a cornerstone of their marketing, but both of those are about feeling safety and having good health as part of your lifestyle.

How are we integrating fun and good times into firearms training? Is that even a priority? I agree 100% with Tom Givens in that every round we shoot in practice should have a purpose behind it, but here’s the thing: Most gun owners don’t see a gun as something they need to practice with, they see shooting a gun as a fun, recreational activity to be enjoyed with family and friends.

More on this tomorrow.

We Work Hard So You Don’t Have To.

We Work Hard So You Don’t Have To.

I wonder if the people who attend the same training class year after year and don’t see improvement feel that by attending that class, they’ve already done the work. There is no reason to do more and practice and train and shoot a match and find out how much they suck, because they’ve went to the class and they have the KNOWLEDGE they need to defend their lives successfully.

But as the Apostle James said, faith without works is dead.

Heck, I’m guilty of it. Ask me how much combatives I’ve done since I took Craig Douglas’s class, and I’ll tell you its “zero.” On the other hand, one of the reasons why I couldn’t participate in any of the evos is because I was fat and out of shape, but those two I can change.

It kinda reminds me of church: If you go on Christmas and Easter only and expect it to change your life, you’re fooling yourself. However, if you do the work, if you understand the need to change, doggone it, things change.

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.

In Just Seven Days, I Can Make You A Man

In Just Seven Days, I Can Make You A Man

A terrific post about student growth (and the lack thereof) inside the firearms training community.

“If there’s anything USPSA competition has shown me it is that those people who do better and who want to do better practice practice practice until their high-speed weapons manipulation skills under stress are superior to just about everybody who’s gone to a tactical school but never spent the time to actually practice those techniques that they paid so much money to learn.”

Shooting a practical pistol match USPSA or IDPA match means you have embraced the suck; that you understand that don’t know it all and are willing to demonstrate that lack of knowledge in front of your family and friends. Shooting a match means you know you need to improve, and more importantly, you are willing to take the time and effort to do so. Most people KNOW they need to lose weight or drink less or whatever, but they don’t actually DO it, because that requires effort.

There are ways to make that change less painful. Planet Fitness (and others) are set up so that you can do your exercises and see the results without joining jock culture, and Alcoholics Anonymous lets people find the sources of strength they need to kick a destructive habit.

When my wife’s students leave her middle-school math class each day, they have a homework assignment to do for the following day that will reinforce and expand upon what they previously learned in the classroom.

The list of firearms trainers who hand out drills when class is over which can be used by their students in order to reinforce and expand on what they learned in class is really short. The list of trainers who hand out drills that can be used on the ranges that their students typically have access to (Hint: not a pistol bay) is even shorter.

Giving your students a practice routine that is a) fun and b) something they can do on a regular basis and c) something they can practice without a radical outlay of time and/or money seems like a good way to keep your students coming back for more, and as a bonus, it’ll make them better shooters as well.

Win, win, win.

Rob Pincus Is Right.

Rob Pincus Is Right.

“Let’s go talk to ‘they’. Let’s go influence the culture outside of this room, and that starts with influencing the culture inside of this room.”

Gun owners need to learn to switch from being ideologically-based to being inclusive.

Inclusivity doesn’t mean giving up your standards, rather, it means finding as many people as you can who agree with your goals, and bringing them into the fold. It means finding fellow travelers on the road to personal security, and marching alongside side in order to support THEIR cause as well as ours.

Black Guns Matter, Pink Pistols and the plethora of woman’s shooting groups out there are just one of the ways to do that, and they’re working: We are peeling away bits and pieces of the monolithic anti-gun juggernaut, but more is always needed.

I’m tired to fighting battles to keep the our innate right of armed self-protection: I want a world where the idea of taking away the right of self-protection is laughed out of polite society like chemtrails are. I want people who believe in the insane idea that a disarmed populace is somehow a safer populace treated with the same skepticism as UFO conspiracists. I want “gun control” to be so toxic, only the most wacked-out, flaky politicians in Washington are talking about it.

Why? Well, to borrow a phrase from every concealed carry class everywhere, the best (2nd Amendment) battles are the ones we don’t have to fight. Let’s stop fighting battles, and get on with the business of winning the war.

What Aren’t You Talking About?

What Aren’t You Talking About?

You may notice that I haven’t been talking about my CZs much as of late.

There’s a reason for that.

I took the P07 to TacCon so I could shoot Ernest Langdon’s DA/SA class with it, and I did quite well, shooting a 299/300 in the match. However, since then, I have sucked the suck out of suck with that gun. It got so bad, I reached the point that I couldn’t even shoot a clean Dot Torture drill with it at three yards.

In other words, I sucked.

Now the thing is, I didn’t suck at SHOOTING… I managed an Expert on a run thru the 5×5 Qualifier with my 1911, so the skills were there, I just couldn’t translate those skills onto the P07.

Why was this happening?

Good question.

Usually with a DA/SA gun, it’s that loooong and heavy Double Action first pull that kills your accuracy.

Not me. It was the second trigger pull, the lighter, shorter pull that was doing me in. I was/am doing a lot of dry fire with that gun, and my finger was getting used to an 8lb pull trigger pull with every shot, so when I shot the gun for real and that second shot WASN’T 8 pounds, but rather a shade over 4 pounds, whoosh, there went my shot, low and left.

The cure?

Shooting the P07 with live ammo, and paying CLOSE attention to how my front sight was moving as pulled the trigger on both my DA and my SA shots (thanks, Jeff!).

I shot the pistol in the weekly steel match at Louland, and I did pretty well, scoring above my average on a number of stages.

But when it came to re-shoot the NRA Instructor Qual, I choked. Again. To make matters worse, in practicing with my Shield afterwards, I passed.

This makes no sense. The single-action trigger on the P07 is MILES better than the Apex trigger in my Shield, and the sights on my P07 are set up to be really easy to shoot accurately.

And yet, I suck with that gun when the pressure is on. This tells me that the problem is in my head, and that it’s going to take a lot of practice to get it out of there.

Upcoming Training – Precision Rifle Clinic With BPO Tactical

Upcoming Training – Precision Rifle Clinic with BPO Tactical

Looking forward to this. Now that I have some basic DOPE on my gear, it’s time to put that knowledge into action and learn how to compete in Precision Rifle matches.

It’s one thing to know how to shoot long-range, and it’s another thing to know how to get up a stable shooting position on a roof, barricade or tank trap, and do so while the clock is literally ticking.

Should be fun.