Braise The Beef And Pass The Ammunition

Me, last year:

Gun Culture 1.0 was/is fairly respectable and respected: You could (well, until recently) own a gun for hunting and not be considered a “Gun Nut”. No one blinks at a copy of Field&Stream or Outdoor Life in a doctor’s office waiting room. Gun Culture 3.0 will be when no one blinks at a copy of Front Sight or The Tactical Journal in a waiting room.

Peoria, Arizona, today:

Modern Round is an exhilarating and empowering new entertainment concept for the adrenaline seeker in all of us. It’s part virtual shooting range meets part upscale lounge. You’ll experience state-of-the-art technology that feels as real as shooting a live gun. But instead of using live ammo, you’ll be at the center of a simulated world where you’re placed right into the action.

Seems to be like a cross between Gunsite, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and a Dave & Busters.

The “guntry club” is obsolete: Say hello to the drive-by restaurant.

Metrics Don’t Matter. Until They Do.

Metrics in firearms training are needed. When we’re at a range, we are training people to pass a test that will determine if they life or die, so why wouldn’t we want to see how well they’re doing at that sort of thing and track things like draw speed, accuracy under pressure and split times? That sort of thing becomes VERY important when bullets start flying.

The problem is, all the things that lead up to that point, the de-escalation, the awareness of a potential violent counter exist in a metric-free zone. There is no way to empirically judge how ticked-off a potential attacker is at any given moment, there are no ISO standards when it comes to how much beer is required to turn a milquetoast accountant into a raging berserker, and mastering the skills needed to not get into a fight in the first test is a very, very ambiguous task, one that relies more on intuition and (dare I say it) feelings than cold, hard facts.

Let’s face facts. The firearms training world is dominated by guys, and guys (Trigger warning: Cisgender, heteronormative stereotypes ahead!) tend to be more goal-oriented, left-brain types who crave metrics*, and we tend to like training that caters to our demand for ordered, “rational”progress. Is that the way it SHOULD be? Is that the way it will always be? Is that a good thing?

Dunno. But denying reality ain’t gonna get us to where we want to be.

Metrics matter to those who want to improve their skill because they give us goals to strive for. They don’t matter to people who want a gun to “feel safe”. To borrow from Kathy Jackson‘s excellent analogy of swimming lessons, most people learn to swim in order to not drown: It’s only a few people who take up competitive swimming as a hobby or career. It’s been decades since my last swimming lesson, but one thing I remember from all of my Red Cross-approved swimming lessons was that there were metrics, even for us wee small children. In order to move on to even the next level after dogpaddling, you had to prove to the instructor that you were capable of drown-proofing for XX minutes or could swim X^2 lengths of the pool in Y number of minutes using a variety of swimming styles.

And no one freaked out about how those requirement were discouraging students from learning how to stay safe in the water. The basic swimming classes gave enough info to not drown for those who needed such thing, and set up the next rung on the ladder for we Type A personalities who needed more.

It’s not No Standards / Standardize All The Things, it’s using standards to get better where standards can help, and leave them alone when they’re not needed.


* As pert of my long and varied job history, I’ve taken psych test after psych test during the hiring process, and they pretty much all show that I am almost perfectly balanced when in comes to left brain / right brain or rational / intuitive types of things. This means I crave metrics, but the metrics I crave are… weird. 🙂

Might be quiet here for a few weeks

Thanks to some hard work, a little luck and more than a little nepotism, a fantastic opportunity to bring a really, really cool product to market has opened up to me.
No, I am not quitting my day job, but yes, I will be very, very busy these next 120 days as I work with some very smart and talented people to help bring this idea to fruition.
To all my fellow gun owners and firearms trainers, all I can say is, prepare to have your mind blown.
Stay tuned.

Justify Your Existence On This Planet.

So the question was asked by a friend on Facebook,

Just exactly what is the purpose and goal of defensive firearms training? It really can’t be based on probability, because the probability is you will never need to use a gun to defend yourself.
So what circumstances should we train for and what should be our priorities?

I have three answers for that question.

  1. Because I can, that’s why.
  2. Yes, the odds are very, very low. The stakes, however, are very, very mortal. It’s like being in a traffic accident. No, I don’t get into an accident every day (even with #FloridaMan as a constant companion on the roads), but despite that, I still wear my seatbelt every time I get in the car.
  3. One of the reasons why I got started in this was because of the perception of increasing violence in and around my city.

Now, though, ten years later, things have changed. I still want to be become a better gun owner, but in the process of becoming a better defensive gun owner, I’m a quieter, gentler soul (because of the need to de-escalate), I’m an active participant in the (fun) sport of practical shooting, gotten in better shape, met some great people, learned how to be a better driver and a better parent thru more awareness and I’ve *definitely* become more aware of the long-term consequences of my actions.
As it turns out, one of the biggest reasons for the journey is not the destination, but rather the journey itself.

The Levee Has Broken.

Olympic first. Del-Ton next?

A recent ad from Grab-A-Gun on Del-tons. Look at the prices!

Now the only question is, how big will be flood be?

Fear is a great motivator, and the fear of losing our right of self-defense drove a lot of gun sales over the last few years, and, let’s be honest, drove the growth of Gun Culture 2.0 as well.

What will happen to Gun Culture 2.0 now? Are we ready for a gun culture based on optimism and the continued growth of our right to keep and bear arms?

Do we even know what that looks like?

After Class Report: AED/CPR/Trauma First Aid With Geoff Fahringer

CPR Training In Naples

I’ve had my CPR certification for over a decade now and it’s up for renewal yet again, so when Step By Step Gun Training announced they were doing their first-ever CPR / AED / Trauma class, I jumped on the opportunity, especially because of the last bit, the trauma care part.

The last few times I’ve taken CPR training, it’s been in a class targeted towards teachers and caregivers to the elderly who need to be certified in such things, and so any talk of advanced first-aid care (and especially trauma care) was quickly glossed over.

Not this class.

First, a word about the instructor. Geoff Farhinger is a veteran Collier County SWAT officer and police dive instructor. He’s a judge at the national SWAT competition up in Orlando and is trained in the the Florida Tactical EMS program as well.

In short, he knows his stuff.

The class was four hours long, and it was a nice balance between instructor-led teaching and hands-on (literally) training. It wasn’t all-tactical, all the time, and it wasn’t aimed at healthcare providers, either. The balance of CPR, AED and trauma training in the class was just about right for we armed civilians, and I walked away knowing even more about all those subjects than I did before, which is the goal of this, right? As armed civilians, we are the REAL first responders (cops, firefighters, EMS… they all arrive after we do) and as first responders, we should be ready, no matter what the emergency.

Is a heart attack a possible occurrence here in God’s Waiting Room, or is drowning possible here in the swimming pool capitol of the world? Is an accidental discharge into a person more likely for me compared to others because I’m around guns more often than the average person?

Oh yeah.

So while I did walk away with a better knowledge about how to set a tourniquet and a glimmer of an idea of how to deal with a gut shot or chest wound (more knowledge on those things in the future would be a good thing for me), the fact is, what I learned was the beginning of my journey, not the end. The training I received in this class is highly relevant to my entire life, not just my life as an armed civilian, and that makes me want to learn more. However, I am much more confident now in my ability to protect my life with my first aid/trauma kits, and (real or not) I’m feeling a little better about my ability to deal with what life may throw at me.

Which is the reason why we’re doing this, right? There was a couple in the class learning CPR who had their adult daughter pass away recently after an unexpected adverse medical reaction. The couple started CPR, but despite their best efforts and efforts of the paramedics and hospital staff, nothing could be done.

Kinda brings it all home, doesn’t it?

If you get a chance to train with Geoff or take a similar class that covers all the bases of the basics of saving a life, take it. The next class is coming up in a few weeks and if you’re in south Florida, I highly recommend you attend.

Just HOW Gun-Friendly Is Your State, Anyways?

I was kinda surprised how many limitations there were on gun ownership when I moved to Florida. This state has a reputation as being “gun friendly” (aka “the Gunshine State”), but in reality, it’s just not so, and it’s not just the lack of open carry. For instance, you don’t realize how much time you save on a busy Saturday at the gun store by not having to do a background check on a gun purchase if you have your concealed carry permit, as you do in Arizona. And then there’s the need for a concealed carry permit and a bunch of other things that  add up.

The Smoking Barrel has a great little round up of per-state gun laws that puts it all in perspective. It’s pretty useful, go check it out.

Also, it’s worth noting that there is a big difference between states that have good laws regarding gun ownership, and good laws that cover the defensive use of guns, and according to Andrew Branca (who knows a thing or two about this sort of stuff…) Florida has the best laws for armed civilians who need to (legally) defend their lives, so we got that going for us.

Well Done, Walther. Well Done.

I like this program. I like it a lot.

I like it because Walther is handing out money to ALL levels of shooters, not just the GMs.
Let’s face it, a D Class Shooter getting a win with a Walther is a better story to tell your customer base than a GM winning, who’d be good with just about anything.

The bounties the offer are pretty darn good, and they’re in CASH, rather than winning your your weight in free beer koozies or something.

2017-Contingency-Plan-1-1024x527

Think of the free advertising this is getting Walther if you show up on a stage at a qualifying match shooting one of their guns:

“Hey, why the Walther? Why are you shooting that Walther instead of (insert gun brand here)?”
“Well, I’ll tell you…”

Sure beats having a CRO mention your company’s name in the stage briefing and tossing up a few posters on a stage. Cheaper, too. Congrats, Walther, you’ve just upset the practical shooting apple cart, and in a very meaningful way.

Ruger LCP II 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1-222

ruger_LCPII_2000_Rounds

If you’ve been in a gun shop recently or spent any time reading a gun magazine, you’ll soon find out that there is a big gap between the guns that the experts recommend for concealed carry and the guns that people can carry without major adjustments in their lifestyle. As Claude Werner, the Tactical Professor, once said,

What we of the ‘cognoscenti’ fail to recognize and accept is that few average people will carry a service weapon. Here’s why: A holstered Glock 19 is the size of a Small Priority Mail Flat Rate Box and weighs as much as two cans of uncondensed soup. What normal person wants to carry that on their belt or in their pants?

This is where the ultra-small .380 pocket pistol comes into play. The original Ruger LCP in .380ACP  marked the beginning of the boom in concealed carry and concealed carry pistols, and now Ruger has rolled out a new, improved version, the LCP II, with reworked texturing and in-demand features like last-round slide lock and an improved trigger.

And it’s a good little gun. The most controllable, most-shootable pocket .380 I’ve found (so far) is the Sig Sauer P238. The P238 is comfortable and easy to shoot, but because it’s based on the 1911 platform, it’s also heavier than most pocket guns and has a manual thumb safety that needs to be flicked off before it can be put to work. It’s also more expensive than a lot of pocket. 380’s, and let’s face it, that does play a big part of the cost/benefit analysis when it comes to buying a gun for anyone whose life doesn’t revolve around guns.

If this were a side-by-side test (and it’s not), the LCP II would be in second-place when it comes shootability and comfort for pocket .380’s, and it’s a LOT more affordable than the P238. The LCP II is a single-action only (SAO), hammer-fired gun that comes from the factory with a six round magazine, a pocket holster and a crisp six and 1/2 pound trigger pull. The trigger on the LCPII is, quite frankly, the best trigger I’ve encountered in a pocket .380 that’s not based on a 1911 and is a marked improvement from the original LCP trigger. The pistol has a blade trigger safety, a drop safety and small, but usable sights for aiming. The LCP II is comfortable to shoot, although more than 100 or so rounds in a given range session might be a bit too much for comfort.

The sights on the LCP II are an improvement from the LCP, but they are still small and hard to pick up in low-light conditions compared to larger, more conventional sight setups.  The magazine comes with a flat floorplate and an optional pinkie extension, and that extension really helped me get a grip on the gun while shooting it.

Speaking of shooting it, let’s get to the reason for this post.

Shooting the LCP II – The First 222 Rounds

The 2000 Round Challenge was proposed by the late Todd Green as a way to measure the reliability of any given gun. The rules are quite simple: Shoot 2000 rounds through your pistol, any type of ammo, over any length of time, and report what stoppages/malfunctions/misfeeds you run into along the way. 2000 rounds without a hiccup is a fairly big challenge for stock service pistols that have to survive being carried around by cops for years and years, so if a small pocket gun like the LCP II can make through this challenge (or even make it through a significant part of it) without any major malfunctions, I’d say Ruger has a winner on his hands.

Lucky Gunner was kind enough to provide the first 500 rounds for this test: 400 rounds PMC Bronze .380 ammo and 100 round of Hornady Critical Defense. This, along with a hodgepodge of rounds from my ammo cans are where we’ll start, and I’ll mix in more ammo types as we go along.

The pistol was field-stripped and lubed with Brownells Friction Defense Extreme gun oil and then taken to the range. It will not be disassembled or lubed again until it reaches 2000 rounds or the test results show it can’t take anymore firing. Most of these rounds were shot with a two-handed grip, however, some were shot one-handed with the strong and support-side hand alone, which did affect the results, as we’ll see in a bit.

Ammo shot through the gun so far:

12 Rounds Hornady Critical Defense 90 grain Hollow Point 
12 Rounds Tula Ammo 91 Grain Full Metal Jacket
200 Rounds PMC Bronze 90 Grain Full Metal Jacket

I encountered one Failure to Feed (FTF) at round number 112 with the first magazine of ammo I put through the gun shooting with only one hand. I believe that FTF was due to me not gripping the gun enough for it to cycle properly, (I was just getting used to the darn thing), but I will note it here with an asterisk and see if it happens any more.

2000 Round Challenge Results:

Rounds Fired: 222
Failures Encountered: Round 116, FTF*
*Probably user-induced

So far, so good. 200+ rounds, and only one little (probably user-induced) hiccup. Not bad for something the size of a chocolate chip cookie.

After-Class Report: The Law Of Self Defense With Andrew Branca

I’ve read his book (twice), and I’ve watched all the DVD’s on self-defense law I received with my ACLDN membership at least two times each.

So why would I want to spend the money and time to also go to Andrew Branca’s Law Of Self-Defense Seminar?

Because going to the seminar means you’ll learn what Andrew Branca thinks is important about self-defense law, not what I think is important about self-defense law as I went along in his book. One of the biggest takeaways for me from the seminar (not necessarily the book) is that a legal strategy of self-defense only applies after you admit to the fact that you used deadly force against someone to defend your life. Your defense, essentially is “Yes, I shot him/her, BUT it was justified because I did it in self-defense.”

See the problem there? You’re admitting that you shot someone, and you’re betting on the fact you did it legally because it was in self-defense. If that self-defense justification goes away, you’ve just admitted you used deadly force.

The book and seminar are both built around five principals of legal self-defense (I won’t say what they are here: Spend the money for the book, it’s worth it. However, all five elements he speaks about are CUMULATIVE: All of them must be present in some form or another for a self-defense claim to be valid. If one or more of those elements aren’t present, everything we talked about in the “but” part of your previous statement (“Yes, I shot him/her, but it was justified”) vanishes, and the “Yes, I shot him/her.” is all that remains.

See why this is so important now?

It’s important because law cares about the law, not your intentions. Just as it is up to us to know the rules of the road before we drive a car, it is up to us to learn the rules of self-defense as well. If we blow through a red light, the law doesn’t care if we did it because we meant to do it or because we didn’t see the signal light change, the law says we’re getting a ticket.

By looking around and watching other drivers, we can learn that running through red lights is a bad idea (although the drivers here in Florida do give me pause about this fact…). Yes, we can learn a little bit about the rules of the road by observing the environment and we can learn a bit of the rules of self-defense from the environment of gun forums and magazines around us, but if I learned to drive from watching the antics of my fellow drivers here in Florida, I’d be dead by now.

And yet so, so many gun owners think they know about the legalities of self-defense because of what other gun owners tell them.

Whoops.

A few more thoughts…

The class had a professional environment and was blissfully free of the usual “Can I shoot him now? Ok, what about now? Ok, now?” kind of questions that are so typical to concealed carry courses and other legal seminars. Also, the seminar really brought home the need to have at least one option for non-deadly force handy at all times. We are 5x more likely to be faced with a non-deadly force than deadly force, but are we 5x more likely to get training in the use of non-deadly force like OC spray or combatives than we are to get pistol training?

If not, why not?

When if comes to how and when you can use deadly force, what you learn about this class about the legal complexities of using deadly force in defense of your property and others should swiftly disabuse you of any “sheepdog” notion. The law gets really, really tricky when you start to talk about the use of force to help a third-party, and the law is even less on your side when it comes to using deadly force to defend your personal property.

You are not Batman. You are not charged with wiping out the criminal element in your town, so don’t do that.

Serious drivers are not content to mimic the bad habits of their fellow drivers, they take the time to learn the rules of the road from serious people. If you are serious about self-defense, you should take the law of self-defense seriously as well.