There is a Story afoot . . .



A story has attacked me . . . not sure where it's from, but I have been posting chapters as they come out of my fingers. Yes, I am still posting on firearms training and my new topic of basic prepping - all links are to the right of the blog, newest posts first on the lists. Feel free to ignore the story posts - they usually start with a chapter number. But, feel free to read the story as well and comment on it - I like how it's turning out so far! Links to the various chapters are at the right under . . .

The Story

Bill

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Training – Changes . . .

 

I gotta admit I’m not a big one for “changes”. As decades – not years – flow by I find that characteristic isn’t “changing” much. TheBoy and I had a chat around camp this past week about “the plan”.

ME: “So where are you two going when you leave tomorrow – what’s your plan?”

TheBoy: Eye rolling, his wife smiling just a bit . . . “No idea Pops!”

And so it went. I’m a big “plan” guy. TheBoy and his lovely wife . . . not so much.

My love of “a plan” should be obvious from my hammering you having a “plan” before you go to the range – why you going, what are you working on, what are your success/fail parameters?

I do vacations the same way – there’s a “plan” – departure times, gear lists, reservations, food, books to read . . . just the way I’m wired. In years gone by as I watch my Avionics shop pack for deployments – it was on me to make sure all gear that was needed went, that we had the right people, parts . . . you get the idea. There was a “plan”.

All this said – which I will continue to do BTW – that does not mean that there doesn’t come a time where a CHANGE is necessary, in some cases just to expand what you have/do/enjoy. In some cases it may well be your survival. I want to chat a bit about how this affects your training, your gun handling, your selection of gun, gear, range, training partners . . . and is it working for you?

Let’s start with “the tool” . . . . your gun. I am going to make the assumption (yeah – I know) that you have been carrying this gun for some time, that you do regular range trips with it. You know it, how it works – you have history to draw from. Is it “working” for you? Obviously its primary job is to save your butt . . . and I pray you have never had to walk that particular path. But – on the range, in your course work, during your training – does it “work” for you?

Can you get a consistent grip as you begin your draw stroke? Does it leave your holster smoothly? Does it fit your hand? Is your grip consistent, trigger press smooth and straight back? Can you acquire sights easily if necessary? Is the recoil manageable? Are your magazines working with your gun? Can you grab them easily? Can you “run the gun” with your hands? Does it all feel “natural” when the beeper “beeps”, the fire command is given, the SHTF?

If not, perhaps it’s time for a change. If you have reservations about any area we just chatted about . . . please, take some time for honest evaluation of your defensive weapon. Your life depends on it.

How’s that holster working for you? Does it secure your defensive weapon? Does it keep it in the same place each and every time you put it on? Is your draw stroke from the holster smooth? If it’s a holster used for concealment – does it? Does it remain open for easy reholstering? Again – setting aside all the “tacticool” reasons for you using that particular holster – please, if it’s not working for you . . . . perhaps it’s time for a change.

Does your choice of defensive ammunition run in your gun? Never checked it?? Change that! NOW!! TODAY!! If you’ve never run a box of your ammunition of choice to save your life – that needs to change now!

What about your belt? Is your holstered defensive weapon secure? And does it still hold your pants/slacks/skirt up? Is it wide enough and thick enough to insure a secure grip on your holster? I firmly believe your belt is one of the most important . . . and most overlooked . . . pieces of gear. If it’s not working . . . perhaps it’s time for a change.

How about your “knowledge base”? Have you added to it? Read any articles specific to personal defense? Watched any videos and they tried what you saw on your next trip to the range? Train with any new training partners? If you’re stagnant . . . you’re skills are diminishing. Please . . . change that today as well.

Have you varied your range work? Is your range work primarily standing is a stall, driving out from the compressed high ready to engage a target directly in front of you? First – there is NOTHING wrong with this particular type of training . . . as a portion of a training program. Just as there is nothing wrong with dry fire, use of a SIRT pistol . . . or any other training tool. The thing I have issues with is when they become your ONLY training regimen. That’s a problem because your chances of meeting a bad guy standing still, directly in front of you, waiting for you to drive out and engage him with an accelerated pair . . . . is slim. Please – take some time to find a local range you can use periodically that will allow draw from a holster, allows movement and multi round engagements. That is the real world and you need to spend some training time in that world.

Been to a course lately? Find a course that will push your boundaries. Take a high volume of fire course. Take a course with multiple target engagements. Take a course that offers a shoot house. Take a course that pushes your skills, allows you to fail and learn.

Take a few steps back . . . take some videos of you on the range . . . work with training partners . . . wear a helmet cam (they can attach pretty easily to your “ears”) . . . and – finally – be honest with yourself.

Is everything “working”?? If not . . . while change can be a bitch . . . to not change can leave you dead.

Change . . . it does a body good!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Training – Are you preparing to be the Victor . . . or the Victim . . .

 

I mowed the lawn yesterday. Honestly, it’s not something I enjoy. When we first purchased the property I enjoyed the fact it was in the country, in a wood patch and while there are a handful or homes in the wood patch with us – as I look out our front window I seen nothing . . . only our yard and fields to our west . . . for miles. I like it. It comes at a price though, namely the mowing and upkeep of the yard. I mow a tad less than two acres. This time of year I mow frequently . . . We have been through a succession of riding lawn tractors with beds up to nearly 60 inches. It took nearly 2 ½ hours to mow the lawn . . .The killer for me is that my brain simply doesn’t shut off when I do things like that – rather it works on its own projects at full speed as I barrel across the lawn wishing it were over so I could get on with all the “real” projects I have to do. (My wife assures me that keeping the lawn neat and mowed IS A REAL FRICKIN’ PROJECT!)

With time I learned the subtleties of the lawn, ways to do things a bit quicker, faster . . . A few years ago I bought a Zero-Turn lawnmower – HOLY CRAP!! What a difference in mowing time – nearly an hour difference, down to 1 ½ hours to complete the entire lawn. Here the differences are a bit more nuanced – turning is quicker, easier . . . more efficient.

Efficient: capable of producing desired results without wasting materials, time, or energy

Let’s ponder parts of that definition – without wasting time or energy . . . I like that.

This post came to me as I sat in the mower cage looking at this:

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I have a row of three crab apple trees behind my office. They are between me and the lot behind and, as you can see here – they are in bad need of a haircut. So, while my “efficiency” has been significantly increased by the hardware I am sitting on – I have degraded my overall “efficiency” by not tending to these trees as I should have. The result – mowing around them is an tremendous pain in the butt and I once again promised myself I’d remove the branches back to “walking height” before the next cutting is due. I’ve made this promise to myself longer than I’m willing to admit on “paper”.

I am willingly being less efficient . . . and that got me thinking and wondering how many folks are being “willingly less efficient” with their Every Day Carry gear? By the time I finished this small portion of the yard I had an hour of mowing remaining and as I said, my head does have a habit of thinking about things so I put it to work on this post. Let’s chat about gear, weapons, modes of carry and the “efficiency” of it all when it comes to our personal defense. Are you preparing to be the Victor should the need arise . . . or are your preparing to be the Victim?

Efficiency – in a gunfight or a fight for your life – implies that you can employ your defensive weapons quickly, easily. A favorite saying revolving around this concept is “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” – meaning if your rush your actions so much that they become clumsy, they are valueless – and your day will end badly. But, if you slow down a bit, use well practiced motions – while you may well be moving slower physically – your final result will be quicker because of no wasted movements. In other words your “efficiency” improves.

When speaking about your carry weapon, efficiency speaks to both its ability to be presented quickly and consistently and to your ability to “run the gun” smoothly. In my opinion – fewer controls are better. That is why I shy away from handguns with external safeties, de-cocking levers and low capacity magazines. Fewer levers to operate and fewer reloads make me – personally – more efficient and more likely to survive a violent encounter.

If I look at how I react to an external threat – realistic training on the range helps my body remember how to “get the job done” (draw, extend and engage the threat) even though I may be startled initially. When someone talks about “startle response” let’s see if I can set that in a bit more context with this video. Funny – but what if the threats were real?? In my opinion that’s why it’s important to integrate a “startle response” and some movement to your training simply because that’s what your body is going to do anyway – why fight it?

I also watch my mode of carry – if I can’t efficiently draw my defensive weapon – my day will not end well. For me that means strong side, 4 o’clock carry each and every day. And, it also has meant a reworking of my wardrobe . Untucked shirts, shirts that are a bit longer, patterned shirts – all help conceal my defensive weapon.

My holster has also gone through the “efficiency filter” – does it allow me to draw quickly and consistently? Does it firmly retain my defensive weapon and hold it in place? Does it conceal well?

Spare magazines also dial into the overall efficiency equation. For me that means my spare magazine rides in my rear left pocket and provides an additional 15 rounds should I need them.

So how does this transition to range drills or real life? Everyone points to the “Tueller Drill” – you have approximately 2 seconds to respond to a threat that is approximately 21 feet away with a blunt instrument intent on doing you harm. It has morphed into “the standard” of being able to draw and engage a threat in that time. Reality is a bit more messy than that. Hence the integration of a startle response and movement to such an event because that is what your body is going to do anyway.

So how can you “prepare” today . . . to be more “efficient” should the need arise?

Purchase a defensive gun that fits and that you can run perfectly every time you pick it up. Cut back on the controls – fewer buttons and levers means fewer “mistakes” and a more efficiently employed defensive weapon.

Adopt a single mode of carry and then work on it until it is SMOOOOOOOOOTH! And if you simply can’t get there . . . abandon it and adopt one you can make smooth!

Same with holsters and belts – if they are unable to secure your defensive weapon in the same spot each and every time . . . abandon them and find a holster and belt that will get the job done.

Finally – range work. If you go to a range, stand in a little cubical and punch holes in targets . . . the only thing you are doing is working on a very limited portion of your entire defensive response picture. You MUST . . . simply MUST find a range that will allow holster draws, movement and strings of fire on a simulated threat. Because THAT’S the real world . . .

Bottom line . . . what are you preparing to do? Are you preparing to be the Victor . . . or are you preparing to be the Victim?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review – Hell Fudge . . .

 

A while back I attended the NRA Annual Meeting and met a group of bloggers.  While having breakfast with OldNFO the first morning of the show two folks showed up – Midwest Chick and Mr. B. of Middle of the right.  Conversations ensued over the next few days and one of the discoveries I made about Midwest Chick is that she is a crafter of fine fudge.  Now . . . I gotta say . . . fudge is one of my personal weaknesses.  I grew up in Michigan and there is no finer fudge to be had than that manufactured on Mackinaw Island.  So . . . I have a pretty high individual expectation of what a fudge should taste and “feel” like as I eat it.  I asked Midwest Chick to send me the recipe for her “Hell Fudge” which comes in various “heat” levels – all the way up to Ghost Pepper!

And, that’s kinda where I left it . . .

When much to my surprise a few weeks later this arrived . . .

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The large 9x9 “sample” on the right had a heat index of “2” in her estimation – enough to insure my face and forehead burst into a sweat as each portion was consumed.  The 4-squares on the left are made with Ghost Peppers and rates a flat out 10.  It was a wonderful surprise and fully deserving of my full review! 

An evening or two ago this was all that was left of the large sample . . .

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It has been a wonderful journey . . .  to the review!

Firmness   I don’t care for “mushy” fudge.  Nor do I like fudge so hard that it crumbles when you eat it.  I like it “firm”, moist on the tongue – not wet, pliable so I can roll bites around in my mouth.

Texture  I also don’t like granular fudge where the texture feels like little chunks of chocolate flavored sugar crystals.  I want it to melt in my mouth, to feel smooth and to coat my tongue evenly.  (not too picky am I . . .).

Smell  It must have the smell of a rich chocolate.  That is as important to me as is the firmness and texture.

Taste  Finally, taste.  Getting the taste of fudge just right is a true art form.  In fact Midwest Chick said she has been tweaking this particular recipe for 13 years.  Her passion and love shows.

Opening the package flooded the immediate area with the deep, rich smell of a fine chocolate.  I guess I expected to smell peppers – what ever that means – yet there was only a heavenly chocolate smell.

Poking the fudge showed that there was real body to it, but it was “firm” – not brick like.  A knife cut smoothly through it – something that remained throughout the nearly 2 months I managed to stretch out the “sampling” process.  It never dried out, never crystalized, never got hard . . . simply remained “firm”.

Not knowing what her interpretation of a hotness level of 2 was as compared to mine – and I fully admit to being a bit of a candy-ass when it comes to truly spicy-hot food – I cut about a dime sized chunk and bit off about half of it.

My mouth was flooded with a rich chocolate taste.  It melted easily on my tongue and the resulting liquid quickly coated the inside of my mouth . . .

It was about this time that I noted that the chocolate had turned to lava and it was flowing down my throat . . .  My body reacted appropriately with my face and forehead bursting forth in sweat in an odd attempt to cool my mouth and throat!  And still, as I was detaching quickly from my body, my mind was noting how wonderful the chocolate taste was, how smooth the texture was, how deep the chocolate flavor was, how evenly it melted . . . and “we” – both body and mind – decided this was indeed a very fine piece of chocolate.

So, as my body was asking “what the HELL do you think you’re doing!?!?!?!” my mind demanded that I take the remaining half of bite and pop it into my mouth!  Please re-read the above 2 paragraphs . . .

As you can clearly see by the two images, the “little bit of heat” did nothing to deter my working through the entire block of chocolate.  And while I had able assistance from my wife, she has much more willpower to restrict her ingestion of sweets that do I.  I managed to eat the lion’s share of the large package.

As for the 4- squares of Hell Fudge with an estimated heat level of 10 . . . my wife jumped into that quickly.  Her level of acceptance of truly spicy food is much greater than mine.  She NEVER sweats, never mentions the “heat” . . . until this particular time.  First there was the smile of enjoyment of a truly good piece of fudge.  Next came a rather surprised expression with eyes going wide, a smile spreading across her face and a few beads of sweat appearing here and there.  As the moment passed the words “Dang that’s HOT!!” were heard . . . followed by a long MMMMmmmmmmm . . . and finally – after a few moments – “Well, maybe just one more bite!”

She has continued to nibble on remaining fudge but was kind enough to leave me two pieces to sample.  Honestly, watching her reaction made me a bit nervous but finally last night with the first batch gone and a desire for a “bit of fudge” growing I went and cut one of the remaining chunks into four pieces and settled in my recliner to taste test.  She was sitting on the couch – looked at me a smiled and said “Pretty big chunk there kid!”  She knows how I react to hot stuff and I am confident she was looking forward to the entertainment.

I took a bite and noticed that this fudge had more the taste of a rich dark chocolate.  It was a bit firmer but melted easily in my mouth.  I expected the “lava” to flow momentarily but was instead greeted by intense points of heat all across my tongue – yep – quite intense . . . very intense . . . just a few steps below white hot intense . . . all immersed in this wonderfully chocolate flavor.  Truly a unique taste.  My next fear was lava flowing down my throat and it bursting into flame.  Strangely, the “heat” remained strictly on my tongue – nothing on the inside of my mouth or my throat.

I am pleased to say I still have 7 more little chunks to finish off  . . .

Two thumbs WAY up Ma’am . . . truly a tasty and unique fudge.  Thank you so much for your kindness in sending a sample this way . . .

You are going to the NRA Annual Meeting next year . . . . right??? . . .  Smile

 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Training - Drop 'em - or How to retain your gun while you hit the head

 

This topic has taken a walk through various on-line haunts I frequent lately. It’s one of those topics that folks just don’t talk about – body functions, droppin’ your drawers, heads, toilets, ceramic thrones . . . you get the idea. And yet, every year there are a dozen stories of guns left behind or folks wounded through poor gun handling skills while a person performs a necessary bodily function. So let’s chat a bit about that.

There are multiple modes of carry that can be lumped into two general categories – “off body” carry and “on body” carry. The majority of this discussion will revolve around “on body” carry. That said – let’s spend a few words on “off body” carry. . . .

NEVER LOOSE CONTROL OF YOUR PURSE, BACKPACK, BRIEFCASE, MAN—PURSE OR WHAT EVER OTHER FRICKIN’ OFFBODY CARRYING DEVICE YOU ARE USING!!!! I would think that would make common sense – yet it does not seem to for some folks.

For the ladies – do not set it near stall doors or sidewalls – period! Use an end stall – ALWAYS!! If you need to hold it a bit – HOLD IT!! Use the handicapped stall if at all possible. Set your “package” in the far- away corner against a wall – not the next stall. Get in a position that you can defend it if necessary or grab it quickly if you can. The decision to carry a defensive weapon is a LIFE ALTERATING EVENT – it affects everything from the shoes you wear to the purse you carry. Work with it. Don’t fight it. And, it includes decisions you make when you head to the powder room as well.

For the guys who are carrying off body – there is nothing different here either. Read the paragraph above and integrate it into your life style. One secondary consideration is when you are doing your business standing up. First – consider using a stall anyway. Lock the door and do your business. This will afford you the most protection. In the case you decide to use the wall full of urinals - some of the same rules apply – use the urinal that is against a wall. Put your “package” in the corner where you can defend it. If it is “murse”, backpack or briefcase with a shoulder strap – I would suggest you leave it on, take the urinal against the wall and position the bag so it too is against the wall. And . . . finish your business as quickly as you can.

Finally . . . I cannot begin to tell you how much I dislike off-body carry. I would urge you to reconsider, adapt your clothing to allow you to carry on your person – preferably dominant side or appendix carry. On-body provides you the most control – it is simply preferred IMNSHO.

OK – got off body out of the way – let focus on hitting the head with a defensive weapon that is being carried in an “on body” fashion. And let’s hit the fundamentals quickly.

PURCHASE A HOLSTER THAT FITS YOUR GUN!!! My head nearly explodes every time I hear the words “my gun just fell out of my holster”. REALLY????? YOUR FRICKIN’ GUN FELL OUT OF YOUR HOLSTER???? You’re a DUMB ASS!!! One of the primary purposes of a holster is RETENTION! How do you test for that?? First – UNLOAD YOUR FRICKIN’ GUN (I feel the need to “raise my voice” just a bit because if we are even having this discussion about a gun falling out of a holster . . . and you are puzzled as to why that’s an issue – I sure the hell want to make sure YOUR FRICKIN’ GUN IS UNLOADED!!).

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Then, with your holster in your hand, insert your gun, hold the holster upside down by the outer edges and shake the darn thing.

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If your gun falls out – tighten any retention screws and repeat until the gun remains firmly in the holster despite vigorous shaking. If it does not . . . if it continues to fall out . . . consider it an indication of divine intervention and BUY ANOTHER FRICKIN’ HOLSTER!! ONE THAT ACTUALLY FITS YOUR WEAPON!!!

Next – your belt. And this rule holds true whether male or female . . . WEAR A DAMN GUN BELT!!! Not a cute little designer belt that looks great with your pants/slacks/skirt – whatever. Wear a real, honest to goodness gun belt designed to hold a couple of pounds of steel to your body. This is typically one of the first changes in clothing that a shooter that decides to carry a defensive weapon throughout their day faces. And, it’s one of the most important. As the old knight said – “choose wisely”. I did a post some time back on “Da Belt” – it might be worth some time for you to review it. “But, but, but . . . those won’t go with my skirt, slacks, pants . . .” Honestly, I don’t care – find one that does or change your clothing. A belt that doesn’t hold up your weapon is worthless.

When wearing your weapon on your belt – I always suggest IWB carry. You can do a much better job of concealing it with your clothing. The three most common positions for IWB carry are “strong side”, “appendix” and “center of the back”. For those using OWB these probably settle down to “strong side” and “center of the back”. These are the assumed positions for this discussion. They do not include “ankle” carry – when droppin’ drawers, little needs to be done to retain your weapon. If you have some other creative way to carry on your ankle or thigh – just work on it so you retain secure control of your defensive weapons.

For the guys doing their business standing up . . . center of the back carry simply sucks. If a predator detects you are carrying and decides to take your gun in the head – all he needs to do is to slam you into the urinal and take your weapon from the center of your back. This is one of the reasons I avoid center of the back carry. The other is just plain comfort – it’s not for me.

For appendix carry and strong side carry – choose the urinal on the end that affords your weapon the most protection. Since my dominant side is my right side – I will always use the right side urinal. And yes . . . I will wait if I can or use a stall. This provides you the best chance to protect your weapon should the need arise.

I suppose it should be common sense . . . but news reports all too often prove that it is not . . . while in the head - DO NOT REMOVE YOUR FRICKIN’ WEAPON FROM IT’S HOLSTER EVER!!!!! UNLESS IT IS TO DEFEND YOUR LIFE!!!

Just to repeat in case you didn’t hear that . . . while in the head - DO NOT REMOVE YOUR FRICKIN’ WEAPON FROM IT’S HOLSTER EVER!!!!! UNLESS IT IS TO DEFEND YOUR LIFE!!!

This is one more of the “head exploding” parts of the commentary when some person removes their gun, lays it on the floor, the back of the toilet, hangs it from the coat hook . . . and then forgets it. THAT DRIVES ME RIGHT OFF THE CLIFF!!!

The only time your weapon should clear your holster is in defense of your life, while in use on the range, to unload it for cleaning or to return it to the safe. Otherwise, your defensive weapon should remain holstered . . . PERIOD!!!.

General rules of thumb for when you need to drop your drawers . . .

ALWAYS use an end stall. Wait if necessary. And, when possible, use the handicapped stall. The end stall provides an outer wall for protection and reduces your area of concern to just the door and sidewall.

ALWAYS use a stall that locks . . . if the door doesn’t lock – move stalls or restrooms keeping in mind the desire to use an outer wall stall.

NEVER REMOVE YOUR WEAPON FROM THE HOLSTER!!! EVER!!!

Tuck your holster into the inner side of your pant leg. It will look something like this . . . and yes – the photos are “work and child friendly” (pervert!)

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I will then cover the holstered weapon with my underwear . . .

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This does a couple of things. It helps secure the holstered weapon so it doesn’t roll forward. And, it hides it should the bottom of the door be just a bit high.

Of course, were I wearing one of my thongs . . . it wouldn’t hide nearly as much. So, I have made the supreme sacrifice and discarded them all in favor of boxer briefs . . . yep . . . that’s my story . . .

This process is adaptable across genders and is workable for both slacks and skirts. It puts your weapon between your legs (DO NOT GO THERE) allowing better control and protection.

After the “paper work is done” I pull my pants up on my dominant side with my hand on the holster. DO NOT just yank up your pants – you simply must control your holstered weapon and the best way to do that is to hold it while you pull your pants up.

Finally, take some time to make sure you have properly rearranged your clothing to conceal your weapon and make sure your gun belt is secure. It’s time well spent.

Probably way too much information . . . but for those folks that carry 90% or more of the time . . . this will simply be part of your day.

As for the photos . . . they were taken at home. They were not staged – simply taken during “normal business hours”.

You are responsible for the retention of your defensive weapon . . . regardless of the time of day, your location . . . or . . .

. . . the “business” at hand.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Range Trip - Some friendly competition between friends . . . via eMail . . .

 

A bit ago Engineering Johnson posted an E-Postal competition  with an end date of June 30th.  I’d forgotten about it until he posted a reminder that the due date was coming up.  I found a had a few hours free this morning after a much needed haircut so I headed to the range with my trusty Ruger 22/45 range gun and my carry weapon – a Glock 17 with stock sights.

Engineering Johnson is a bit of a Steam Punk fan so the target had a unique look to it . . .

small target

The rules were as follows:

Details

Target size: 8.5x11”

Range:  10 yards (or as close as possible at your range)

Number of shots: 10

Position: Standing unsupported

Time limit: None

Scoring: Each shot counts once as the highest zone touched.  10 bonus points for scoring on all 4 gears.

Classes:

1 – Iron sight rimfire

2 – Iron sight centerfire

3 – Optical sight rimfire

4 – Optical sight centerfire

5 – Open class:  Anything else.  If is unusual then shoot a target and send it in.  Send a picture too…if you and your gun look “steampunk enough” you will get extra points out of it!

Email scans or photos of your targets to my email address (right side near the top) by the end of June.

So, with a stack of 10 printed targets is spent a bit of time “warming up” and then settled in with the final 5 targets to take things a bit more serious.  I was reasonable pleased with the results using a stock Ruger .22/45 pistol with plain iron sights.  And, I ran a couple targets with my carry weapon, a stock Glock 17.  Here are the final results:

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Based on the rules I shot a 62 out of a possible 100.  Next up – two targets from the Glock 17

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Again, came in at 62 – not bad but I had one flyer round.  One more try yielded my “prettiest” target with rounds on all gears and all rounds hitting gears.  But, the score was a bit lower at 52.  This is what it looked like . . .

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It was an interesting way to shoot against friends and the unique target made it all the more challenging. 

So – what did your last range target look like?  Was it a “standard” ring target or a defensive target?  Perhaps it was something unique?  How about sharing it?  Post a link in the comments so we can take a look – or post it to your Facebook page.

Because there are times when just a bit of a twist with your target shooting makes it just a bit more fun!

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Training – Are you making “progress”?

 

TIMER: “Shooter – load and make ready!”

TIMER: “Is the shooter ready?”

Rick: “Ready!”

TIMER: “Stand by!”

. . . . . BEEP!!!

Rick punches out, 5 rounds – 5 hits. Time - just under 7 seconds – a personal best for him. He displays a big ass grin, looks at me and says “Thanks! That time on the range really helped!” Then he heads to the loading table to load a couple magazines for the next round . . . we’re both happy campers!

Rick had acted as a student in a recent PPOTH Advanced Instructor course this spring and I had worked on his foundation – stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture and trigger press – pretty hard. He was doing the seemingly typical Glock “low left” (for right handed shooters) thing with his Glock 19 and was well and truly frustrated. His final “key” was to firm up his grip and pay attention to his metacarpal bone of his trigger finger to insure that it had little to no movement when he pressed the trigger. Then, a bit of focus on a smooth trigger press to the rear . . . and the magic happened. Nice groups, no flinch, no “low and left” . . . he made . . .

progress.

progress : movement forward or toward a place

: the process of improving or developing something over a period of time

Many shooters seem to believe the only thing needed to do to improve is to simply throw rounds down range. I have watched both new and inexperienced shooters as well as “old heads” send round after round down range, shake their head in disappointment and leave the range with the promise to “do better” next time. Really? How??

How does a shooter improve if they don’t diagnose what isn’t working for them? This specific issue falls – oft times – in the category of “ignorance”. The shooter simply doesn’t know what’s wrong and doesn’t know how to diagnose the problem. They “don’t know” that they “don’t know”. There are many solutions available to them to remedy this.

Gain more knowledge. Pure and simple – the solution to ignorance is knowledge. There are so many sources available to new shooters today. From live course work to a wide range of books and videos from reputable trainers – there is a tremendous amount of information available to give new and experienced shooters alike insights into the particular problem they may be having. One last roadblock that can easily pop its head up here – pride. If a shooter let’s their pride get in the way of their education . . . NOTHING WILL CHANGE!

Another great tool is a training partner. I mean a REAL training partner – not someone to go make holes with, but someone who will push you, critique you, encourage you and someone open to you doing the same. A new set of eyes on a problem can do wonders for your ability to improve your shooting skills!

Video cameras can be another “training partner” – both head-mounted and tripod mounted so you get a personal POV that you can review as well as one from a few steps away. The trick here is to actually review the video, watch what you do, talk to yourself on the video sharing what you did and finally, ruthlessly critique yourself at the end of each range trip. Time consuming? Yep. Expensive? Not really – there are any number of moderately priced pieces of video gear – not to mention that most smart phones offer very high resolution video recording capability as well. If you can’t “see” what you’re doing . . . you’ll never be able to fix what you’re doing.

Break things down to smaller components . . . to the fundamentals. Then, work on them one at a time. It’s tempting to take a course, watch a video, read a book and have a bit of an “ah ha!” moment . . . and then think everything will magically go together. Nothing works like that . . . NOTHING! Identify those things that need attention – stance, grip, gun handling, driving to the threat . . . – whatever – and then WORK ON IT UNTIL YOUR MASTER IT! Then – choose the next component . . . and repeat until you have made real . . .

progress.

Don’t become discourage . . . become determined! You’re a better shooter! You can “run your gun” better than you do today! You can move better! You can move quicker! You know you can! I know you can! There is lots of room for improvement . . . in ALL of us.

Then, when you have a break through like Rick . . . take a few moments, look at the target/timer/range drill . . . give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, add it to your stack of “range stories” to tell over a cold one . . .

And get back at it . . . because, as a shooter, there is always more progress to be made!

Enjoy!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Review - NRA Basic Pistol 6-22-2014

 

Had a great Basic Pistol course this past Sunday. Small, but that makes for plenty of back and forth – and I like that.

We had an interesting mix of folks – a photographer, an electrician and a young woman at the beginning of a career in law enforcement. Two were looking to fill Iowa’s requirement for their carry permit. The young woman was just gathering foundational information.

There is always the temptation to think small classes go quicker . . . yet that never happens. There is specific material that must be covered . . . and that simply takes time. From a “basic information” point of view – a new shooter simply cannot do better today than the NRA Basic Pistol course. Everything from why a cartridge fires to the components of virtually every type of handgun on the market today is covered. Add to that fundamental firearm safety, storage of the gun and its ammunition, shooting stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger press, cleaning . . . and live fire on a range . . . it’s very hard to beat the material presented.

That said – unless a new shooter is willing to set aside what they “know” and really jump in and do the course, very little information is actually transferred to the student. I actually experienced that in an experienced shooter at a training I took recently. Frankly, it was stunning to watch. The gent resisted the new material for the entire course. As far as I could tell he didn’t budge a bit from the way he did things when the course began. What a waste of time, money and – frankly – of the effort the instructor spent on him.

Happily, my experience was just the opposite in this weekend’s course. The photographer had been pistol shooting but was fairly new to foundational information this course is intended to teach. The electrician is a hunter but had limited handgun experience. Both were open to learning and was willing to jump in, work hard and “play”. Our young lady embarking on a law enforcement career was simply a sponge. She had never touched a handgun before. Once past some initial quietness, the questions came and her effort on the range was great.

The range work was . . . well . . . let’s just say it was WET, WET, WET!!! But, we had made some changes to our range recently that enabled the folks to stay relatively dry. We started out with pie plates and progressed to a qualification target I like. As I said above – they did great!

So – congrats to Cory, Carter and Raechel . . . GREAT JOB folks!