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


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Training - Brushing off the Rust

For those of us in the northern half of the US – in my case east central Iowa – the weather has started to warm.  Spring is late this year to be honest, with significant snowfall well into April.  And while I do my best, trips to the range diminish with the onset of temps in, and below, the single digits.  So, it’s time to brush the rust off and see where I am at the beginning of this year’s shooting and training season.

What I want to chat about is the “what” and a suggestion of “how” your rust brushing should be done.  Yes. . . I know everyone has their opinion, this is simply mine.

First things first – does your gun RUN?  What I mean by “gun” is your daily carry gun.  The one that, as you read this post, rests snuggly on your hip or at your 1 o’clock in a AIWB holster.  What I mean by “RUN” is that it should complete your entire drill set error free.  The course of fire you choose should wring this out and include multiple magazine changes as well.

Is your draw smooth and sure?  Our past winter was particularly chilly so a multi-layer system for me was common.  My draw stroke with an IWB holster under a Henley, under a Columbia cold weather system, with gloves on . . . takes a bit longer.  Not orders of magnitude longer . . . but longer.  On this range trip I was back to a single, untucked shirt.  Much better!  The process of smoothing things out revolves around multiple draws from the holster.  So, your course of fire should encourage just that – a sizable number of draws prior to engagement.

Marksmanship is in the mix as well.  Can you hit the threat or accurately place a precise shot?  Can you shoot a qualifying score – in my case not less than an 80%.  Of course, this means you need to define scoring before your first shot and not “adjust” things to make yourself feel better.  In my case I’m using my target of choice – the LETargets SEB target.  A good hit is within the High Center Mass box, Pelvic Girdle box, within the precision shapes or the Ocular cavity.  Within means within or touching the shape.  What is does not mean is – “anything within the silhouette is a hit”.

Next is round count.  How many rounds can be used to effectively evaluate where the heck you are shooting wise?  I have three training magazines.  My approach was to put 15 rounds in each magazine for a total of 45 rounds for each of three distances – a total of 135 rounds.  This also insured 9 magazine changes.

Finally, the course of fire.  I chose three distances – 5y, 10y and 15y. 

The first magazine was a single round engagement, high center mass for each draw.

The second magazine was an accelerated pair of on the pelvic girdle plus the remaining single round

The third magazine was all precision shots.
·        Draw and a single round engagement on the #1 shape.  The next draw was a single round engagement on the #2 shape.  And so on . . . through the #6 Shape.

·        Next was a draw and an accelerated pair on the #1 shape.  The next draw was an accelerated pair on the #2 shape.  And so on  . . . through the #4 Shape.

·        The final draw was a single round engagement on the Ocular Cavity.

·        Total round count – 45 rounds.

This process was repeated for stage 2 at 10 yards.  And, it was varied at stage three at 15 yards in that I scored the High Center Mass and Pelvic Girdle boxes separate from the precise shots.  The reasoning for this I that I considered it imperative that I “pass” on the boxes and see it as less than realistic to shoot an 80% on 7 different boxes that are 3 ½”-ish at 15 yards.  Again, the parameters are mine, you may well choose a higher expectation of yourself.

Once I had this defined, I shot the course of fire from three different targets at three different distances.  As I am wont to do, I took photos of each target.  HOWEVER – pro tip – check to make sure your images are actually recorded!  Sadly, I did not and I must not have been diligent in pressing the button on the screen firmly or whatever was needed.  The only target actually photographed was the one at 10y.  And, of course I had applied one target over the other.  Heavy sigh.  But, I did go back and take a photo of the summary at the top of each target for inclusion in this post.

There was one other change for the day that played in this process – the previous week  I had driven to Brownells and purchased a Wilson Combat Match Grade Barrel for my carry Glock 17.  I had run around 60 rounds through it previously, but this was it’s first go to evaluate reliability and accuracy in my weapon.  The obvious concern is that with much tighter tolerances, would there be problems with the gun not running as smoothly as I am used to.  The answer . . . it ran just fine, no feeding problems or ejection issues at all.

So bottom line, how did the day go?  On the 5 yard target I was down zero for a score of 100%

On the 10 yard target I was down 5 for a score of 89%

On the 15 yard target I was down 6 on the High Center Mass and Pelvic Girdle boxes for a score of 80%.  I did score the precision boxes as well . . . wasn’t pretty.  For 15 rounds I was down 11 . . . for a score of 27%.   Nope, I can not constantly shoot a 3 ½” group at 15 yards.  Honestly, this is also a place I don’t intend to spend a great deal of time on either.  The primary focus of my defensive practice will remain within the 7 yards range with some work done out to 10 yards.

So, if I did the math right for each distance there were three magazines, 45 rounds and 34 draws from concealment for a grand total of 135 round and 102 draws.  More than enough, IMNSHO, to brush off the rust and get me headed in the right direction.

Take some time, plan your first big range trip of the season, evaluate your skill set and see where your starting point is for this year.  Then post your approach and your result.  We can all learn from each other!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Commentary – “Stop the Violence” . . . “March for our Lives” . . . What?????

A young fellow by the name of David Hogg has grabbed center stage after the vile act of evil that left 14 students and 3 teachers dead in Florida in February of this year.  His primary target is the NRA . . . an organization who has never had an NRA member as the primary shooter in a mass shooting (other than to stop it), never had a member involved in a school shooting, whose 125,000 instructors annually train 1 MILLION Americans in the safe use of their firearms. 

Perhaps a few words from the “Student Warrior Unleashed”.  A word of caution, this video is NOT safe to play at work or in school, it is NOT “child safe”.  The language is profane in the extreme.  This . . . this is the spokesman for this new movement to Stop the Violence and March for our lives.

David Hogg . . . voice of the movement

His parents must be so proud.  His school must be so proud.  Honestly, I think the young fellow has simply lost his cookies and could use some professional help.  It might be residual PTSD, or even showmanship.  Who knows.  A certain lack of education – or understanding of his education in history shows as well.  Sorry David, you do not live in a Democracy.  Perhaps a bit more time on the books and less in front of the camera would help.

So where are these young folks headed?  Let’s talk a bit about the initial premise of the walkout – #StopTheViolence.  What, exactly, does that mean?  Should we stop killing each other as a society?  Who can argue against that?  There are probably tens of thousands of laws on the books – one going all the way back to 1,300 BC that says something like “Thou Shalt Not Kill!”  I am in full agreement, as is virtually everyone else, with the exception of that person who is intent on killing . . . and evil seldom listens to any voice but its own.

Perhaps we should attempt to put our student’s mind at ease and clarify that individuals shouldn’t kill students while in school and, perhaps we should emphasize that by making schools “Gun Free Zones”.  Of course, I’m being facetious because the majority of school zones are already “Gun Free Zones” as was the school in Florida.  The result?  The only person with a gun, on school property in this type of shooting is that person who is intent on killing . . . and evil seldom listens to any voice but its own.

Perhaps we can simply lay blame for the killings at someone’s doorstep – say the NRA?  Honestly, here I need to raise my voice in objection because, as the saying goes, “I Am The NRA”.  In fact I am a NRA Trainer for Pistols, Rifles, Shotguns, Personal Protection in the Home, Personal Protection Outside of the Home, Range Safety Officers and as a NRA Training Counselor I can also train new NRA Instructors.  I know for a fact that safe handling of a firearms is my primary concern.  The defense of the student, their family and those in their charge is my next primary mission.  To say that good training and the teaching of safe gun handling is the cause of an evil use of a firearm is vile in and of itself.

Who could have affected the outcome of the Florida School shooting?  Honestly, there were many people.  Let’s start with the Health and Human Services department that were well aware that the shooter was mentally unstable and violent.  They, in conjunction with the BCSO were involved with over 18 individual visits to the shooter’s home.  They could have intervened – and in fact had made the decision to intervene to have him committed against his will.  They did nothing.

The FBI could have done something.  On at least two separate occasions they were notified that the shooter had made direct threats against the school.  They did nothing.

Perhaps a law that allows law enforcement to take guns from mentally ill people that appear to be a danger to themselves and others?  Florida already has such a law on the books, yet the shooter was never reported by either HHS or the BCSO.  In fact, nationwide the reporting of violent felons and mentally ill patients  to the FBI NICS is dismal.  If the person is NOT IN THE SYSTEM, they cannot be identified.

How about comprehensive background checks?  Closing the “gun show loophole”?  The only problem?  You can’t buy a gun without a background check.  Go to a gunstore to buy a gun – they will run a background check.  Go to a gun show and buy a gun – they will run a background check.  Order a gun online from a dealer – they will ship it to your local gun dealer (NOT YOU) and – they will run a background check.  Are there some exceptions – yes.  Sell a gun to a friend within state lines – the individual state will regulate whether you need to do that through a gun dealer or whether you can simply complete the sale yourself.  But . . . and this is a big butt . . . for background checks to be effective, the states must turn in the data.  Those with severe mental health issues must have their data entered.  No data, no chance of stopping the shooter.  In the Florida case, if the shooter had been committed, if that information had been entered, if those charged with protecting their community had done their job – those 17 would be alive today.  Period.

How about getting violent students out of the school?  The Obama Administration let it be known that if too many students of a certain color were removed from schools, their funding could be lost.  It should come as no surprise that in the Florida school the rate of students being reported for violence and removed suddenly dropped. 

Guns are always options of last resort.  And that includes use of deadly force by police officers and School Resource Officers.  But, should that day arrive – wouldn’t it be nice if the SRO acted to engage the shooter rather than exiting the building, establishing a perimeter and then holding other responding officers outside the building for 27 minutes? 

Bottom line, all the people the students expected to protect them, failed them.  The school administration, the SRO, the BCSO, HHS and the FBI failed to act on solid information.  Students and teachers died.  And the solution is to look to these same people to protect them going forward?  Really??

There is another culprit of course.  And the final target of this new movement – GUNS.  Yes, those black, evil chunks of polymer and steel that somehow magically come alive and seek out people to kill.  If only we could eliminate guns – ASSAULT WEAPONS specifically – all would be well.  Of course, you have not been able to purchase a true “Assault Weapon” – meaning a fully automatic firearm, since 1934.  But let’s just ignore that and stick with just taking them because then we will be safe and the killing will stop.  Mother Jones recently released a comprehensive account of all mass shootings from 1982 to 2018.  There have been 98 of them.  There have been 819 deaths.  The use of either an AR (ArmaLite Rifle) or AK (Kalashnikov Rifle) occurred only 15 times.  Let me say that one more time – ARs or AKs were only used is 15 of the 98 mass shootings since 1982 or only 15% of the time.  So, the obvious solution is to ban ARs and AKs.

Let’s broaden our view and look at the FBI data for 2016.  There were 15,070 murders in the US.  Of those 374 were committed by rifles – all types included.  This amounts to 2%.  So, the obvious solution is to ban ARs and AKs.  Twice as many deaths were committed with hands and feet, should we start chopping them off?  Five times as many deaths were caused by knives, shall we ban all knives?  (Don’t laugh, this is happening in the UK).

While the anti-civil rights crowd dance on the graves of those 17 who lost their lives in the Florida school shooting, make no mistake – their “final solution” is to deny me and all law-abiding citizens of our 2nd Amendment Right to keep and bear arms.   The blood of the children and teachers simply acting as grease for their wheels. 

Perhaps a brief look at history to see how that’s worked out when severe gun control legislation was enacted (year given that the law was passed). 

Germany, 1938,  All non-citizens were prohibited from owning and possessing firearms.  Jews were not citizens.

Soviet Union, 1929.  Stalin is estimated to have killed 20 million of his own citizens

Communist China, 1935 and 1957, estimates are that Mao killed between 40 and 80 million of his own citizens.

Cambodia, 1956,  Pol Pot killed 2 million of his own citizens

This, this right here is the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.  It gives the citizens of the state the ability to defend themselves against a state out of control.  Do we have examples of our state killing its own citizens because of guns? 

Wounded Knee, December 29, 1890.  The government killed between 150 and 300 Lakota people, most were women and children when they wouldn’t turn over their guns.

Waco, Texas  February – April 1993, Branch Davidians,  After a siege the building complex was raided by the ATF because of suspect weapons stock piling.  81 people were burned to death.

As recently as 2014 there was an armed standoff between the BLM and the Bundy family in a dispute over grazing rights that had been granted for over 20 years.  The standoff eventually resulted in the killing of a rancher, Robert Finicum and a resulting $5 Million-dollar wrongful death suit.  All charges against the family were dropped this year.

So where does this leave us?  I believe it leaves us with a number of uncomfortable truths.

Violence will never “stop”.  It is a part of human nature.  Wishing it to be gone does not banish it or violence would have disappeared long ago.

Evil exists.  And I mean real, honest to God, gut wrenching evil.  Try this link and realize this is in your country, not some 3rd world backwater.

The person you see in the mirror every morning is your “first responder”.  If you are living every day knowing that all you need to do is call 911 and you are saved – please, wake up before it’s too late.  Get some first aid training, take some defensive fighting classes, become responsible for yourself rather than trusting your safety to someone else.  I noticed that many states are enacting rules saying you can not buy a gun – any gun -  until age 21.  Think of the young woman with a stalker and a piece of paper that she expects to protect her from violence.  What could possibly go wrong.

Harden schools.  The NRA released their NRA School Shield Program early in 2013 after Sandyhook.  Make sure your school follows the tenants contained in it.  Make sure they have an armed SRO on duty every day.  Allow those teachers that follow state and local laws to acquire their individual carry permit to carry on school property if they so choose.  The more trained folks in a school that are armed, the higher the possibility to stop a school shooter.

Finally, one of our founders had a simple warning for us:

Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." 

I believe it is a thought we should all take to heart.

Some reference links:

March for our lives – “Fingers” and signs

Mass Shootings 1982 – 2018  (819 killed)

Article on local students during the walkout

Kellogg-Briand Pact was an agreement to outlaw war signed on August 27, 1928

Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Just the Basics - Your AR “Patrol Rifle”

This is an “opinion” piece.  And, we all know what is said about opinions . . . everyone has one.  I want to offer mine on things you might want to consider for the rifle you choose to defend your home and family.  I use the phrase “Patrol Rifle” as a way of moving your mindset to a more serious place.  This isn’t a rifle you plink with.  It’s not to be taken to the range to “check zero” . . . and nothing else (though if I ask a shooter at our range what they are working on with their AR, THAT is the response I get 90% of the time).  It’s not for target shooting, precision shooting or just blasting away.  It has a very specific purpose . . . to defend the lives of the most important people in your life from those who intend to do them harm.  That is the purpose of a “Patrol Rifle”.

Last week I went to our local police department and spent half a day stripping, cleaning (if needed) and inspecting their 9 patrol rifles.  These are the weapons their officers carry in their squad cars.  I did this in my role as their armorer and to fulfill the state requirement that these firearms be inspected by an armor once a year.  It was an interesting experience.  It was easy to see which officers worked with their weapons regularly, which were diligent about maintenance and those who placed their patrol rifles at the bottom of their “to do” list.

That said, virtually all of them provided good examples of what I consider constitutes a “Patrol Rifle” and that is what I want to chat about in this post.  What is its purpose, how is it typically used and what gear would you find attached to the weapon.

The Patrol Rifle is a “close in” weapon, typically the engagement distance is not significantly farther that those encountered with your handgun.  It may be across the room distance, down the hall distance, length of the house distance . . . but I suspect not much farther than that.  The “zero” I recommend is a 50/200 yard zero.  Zero your patrol rifle at 50 yards and it will also be zeroed at 200 yards while shooting about 1 inch high at 100 yards and 2 inches low at 10 yards.  The 50/200 zero will cover virtually all the ground necessary for a typical home defense need.  I might add that this also covers the typical range for a law enforcement officer’s engagement as well.  The actual need for a civilian homeowner to engage a lethal threat out to 200 yards is, for all practical purposes, nil.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend some time at that distance . . . but you will be much better served spending your time at 50 yards or less and the majority of your time at 10 yards or less. 

The rifle should be equipped with the basics . . . 16” barrel, front and rear iron sights, a holographic optic, adjustable stock, flashlight and easily adjustable sling.  That’s it . . . the end . . . nothing more.  Here is an image of my “patrol rifle” that I carry in my Jeep. 

I started with a DPMS 556 Oracle.  I know DPMS takes its share of complaints, but this particular rifle has been through many multi-day, 1,000+ round count courses – all without a weapon related failure.  Fat fingers failure – yes.  Head up butt failure – yes.  But no weapon related failures. 

It has also been through a 2-day basic armorer course where it was completely, COMPLETELY disassembled and reassembled – followed by a 2-day range course.  Again, no problems.  Bottom line, this is my “carry gun” and I trust it to protect my family.  This was my foundation. 

Feeding the patrol rifle are Magpul P-mags.  In it’s carry case I have three loaded magazines, downloaded by 2 rounds.  I have found these magazines to be incredibly reliable though I do take the precaution of keeping my carry magazines separate from my range magazines.

For basic iron sights I like the Magpul MBUS front and rear popup sights.  I have no problems using them through the EOTech holographic sight should its batteries crap out.  I’ve been very happy with this pair of sights.  They have remained rock solid, provide a solid sight picture and can be kept “stored” in the down position and be released with a simple touch of a button.  I have zeroed this particular pair a couple years ago and it has held zero just fine.

My EOTech optic has been around for more than a few years . . . yet it remains rock solid and I’m happy with it.  As with all similar optics it allows rapid target acquisition and rapid first-round hits.  Honestly, I like this particular optic since it uses AA batteries and I always have a fresh set available.  I realize the new kids on the block claim 4000+ hours out of their batteries, and that many shooters simply dim the dot and never turn it off . . . I simply don’t take that approach.  To each their own.

A weapon mounted light on a carbine is simply a must.  It DOES NOT replace the need for a handheld flashlight in your pocket but trying to identify a threat at distance while holding your patrol rifle and a handheld flashlight is just not practical.  I like the Streamlight TR-1.  It’s reliable, my generation light has 300 lumens and it is at my fingertip if I need it.  

Finally, there is the sling . . . and yes you need one.  Should you need to transition from your patrol rifle to your handgun, you don’t want to be in a position to have to juggle both or have to drop your rifle.  The trick is to find a comfortable sling that you can easily adjust.  The Bravo Company Viking Tactics wide padded is SIMPLY THE BEST!  It’s comfortable when worn all day and very easily adjustable.  A simple tug of the strap or release cord make rapid adjustment easy.

More stuff???  Well, there’s lots and lots of additional pieces of gear you can add.  Laser sights, IR Illuminators, bipods to name just a very few . . . I would suggest you do your best to pass on the temptation.  Keep it simple, keep it clean and spend the range time you need to be able to use your Patrol Rifle to defend yourself, your family or those in your charge.



Magpul Pmags

Magpul MBUS Sights

Bravo Company Viking Tactics Sling

Streamlight TR1 Weapon Mounted Light

EOTech 512 Holographic Sight