Thursday, January 31, 2013

Training – Gloves . . . .


It’s “chilly” as I write this on the last day of January 2013. My WeatherUnderground unit lists the temp as 4.5F with a wind-chill of -16.5F. A day long blizzard has given way to a clear skies and wind speeds in excess of 25mph. Perhaps butt-assed cold would be a better descriptor. Still – sadly when I went out to clean off the cars and fire them up – it didn’t actually feel all that cold. That means it’s time for Spring . . . . SOON!!

Still, regardless of the temps – I need to stay “operational” outside. And, part of the gear I use to adapt to cold are gloves. Let’s chat about them from the perspective of everyday use and then from the particular viewpoint of being a shooter.

I break down my gloves into both seasons and use. For this post let’s call the categories:

Summer Work Gloves, Winter Work Gloves and Shooting Gloves – each have different characteristics, in some cases their purpose may over-lap depending on the particular use and time of year. Finally, there is a specific “test” I have that determines whether the Shooting Glove I am looking for will work for me.

Summer Work Gloves: Leather – pure and simple. I have a fondness for Wells Lamont leather work gloves. I like the grain gloves – providing a rougher surface that, to me, provides a better grip. As you can see by the photo – I have a tendency to wear them “into the grave”. This pair is now relegated to the garage for a quick cover while moving trash, boxes, lumber. They have been retired from day-to-day use. However, I really hate to get rid of a pair of gloves just when they are starting to fit really well!

Work Glove-2

How do these gloves – and their replacement – fit into the shooting side of my life? In a lot of ways actually. Range “work” has many components including building target stands, reshaping berms, raking leaves in the Fall, sweeping sidewalks and a shooting deck . . . . to list just a few jobs where a little extra protection for my hands is a plus.

And, working my weapon with summer work gloves on isn’t a bad way to work on gross motor skills. Because they are simply not supple, your fine motor skills are of little benefit. So, try your draw stroke, clearing malfunctions, magazine changes and magazine reloads using gloves like these – it can be good practice. Oh, one other thing . . . practice dry fire FIRST! If you draw your 1911 and you aren’t used to the “feel” of it with these work gloves on – life can go sideways quick. Dry Fire, Dry Fire, Dry Fire . . . . any new part of your range routine FIRST – then move to live fire.

The replacement set of these gloves lives in the well beneath my Jeep driver’s side seat on the left side – along with their Winter “cousins” and an AF Survival Knife.

Winter Work Gloves: Again, I am very fond of Wells Lamont leather gloves. Though, in winter I like their deer hide, fully lined gloves.

Work Glove

This is the second pair that rides in my Jeep. They are supple, great for driving but they’re also just fine for ax and saw on a winter campout. As you can see – after two years or so, these are beginning to show their wear. This morning, when I went out to face 5F with -16F wind-chill – this pair protected my hands. And, when I go to the range and set targets and shooting tables, these more than keep my hands warm. I do some practice with these as I do with the work gloves above. They are typically on my hands when we hit the single digits and, as such, I want my draw stroke to be as efficient as possible. So, I practice with them.

Yet, the majority of the Winter I don’t wear gloves – and that includes the shooting portion of my range trips. The desire to be “warm” can come into direct conflict with the need to defend myself – so I wear gloves as little as possible. And, honestly – it has to be pretty darn nippy before my hands notice the cold.

Shooting Gloves:  There have been times though, in very cold weather, where extended exposure begins to take its toll. An hour or two on the range is fairly easy to “suck up”. Past that – a half day, full day, multi-day, honestly that’s a different story. Add in snow or rain and not only does cold become an issue, so does grip. In these instances I am looking for a true “shooter” glove. I have found my pair with 5.11’s TAC A2 gloves.

Shooting Glove

They are light weight, very flexible, have course grain leather in the palm as well as the weapon-side of the fingers, a Velcro tab insures a snug fit and they pass my only real test for shooting gloves . . . . the “dime” test. Can you pick up a dime from a flat, smooth surface while wearing your gloves?

Dime Test 1   Dime Test 2

Why Yes – yes I can. That is my test to see if I can perform the fine motor skills during draw, engagement, mag changes, tactical and speed reloads, loading mags, clearing the full range of malfunctions. I should not have to give up the ability to properly control my weapon by using gloves over a prolonged period of time. These gloves fit the bill perfectly for me.

So, is there a place for a pair of gloves or two in your range bag?? Sure. Find gloves that work for you, that allow you to perform all the tasks you wish too on the range. Work with them, practice with them, get to know them . . . .

Because if it’s -11F outside (that’s where we’re headed tonight) and you are caught in an engagement outside your home . . . . a little added warmth and protection will truly be welcome!

Gloves – Summer and Winter work gloves, shooting gloves . . . . there to help your hands do their job longer and better.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review - StreamLight TLR-1s with the LaserLyte Shotgun Tri-Rail


I have said a number of times in the past – I am NOT a fan of weapon mounted lights. In particular, I have described my preference of having a hand held light when using my handgun in low-light conditions. No need to repeat that discussion here. However . . . . .

Once you move into the long-gun environment, things change. In that environment – you now typically need two hands to handle and control your weapon. Throw in my Surefire 6P Defender and you find yourself wishing you had a third hand. When using either my 870 for my Panther Arm Oracle carbine as a defensive weapon in low-light environments – a weapon mounted light is a handy addition.

For this review, I want to focus on my Remington 870 Tactical Shotgun. You have two options when looking to mount a light - you can replace the Fore-End with a model that has an integrated light. There are advantages to this option, particularly the built-in controls that are easily accessible to your support hand as you handle your weapon. Disadvantage – cost, pure and simple.

A second option is to mount a short piece of picatinny rail to the magazine tube. And, that was my choice – using the Laserlyte Shotgun Tri-Rail system.

LaserLyte Shotgun Tri-Rail 1   LaserLyte Shotgun Tri-Rail 2

The installation was very simple. I simply removed the forward spacer with the integrated sling point, slid the Tri-Rail on the magazine tube, re-installed the forward spacer and then centered and fixed the Tri-Rail in place with the provided Allen screws and Allen wrench. Total time – under 5 minutes. This provides three points of installation at the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock.

870 Weapons Mount 2

Enter the StreamLight TLR01s “Rail Mounted Tactical LED Flashlight”.

streamlite tlr-1s-2   streamlite tlr-1s-3

First – the Basics:

  • Weight: Approx. 5oz w/batteries.
  • Length: 3.3”
  • Width: 1.47”
  • Height: 1.44”
  • Case Material: Aircraft Aluminum
  • Color: Black - Anodized
  • Lens: High temperature, shock mounted, impact resistant Boro  Float glass
  • Illumination: 300 Lumens
  • Battery : 2ea. CR123 Lithium Ion
  • Battery Life: 2.5 hrs..
  • Operating Temps: -40°F to +140°F
  • Water Proofing: 1 meter for 30 minutes
  • Modes: Momentary ON, Full ON, Strobe

I evaluated a number of different weapons light for this add-on to my 870. The driving factor was the purpose of this particular weapon. This is a CQB weapon, primarily for the defense of my home. I am not going to be taking 25 or 50 yard shots with it. It will be close in, the max distance being the full length of my home or the width of any given room. This allowed me a great deal of flexibility in the size of the light I was looking for.

That said, I’m not willing to give up the flexibility of needing to reach out to 50 yards should the need arise. The point of balance here determines the size and weight of the light – strong enough to reach out to 50 yards, yet not heavy enough to effect the control of my 870.

My choice – the StreamLight TR1s.

870 Weapons Mount 4

It is mounted to the support side of the 870 just forward of the Fore-End stop. I can easily reach the rocker switch with my support hand as it grips the weapon. A simple flick in one direction provides momentary light, the other direction provided continuous light. A double tap in the momentary light direction initiates the strobe function until the switch is released. Honestly, I don’t care for the “double tap” switch approach – it is one more thing to remember in an engagement that – unless you fully integrate it into your training – you will quickly forget.

Operation is simple and instinctive. The area that is illuminated could easily be used as your sighting device provided you are using typical game loads. My preferred load-out is two game rounds followed by a heavier round – either buckshot or a slug. The biggest consideration there is RULE NUMBER 4!!! Most slugs and buckshot will travel through drywall as if it were paper. Keep that in mind! The “two plus one” load out allows me to “change the mind” of an intruder while closing on them so that if a third round is needed, I have much more control of the situation and shot at that time. I realize your approach may well be different – that’s fine. Just make sure you train with that load-out in your weapon.

Another advantage of this light – it can easily switch to either my carbine or my Glock17. It is getting close to an upgrade for both those weapons, so as I work with this light, I’ll evaluate its use on both of those platforms. Right now – today – I suspect I will be picking up a couple more of these, one for the carbine and the Glock17.

As for the level of illumination – let’s chat about that for a bit.

In years gone by the “foot candle” was the preferred unit of measure. How much illumination would be provided on the inner surface of a sphere that is one-foot in radius from a candle at its center. Of course – that would depend on the type of candle, length of the wick, composition of the wax, duration of the burn . . . . scientifically a dicey thing to standardize.

Well – geeks being geeks – they have settled on a new point of illumination – platinum. The nice thing about base metals is that they are “consistent”. An atom of platinum will perform exactly and precisely the same each and every time an specific outside force acts on it. The characteristic that scientists are interested in for the new standard for illumination was the amount of light that was given off at the precise instant a defined amount of platinum melted. The exact amount is “1/60 of a single square centimeter”. This then become the “candle” at the center of the sphere 1m in radius. The illumination provided becomes a lumen.

The final piece of this puzzle is the “steradian” – the area of illumination. To get an idea of what this area is, take your weapon light, stand 3-feet from a white wall, point the light at the wall and look at the area illuminated by the light. This is the “steradian” for that particular light. The number of “Lumens” a light is rated at, determines the “brightness” of the area illuminated by your light at 3-feet. More Lumens – brighter. Less Lumens – dimmer.

Some standard comparisons:

  • 100 Watt Light Bulb: 1750
  • 13 Watt CFL: 56
  • Sun: 93
  • StreamLight TLR-1s:  300

Bottom line – I am very impressed by the size, function and amount of light available from the StreamLight TLR-1s. It’s well built, lightweight, uses a “standard” battery and will fit multiple weapons platforms.

If you are looking for a weapons light for either shotgun, carbine or handgun, it is well worth your consideration.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ramblings – We are the result of our “path” . . . .


Prince Albert In A Can

“Got Prince Albert In A Can? . . . . . Well then you better let him go!!!!”

An old joke from my childhood floated through my memory as I moved an old Prince Albert tobacco can filled with my dad’s collection of screws, nails, nuts, bolts and “what-not”. It’s not really been used since the late 40s – a reminder of a man I knew little about, have few memories of and yet feel a fairly close kinship with. I have a trunk of his filled with his childhood toys, pocket knives and watches, union pins for his caps . . . . the remains of his life. He’d be 113 this year had he been granted it . . . . his life lasted just 57years. Still, he left footprints – faint to be sure – yet still visible all these years later.

That was my task at hand today as well . . . . to leave foot prints.

We are undergoing a slow-motion remodel in our home. Bit by bit, inch by inch, room by room . . . . . on it goes. We are getting to the “big stuff”, yet lots of little details need finishing up first. Today – a “final pass” through belongings that have passed through numerous apartments and homes to end up in boxes in a corner of our garage. Such are the bits and pieces of our life. Weeks ago new insulation was installed, ceilings covered and an area cleaned – making ready for today and the assembly of a new storage system. Once the task was completed, it was time to tackle an old unit filled with long-ago filled boxes with bits and pieces of our path together and our combined families’ history.

A box of religious cards, medallions, prayer books, Mass cards . . . . these represent my wife’s upbringing in the Catholic Church and define her very core. Workbooks from 4th grade covering the parts of Mass as well as math, English, geography. This was followed by weekly magazines for students from the 50s – filled with concerns of atomic war, what to have in your fallout shelter, details of the USSR’s expansion. Sprinkled in were cards from me during our very early years, copies of a High School newspaper we both worked on, old photos . . . . . our “footprints” both separate and together.

There was a yearbook from 1909, school work from her mom from the 1920s, books from her uncle Clearance – a WWI vet that survived mustard gas and TB. Books of WWI, novels to build the spirits of families at home and to let them know what their doughboys were going through.

A couple train sets – one electric that I still see set up on our dining room table and another windup to capture the mind of a young engineer.

Still another box holding the remnants of my first chemistry set, parts of old electronics experiments, a toy wrecker complete with spare tire.

Our foot prints . . . . from our path together. It will be the last time either of us will sort this particular batch of memorabilia. We will leave the next round to our children after we are gone. To peer into these boxes, thumb through the books and photos and prayer cards . . . . to look at our footprints so they know where they have come from . . . .

“Got Prince Albert In A Can????” “WELL, YOU BETTER LET HIM GO!!!!!”

Friday, January 25, 2013

Training - Packing my “school bag” and getting ready . . . .


My friend Chris Shoffner of Armed Missouri sent me an email back in December that he was hosting a Tactical Pistol class taught by Tacc Arms. They had very limited spaces but by the end of the evening I had secured a spot. Now, all I have to do is wait until February 9th to go “play”. Still – even this far out, I’m “packing my school bag” and getting ready. So let’s talk a bit about just that – “getting ready”. Courses – whether very basic or multi-day requiring an elevated skill set – cost money. Cost of the course, travel time, lodging in some cases (this one is probably 6 hours away so I’ll have at least 2 nights in a motel), gas – not to mention ammunition, your weapon (and a second in most cases – remember “1 is none and 2 is one”). So – take it serious, prepare, take good gear, put in range time prior to the course . . . . some areas of consideration.

Weapons: Take TWO!!! A Jeff Cooper saying was “One is non, two is one!” (not sure if he was the originator of this particular quip, but it comes up in many of his writings and video interviews). Meaning – have a backup. If you go to a weapons class with a single weapon . . . . it’ll break beyond repair. You’ll miss the class, miss the range time and be out your money. Not good.

So, for me, I am taking two Glock17s. I still love this weapon for a training class. It’s reliable, full sized, carries plenty of rounds and is more than accurate for any course I have ever taken. That’s why I have two of them. I have never had a catastrophic failure with either weapon – and I’m not expecting on in February. But . . . . I’m still taking two!

Holsters: I see my everyday carry holster as separate from the training holster. My carry holster needs to be very concealable, needs to securely hold my weapon until it’s needed and needs to be comfortable throughout the day. It does NOT have to survive hundreds of draws per day during a shooting course. My choice is the Blackhawk IWB leather holster – worn at the 4 o’clock position. It truly “fits like a glove”!

My training holster – meaning the one I wear to single or multi-day shooting schools MUST be able to stand up to hundreds of draws per day. For that I am very fond of Serpa holsters. (I know – I know . . . . boooooo . . . . Serpa . . . . bad!!! Honestly that has not been my experience!) I like the rigid Kydex form. I like to wear them at the 4 o’clock position but OWB. And, as with the Glock17 – I have two of them!

Range Bag:  UPDATE  I realized I left out a Range Bag.  Honestly, mine lives in the Jeep, so I seldom think about it, it’s just always there.  However, there are specific things I carry in it.  I did a post on this almost a year ago.  So, rather than repeating myself, just go here to find out the contents of my range bag.

Clothing – Waist-Up: I start with an UnderArmor T shirt. Their wicking ability is amazing! I cover that with a polypropylene long-sleeved shirt and then a fleece pullover. My outer layer is a Columbia Omni-Tech parka with the lining taken out (and the adjustment elastic strings removed). This gives me plenty of options to cover everything from a mild 70 degree day to a butt cold rainy day. Again – money, travel, purpose – make sure you can stay on the range and shoot the course regardless of the weather!

Clothing – Waist-Down: Inner layer is a polypropylene long john. These are great at wicking away moisture and have little chaffing throughout a long day. These are covered by “shooter pants” and the lovely Mrs. Bill says. I like the 5.11 TacLite Pro series. Double fabric in the knees, lots of pockets, comfortable fit – the kind I can wear all day. My alternative would be REI trail pants. I have a bunch of these as well for canoeing and backpacking. But, that’s what they are built for . . . . not shooting.

Feet: You would think people would know how to take care of their feet . . . . few do. Start with a polypropylene layer of sock covered by a wool layer. I love SmartWool for the outer sock though my favorite pair is a heavy duty pair of wool hiking socks – pure heaven. This is a great combination to wick perspiration away from your foot, that reduces friction and that can essentially eliminate blisters. And trust me – THAT is a very good thing.

Shoes: My standard comment is to wear “sturdy shoes”. Leave the frickin’ leather sandals, loafers and tennis shoes home. Wear something that can protect your foot and protect your ankles! My preferred boot is a leather Monarch hiking boot – decades old, layered and layered and layered with mink oil that wraps itself around my foot and keep it dry whether its dry and 100+ or raining buckets and the mud is ankle deep. Again, if you’re not prepared – you could sit on the sidelines for a whole day.

Outer Wear – Pants: I have a pair of Columbia OmniTech rain pants that has seen me through the worst downpours insuring that in under that parka and pant combo – I was nice and dry. Take a good quality rain pant. While the videos may look cool of shooters on the line getting rain drenched – a day like that sucks. Been there – done that – got the T-shirt. Not gonna do it again.

Belt: Invest is a good belt/belts. Both for every day carry and for your training. I am fond of the 5.11 nylon belts but there are many good ones out there. Don’t take a thin, floppy leather or cloth belt. They just cannot hold your holster and magazines in the right spot.

Magazine Carrier and Magazines: You should be able to step to the line with three magazines loaded for whatever drill is about to come your way, one in the gun and two on your support side in a magazine carrier. I found a nice dual-mag carrier. It doesn’t really matter who makes them – just that they are sturdy and stay in place. If you are a revolver guy – two pouches for your speed loaders is simply a must. Take spare magazines. I usually travel with six – three for each weapon.

Ammunition: I know this will probably insult some . . . . but take enough store-bought ammo to cover the course. If you are a re-loader, fine – think of it as adding to your brass collection. But again – cost, travel, time – if you have a bad bunch of primers, contaminated powder – whatever, you may end up watching a lot more than you are working drills and learning. I know, I know . . . . “I ain’t never had a bad reload” . . . . talk to murphy about that one. Use factory ammo.

And, just to be a nice guy – especially in today’s market – if you can take a few hundred rounds extra – do it. Some other shooter may not have been as lucky as you!

Research: Research the course you are taking. Look for reviews, videos, testimonials . . . . and then use this to help you prepare for the course. Spend extra dry-fire time polishing your draw, stance, presentation, trigger press. Use your .22 range gun (mine is the Ruger .22/45) to work on your marksmanship. Work on your polish so when you hit the range you can work on the course work they are presenting, not the basics you should know.

Nerves: I have yet to take any weapons course – whether the first day on the range back in the summer of ’68 to a Point-Shooting Progressions Course from Suarez last spring – than I haven’t felt a bit nervous. And, I take the advice I have always given my kids . . . . “It just means it’s important to you!” And so it is . . . . it’s important to me that I do well, that I not look stupid, that I remain open to learn what the instructor is trying to teach me, that I push my limits, that I continue to grow and develop as a shooter.

Of course you’ll be nervous . . . . no biggie.

Incidentals: Take your boo-boo kit. Take your blow out kit. Throw a handful of cliff bars in your range pack. Take a couple of Nalgenes of water and a couple of gallons of water as well. Throw a couple boxes of those little Crystal Lite packets to flavor the water (I hate the taste of water!!!) Throw in a good sized bag of jerky. Don’t forget sun screen and lip balm A day on the range can work you over pretty good!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Just the Basics - Hammers and Strikers


All cartridges fired from handguns, long guns or shotguns are fired by having their primer sharply struck by a firing pin. The mechanics to make this happen have boiled down into two primary configurations – the Hammer Fired or the Striker Fired firearm.

During a recent class, as I was going over this detail, eyes glazed over and I realized I had lost them and had no readily accessible images to explain this difference. I also suspect that if the folks I had in the classroom that day had questions, other folks might as well. So, let’s chat a bit about “Hammers and Strikers”.

Let’s start with one of the earliest and simplest hammer fired weapons, the .45 Single Action Revolver.

The Hammer is found on the rear of the weapon. It has 4 positions:

Fully Forward: The Hammer is fully forward, the Firing Pin if fully in and slightly through the Hammer Port – meaning it rests mere millimeters from the face of the primer of the cartridge that is in the firing position. Perhaps not the safest configuration.

“Safety” Position: The Safety Position in one-click back. In this position, the cylinder is locked, the Nose of the Hammer is withdrawn into the Hammer Port, the Trigger is locked and the firearm is much safer in the event in is dropped. For a modern, single action revolver, this would be the safest way to cary the handgun – with the exception of leaving the firing chamber empty.

Half Cocked: Half Cocked is two clicks back and allows the cylinder to spin freely. This is the Hammer position used to both load and unload the firearm via the Loading Gate.

Fully Cocked: The Hammer is three clicks back and the weapon is fully ready to fire. In this particular SA Revolver – less than a pound of pressure with my trigger press will release the hammer and fire the weapon.

The Hammer strikes the primer by plunging through the Hammer Port. This strike ignites the primer which ignites the powder within the cartridge firing the bullet down the barrel and out of the muzzle of the firearm.

The Firing Pin is Integral to the Hammer meaning that it is a physical part of the hammer. The very end of the Firing Pin – that part that actually strikes the primer is called the Nose.

45cal SA Hammer - Firing Pin - Firing Pin Port

The Single Action revolver evolved into a Double Action Revolver. This meant that by simply pressing the trigger the Hammer was cocked, the cylinder was rotated and finally the Hammer was released – firing the weapon. With this change came some changes in the design of the Firing Pin.

The Firing Pin became part of the frame. The Firing Pin Nose can be seen on the inside of the weapon when the cylinder is rolled open. The rear of the Firing Pin is available to the struck by the Hammer Face.

Notice that the Hammer has a Transfer Bar Notch – this provides a space for the Transfer Bar. This space provides a place for the Transfer Bar to rest with the Hammer is fully forward. The insertion of this bar insures that the space between the Nose of the Firing Pin and the Primmer is fixed, insuring that the firearm will not fire should the weapon drop. When the trigger is pressed, the Transfer Bar is shifted and the Hammer Face strikes the rear of the Firing Pin discharging the weapon.

Tarus DA Hammer-Strike Face-Firing Pin

The move to semi-automatic pistols again required a change in the design of the Firing Pin. This Springfield 1911 is a good example of the Hammer fired semi-automatic pistol.

The Firing Pin extends slightly out of the rear of the weapon. It is pushed out by the Firing Pin Spring. When the trigger is pressed the Hammer is released and strikes the rear of the Firing Pin – driving it into the primer and discharging the weapon.

Notice that the Firing Pin is slim and tapered. The Firing Pin Spring is what insures that rear of the Firing Pin is exposed through the hole in the Firing Pin Stop. The Firing Pin Spring is one of the components that may need to be replaced over time as it weakens and the weapon begins to experience “light strikes”.

The Extractor rides down the slide along the inner edge to slip behind the lip of the .45cal ACP cartridge. As the slide moves to the rear it extracts the spent casing from the chamber and ejects it out of the side of the weapon through the ejection port.

Note that the Firing Pin is a fairly slender, smallish bit of hardware. This is one of the things that set it apart from a Striker where the Striker is the Firing Pin – as in the Glock 36 pistol shown next.

1911 - Hammer and Strike Face

This Glock 36 provides a good example of a Striker Fired firearm. The first thing you notice is that the Firing Pin is significantly “beefier”. There is more bulk and mass to the pin. You can also see that the same goes for the Firing Pin Spring. It is this combination – the size and mass of the Firing Pin and the strength of the Firing Pin Spring that will send this Firing Pin – the “Striker” - into the primer, discharging the weapon. There is a Firing Pin Spacer on the rear of the Firing Pin that helps to center the Firing Pin in its channel. The Firing Pin Nose will extend through the channel to strike the primer, discharging the weapon.

Glock Rear Slide and Firing Pin

Hammers – Firing Pins – Strikers . . . . they all get us to the same place. They make your firearm go BLAMMMMMM!! Yet, there are important differences.

As in all things – words matter.

And now you know that they mean . . . .

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review – Troop 29 Rifle and Shotgun Merit Badge – Classroom


Boy Scouts are interesting critters. A troop typically spans quite a range of ages – from Middle School through High School. And, with that age comes various abilities to stay focused, keep their head in the game, to ask questions, to leave the “attitude” home – typical issues young men moving towards becoming adult men face every day.

I’ve worked with Scouts for around 13 years now – about ten as an assistant scoutmaster which meant camping every weekend, annual High Adventure trips, Courts of Honor watching scouts advance and watching my own son achieve the rank of Eagle. It’s a warm, rich and satisfying experience and memory.

Over the past 3 years or so, with my son “grown” and about to be married – my interaction has contracted to merit badge counselor. I do much of the “geek” stuff – radio, astronomy, orienteering, wilderness survival, photography and the shooting sports – rifle and shotgun. The BSA change requirements for merit badge counselors a few years ago (?) now requiring that all be NRA certified instructors. Honestly, this feels more than a bit overboard. I can see requiring the NRA basic courses, but instructor courses?? Very expensive for the counselor – yet – there it is.

A couple years ago I struck up a relationship with Troop 29 and was asked to teach the rifle and shotgun merit badges. I do them is two segments – classroom time and range time. This weekend was the classroom time for both the rifle and shotgun merit badges.

Their course of learning is dictated by the discipline’s specific merit badge book, one for rifle and one for shotgun. Not surprisingly, much of the information mirrors (and I do mean MIRRORS) the NRA course. I view that as a GOOD thing, the material is excellent.

So the morning 9AM to noon was spent working on issues basic to both – firearm safety, some basic first aid, basics of handling a firearm, stance, grip – items that are shared between rifle and shotgun. And then, items specific to rifles – different actions, nomenclature, the “weld” points of a proper stance and grip – basics, basics, basics . . .

What I enjoy so much about Troop 29 is that the guys in the troop commit to a full day – 6+ hours – of classroom time and exercises and they actually sit there, ask questions and truly “show up” for the entire class. Amazing. They have done this consistency for the past 3 years – regardless of the kids that walk through the door.

Morning over – a typical “scout lunch” followed. Sloppy Joes, chips, apple sauce – good old camp fare . . . . that was cooked on a kitchen stove in the chapterhouse rather than an open camp fire. I gave them an appropriate amount of crap about this, thoroughly enjoyed the lunch – and then we got back after it focused on the specifics of a shotgun. It’s always fun to watch how they react when they see how much of the nomenclature transfers from one firearm to the other, be they rifles or shotguns, bolt action or semiautomatic or pump, lager caliber or the lowly .22 – they quickly learn the “words”, tuck them away and easily recognize the common components on the different types of firearms.

By midafternoon, the topic was wrung dry, all questions asked and answered and all butts ready to head outside for some R&R. Blue cards were initials for some that had completed earlier requirements and notes were made for my next time with Troop 29, in late spring, when we will move to the range for the fun stuff!

Here they are . . . . if my past experience is any indication – you see future military officers, corporate leaders, teachers, insurance reps, nurses, sales reps . . . . . it gives me hope that all is truly not lost . . . .


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ramblings - Worth Passing Along


So now . . . . after the demands for a new AWB . . . . Obama's pathetic plea while surrounded by children . . . . after New York guts their citizens 2nd amendment rights because of the Sandy Hook travesty at the hands of a shooter with an "Assault Rifle" . . . . we find out the journalists lied . . . . there was NO AR-15 USED IN THE CRIME! I suppose as long as the "agenda" is advanced . . . . no harm - no foul . . . . . ??

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Training - New e.IA.f.t. Training Courses for 2013


Custom Training Modules

Training Period: 4-hour blocks

Module Content: Custom to Trainee

Student Limit: 2

Price: $125 + $20 Range Fee

There may be times when group training will not meet your needs. For example, you have purchased a new weapons system and want to learn its basic function, use and define a training regimen that will prepare you to use that weapons system for your personal defense.

Perhaps you want to work on a new skill set – holster draw, weapon malfunctions, and shooting drills.

You might want to work on your draw from concealment, the selection of a holster system that will work for you, learning and integrating drill sets to improve your defensive capabilities.

There are any number of reasons you may want some one-on-one training time and our Custom Training Modules are designed to cover that need. These modules will cover all firearm safety rules, the complete nomenclature for the weapons system you wish training on, a set of training drills that will allow you to continue to develop your skill set and a qualification shoot to insure you have learned to safely and accurately deploy your weapons system in your defense.

Times and dates are negotiable. A certificate of completion will be presented upon completion of your Module.



Introduction to the AR-15 Carbine

Training Period: 8-hours

Student Limit: 10

Price: $175 + $20 Range Fee

Round Count: 250

The most popular platform for a defensive carbine is currently the AR platform. These come in a variety of upper configurations, calibers and piston/gas configurations. As in all weapons system, there are basics to learn. The following is an equipment list for our course and a course outline:

Required Equipment

  • AR-15 format weapon
  • 3 magazines
  • Sling
  • Iron Sights
  • Sight Alignment Tool
  • Cleaning Kit
  • Eye and Ear protection
  • Baseball Cap
  • Clothing appropriate for the weather

Course Outline

  • Basic Firearm Safety
  • Range Safety Rules
  • Use of a Blow-Out Kit
  • Weapon Nomenclature
  • Zeroing your weapon
  • Basic Ballistics of Your Round
  • Use of a Sling
  • Malfunction Clearing
  • Basic Marksmanship
  • Shooting Drill Set
  • Weapon Maintenance

A certificate of completion will be provided upon completion of this course.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ramblings – Hypocrisy On Parade


I seldom post just “link” here . . . . I believe you are kind enough to stop by, I should have more that just a “go here, it’s cool” post up.  Still, this is simply too much to pass up.

As most in the gunny world know the Westchester Journal News outted folks with gun permits last month, raising quite a stink.  Still, what a “bold” thing to do, take the flack for the good of the people.  Of course, most now have armed guards around their homes and offices because – well you know – threats!!!

James O’Keef though he would test their commitment to the cause . . . .

Rules, regulation, laws . . . . privacy . . . . just for the little people.

H/T – Say Uncle

Monday, January 14, 2013

Commentary - They are called Law Enforcement Officers . . . . NOT Crime Prevention Officers


Well, as I sit at this keyboard, it’s January 14, 2013. The eve of VP Biden’s release of his “recommendations” to make us “safer” by criminalizing firearms he, the President and many on the Left want to take away. I’m also seeing reports that President Obama will be issuing 19 Executive Orders regarding firearm regulations that he feels he doesn’t need to run past Congress. Orders he believes will have the force of law – all without bothering with silly things like the House of Representatives or the Senate. Tsk, tsk . . . . that’s for the little people, not for the ruler of the United Socialist Republic of America. Heavy Sigh . . . .

Let’s take a particular look at the belief that only the police and the military are trained enough to be able to possess such arms – and that with these weapons removed from the general populace, we will all reap the benefits of this disarmament, That we will be blessed with a safer, more peaceful society.

I must ask a basic question – if we are safer with a disarmed public, why not protect us against rogue cops and military personnel by disarming them as well?? Wouldn’t the average officer feel much better with just his body armor and a baton as he/she responds to a robbery or a domestic disturbance call or a shots fired call (of course those would quickly fade away, sorry – forgot that )? I know, I know . . . . I can hear it now – officers respond to these calls, charge into the face of danger, face armed criminals – obviously they NEED these weapons to protect themselves . . . . we can’t disarm them, now can we.

And I fully agree. We expect officers to willingly go into harm’s way – just as we expect military personnel to. Thus a clarifying point . . . . the weapons they carry are to protect THEMSELVES . . . . themselves. NOT YOU!! And I DO NOT begrudge them this . . . . they NEED weapons to protect themselves from the most violent in our society – those that kill without warning, without reason, without conscience. Like . . . . . Sandy Hook.

Did you notice it took the police 20 minutes for the police to respond . . . . 20 minutes. What do you think they were doing, grabbing a quick cappuccino??? No, they were tacking up – armor, helmets, boots, ammunition, communications . . . . they were preparing to go to war with equipment that would protect themselves. So they could survive, so they could return to their families at the end of the day.

The children?????? Not so much. Evil roamed freely with his weapons of choice to slaughter our innocents. He had already broken so many laws . . . . killed his mother, stole her weapons, stole her car, carried said weapons into a gun-free zone, broke into the school, killed the principal and counselor, shot the bravest 2nd grade teacher I have ever heard about, and calmly shot and killed 20 individual children . . . . completely unopposed.

So what exactly IS the purpose of our police force?? A simple Google search of December 2012 will answer that question . . . . in a unique fashion. Here is the search:

police respond shooting december 2012

Go ahead, copy that into the Google Search box and spend a few minutes going through the results . . . I’ll wait.

Maybe another one:

police respond robbery December 2012

There are others:

police respond domestic abuse December 2012

police respond carjacking December 2012

police respond rape December 2012

Spend some time, copy and paste these search terms in Google . . . . read some of the stories.

I have the utmost respect for police officers. And, those of Sandy Hook responded in 20 minutes . . . . amazingly fast – for any police department. And still, 26 innocent people died . . . . as they RESPONDED. They DID NOT PREVENT the crime . . . . they RESPONDED to the commission of the crime.

As they did with the other examples of shootings, robberies, domestic abuse, car jacking’s, rapes . . . . they RESPONDED.

What effect will these bans, limitations, registrations have on making YOU safer??? None actually. The evil that walked the halls of Sandy Hook, or stalked and slaughtered in Aurora, or attempted to kill Gabby Giffords, or walked the campus of Virginia Tech, or charged through the rooms of Columbine . . . . would have found alternative options . . . . bombs, cars, fire . . . . the are options limited only by the imagination of those wishing to do evil.

Our police departments - as dedicated, well trained, focused and well-armed as they are – can still ONLY RESPOND!

For they are LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS – and can only respond AFTER a law has been BROKEN!

The can do little – if anything – BEFORE a crime is committed – be it a kid swiping a Snickers or evil slaughtering children. They are NOT Crime PREVENTION Officers. So . . . . here’s the rub . . . .

Until the police arrive . . . . .

. . . . you are ON YOUR OWN!!!!!

You might want to keep that in mind . . . .

Training – NRA Basic Pistol 1-13-2013


You never know how a course in January in Iowa is going to be received.  It’s cold, the weather is unpredictable – it takes real effort to attend.  You have to “want” to be there.  Still, I posted the course in December of 2012 and waited to see what would happen . . . . . 16 folks signed up!  Second largest class ever!  And, while it turned out that one couldn’t make it, the remaining 15 did a great job!!

I’m always interested in why they come . . . what is going on in their life that makes them want to attend a Basic Pistol course.  Well over half saw it as the beginning of learning enough about handguns to use them for personal protection – it is the start of their journey, not the end.  Some considered themselves “shooters” but had never had any formal training at all and they too saw this as a starting point.  One couple came because folks in their church had introduced them to handguns. They had enjoyed that experience on the range, and were looking to learn more.  And, I had four scout leaders that I have worked with over the past 2 years helping their troop with their rifle and shotgun merit badges.  We had chatted about the Basic Pistol course in the past and they decided to make time to take it.

All in all, they were at the course for the “right” reasons, had great attitudes and really jumped in.

The second thing I really enjoyed about this bunch was their absolute willingness to ask questions, make comments, share experiences . . . . honestly, that’s not typical.  Usually I end up drawing conversation out of folks by asking them the questions – that was not the case with this group!  Very fun and, that involvement builds a better learning environment!

The only “hitch” was the weather, it was chilly . . . . well, maybe cold . . . . alright, alright – it was frickin’, butt a$$ed cold!!!!  Let’s say “single digits” with about a 15-20 mph wind thrown in.  Two groups on the range – A and B squads.  4 shooters in a squad.  25 rounds down range.  About one-half hour per squad so each group spent about an hour on the range.  Yep . . . . it got cold!!

And still – they did great!!  And virtually everyone enjoyed it!!  What nice folks!!  So, here they are – the graduates of the e.IA.f.t. NRA BP Class of 1-13-13!!


And, icing on the cake, about half asked when my next classes were!!  Nice!

Let’s give them a well earned round of applause!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Training - The Schedule for 2013


Should have had this up a week ago, still here it is.  This is probably not all the training sessions, I am working on the Intro to Shotgun and a few other 4-hour evening blocks as well.  But, for folks looking to plan their year – here are my offerings:

NRA Instructor Courses

Basic Pistol March 22-23 $250  +  $50 for BIT
Basic Rifle April 19-21 $300  +  $50 for BIT
Basic Shotgun May 17-19 $300  +  $50 for BIT

NOTE:  The NRA requires ALL candidates take the Basic Instructor Training (B.I.T.) every two years.  If you have completed this course, send a copy of your certificate of completion and you may skip the first day of each of these courses.

REGARDING SCOUTING MERIT BADGE COUNSELORS:  If you are taking any of the instructor courses for the purpose of being a Merit Badge Counselor, there will be NO CHARGE for the Basic Instructor Course.  If you are already BIT certified, your course cost will be reduced by $50.

ALSO:  Each candidate must pass a pre-qualification.  Details are listed on the instructors tab of the “Courses” tab on our corporate web site located here.

NRA Basic Pistol

February 17, 2013 $75 + $20 Range Fee
April 7, 2013 $75 + $20 Range Fee
June 16, 2013 $75 + $20 Range Fee
August 18, 2013 $75 + $20 Range Fee
October 13, 2013 $75 + $20 Range Fee

Defensive Pistol I & II

June 29-30 $275 + $20 Range Fee
September 28-29 $275 + $20 Range Fee

NOTE:  Defensive Pistol I is a requirement for Defensive Pistol II.  Each course may be taken separately if desired.  In that event, the price for the single day of training is $175 plus the $20 Range Fee.

Introduction to the AR-15 Carbine

July 20, 2013 $175  +  $20 Range Fee

All course begin promptly at 8AM and end between 4 and 5:30 PM.  A 1-hour lunch break is taken mid-day.

It’s going to be a busy year!  If we are offering something of interest, please go to our company website, investigate the course and sign up by dropping me a note with your name, address, city, state, zip, phone and email.

I look forward to meeting many of you!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Just the Basics - Home Defense – Aftermath



1: consequence, result <stricken with guilt as an aftermath of the accident>

2: the period immediately following a usually ruinous event <in the aftermath of the war>

Two stories: After Mrs. B’s round with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, we were broken. 6-months of chemo, years of checkups every quarter followed by years of checkups semiannually, followed by years of checkups annually. Fears, stresses, strains over every little fever, sniffle, pain had moved us to a place where we were simply broken. This was our “aftermath” and our “brokenness” was a result of how we dealt with it. We ended up working with a company that had developed a “personal growth” curriculum that allowed an individual to confront, and be confronted by, all the fears that had them in a headlock. It was direct, honest, focused, intense, confrontational . . . . . and effective. Honestly, it saved us in so many ways.

And, it turned out I had a knack for this type of work as well – eventually becoming a facilitator of all three of their courses. Their initial course had the intriguing title of “Discovery”, a place where you could discover those fears and actions that had taken you “off line” and confront them. I can be direct, I can be honest, I can love a person enough to stand in their face and call them out. Connie comes to mind. The first night of the course, she obviously didn’t want to be there, carried a ton of anger and was determined to exert herself. “Been a bitch long??” I asked. Towards the end of the first evening a “crack” appeared in her face and eyes, then a tear, then a sob . . . . and the emotion of her particular life event, her “aftermath” began to clear. She could move, breath and begin to move on. You MUST allow yourself to work through your “event”, your fears, and your “walls” to clear away your aftermath . . . . or it can last a life time.

Joe’s dad was painfully quiet, withdrawn – simply living his existence. He was in his mid-60s and had become very comfortable with his current demeanor. His son wanted more for him. During the second night of his course I began to see the same cracks appear that I saw in Connie – followed by tears, sobs and a halting story of the end of WWII. While he had experience combat during his tour, he had never actually personally witnessed a person dying from his hand . . . . until the closing days of the war. A German soldier was running down a road – and with a careful aim and a determined trigger press, the soldier was struck and died. He finally saw a person die by his hand . . . . Today what he experienced is broadly talked about as PTSD, “Soldier’s Heart” and a host of other names depending on its root cause and the effect on the soldier. In his time it was “shell shock” and typically seen as evidence of cowardice. He carried this “aftermath” to the course – 1945 to the mid 80s, living it each and every day of his life.

There are other events that cause us to experience fear/pain/loss/guilt and a myriad of other uncomfortable feelings. They can consume and destroy us. Or, they can make us stronger and more resilient – the choice is truly ours.

In speaking about Home Defense, chatting about our evaluation and preparation, reviewing our different types of weapons and working through a couple different types of engagements – all will lead us to this particular word . . . .

Aftermath . . . .

And what that means to us specifically.

I want to explore three distinct types of Aftermath, their effect on us and paths to resolution. I will call these:

“Close Encounters”

“Repelling Boarders”

“To The Death”

“Close Encounters”

Earlier segments on Home Defense dealt with the evaluation of your defensive situation leading to the preparation of external and internal defensive perimeters. A “Close Encounter” would be a potential threat “sizing you up” and evaluating your residence as a possible target. Or, perhaps it’s simply a fortunate opportunity where you both occupy the roughly the same space. They are about to commit – as you come to a defensive ready. In that instant, regardless of the final circumstances, the threat takes a pass because of your state of readiness. An opportunity missed, a threat averted . . . . and now the aftermath.

It would be more than natural for any individual to become hyper vigilant, to see a threat around every corner, to see each person passed as an aggressor. The reality of such a choice is that it is wearing, exhausting and ultimately futile. Another “Close Encounter” will either happen, or it won’t. Do your best to calm your mind and return to your previous state of readiness and awareness – it picked up the threat the first time, chances are it will the next time as well. No one can live in “orange” – and to do so invites failure.

“Repelling Boarders”

Your perimeters are physical penetrated. Doors opened, windows broken, garages vandalized . . . . . you are violated. Yet, your preparations have paid off, you prepared for engagement, gathered your family, called police and informed the threat what you have done and are prepared to do. Thankfully, they chose wisely and retreated . . . . leaving you in peace for the time being. And comes the aftermath . . . . the evaluation of what you did “wrong”, reassessing your perimeters, the physical security of doors, windows, garage, the approaches to your yard and home. It is easy to get lost here . . . . endless second guessing, new preparations, new systems, new doors or locks. Again, your best bet is to calm your mind, do an honest evaluation and adjust as necessary. “Harden” your home, but do so within the bounds of reasonableness.

“To The Death”

This is the step that follows should your intruder choose not to leave but to attempt to harm you and your family. Your only concern should be the safety of your family – period. Attack the threat with all weapons at hand and put them down – hard. Nothing is as important is your spouse or child – it is a fight “to the death”.

I do not believe there is any way to truly prepare for such an event. You can do “mechanical” things – call police, call your attorney, call an ambulance for the wounded. Those are simple. It is the aftermath of taking a life that lives with you – for a lifetime. There are five recognized stages a shooter typically goes through:

Elation – that you survived!

Revulsion – at the thought that you killed another person.

Remorse – for the actions you took.

Self Doubt – a questioning of whether you did the right thing.

And finally, Acceptance – that your actions were correct and justified.

Every person’s path through the aftermath of a killing is different. Seek counseling if you need it, be open, allow yourself to “feel”. Reaching “Acceptance” may take a while. And finally, consider the options – the death of a violent attacker – or your spouse or child.

Finally – legal ramifications. Honestly, these can be legion. Plan on being arrested – know your attorney’s phone number – call them. Don’t resist the police. Give a minimal statement – something along the lines of “my life and those of my family were in mortal danger, I had no other option”, and wait for your attorney to arrive before you complete your statement. If you are uncomfortable with this advice, talk to your attorney and have a game plan should such an event happen. You have all the time in the world to prepare NOW, do it!

I do not mean this to even begin to address all the possible components of your particular “aftermath” – only to have you begin to recognize that all our actions have consequences, both for other people and for ourselves. Think about them, chew on them, resolve some of these questions now – rather than “after”. If it is “not your day” you will see the light of another dawn. Do not allow another person’s attack on you destroy the person you are.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Commentary – Becoming an “Enemy”


I find myself sitting watching cable or reading various news agencies on the net and getting a feeling of unease building in my soul. I see the core values of our nation – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – attacked daily by our newly re-elected administration, a Senate with a majority of Democrats and by a broad range of Democrat members of the House as well. I heard our President speak during his re-election campaign of “voting being the best revenge” – that his re-election would be a way for his supporters to take their revenge on those opposed to him. I have listened over and over and over to those folks that pay well over 70% of all taxes paid being called out for their unwillingness to pay their fair share. And I found it all disheartening.

I cannot even fully describe my heartbreak at the evil that roamed the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary as it slaughtered the innocents found there. And yet, before the children and their teachers could be held by their loved ones a final time, before their bodies could be laid to rest, before their souls could be greeted by a loving God – their deaths were used by the same administration, by the same Democrats in the Senate and the House that cried for “revenge” during the election as justification for draconian advances to an already draconian set of gun laws. While the words say these efforts are “for the children”, they truly benefit a government that seems hell bent in imposing a Marxist/National Socialist government on a people that have been ruled for over 200 years as a Constitutional Republic. It would appear that President Obama’s promise to radically change the direction of our country continues.

Under all of this ebb and flow of our nation’s political life, I have noticed an unsettling trend that began in the 60s and that only seems to be accelerating today – I seem to becoming an “enemy” of the state. (Didn’t they make a couple of movies about that??)

I was born in 1950 – to a father that was 16 years older than my mother, to a nation recovering from WWII and about to enter a new war in Korea and with future wars over a horizon not yet imagined. I was raised in a home where there were no televisions until I was six. My first show – on a black and white TV – was the “Lone Ranger”. And that was how the majority of America viewed things – Black or White, Good or Evil, Right or Wrong. Hillary Clinton is fond of the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” – I lived that. If I behaved badly the nearest adult “set me straight” – sometimes with a word, sometimes with an open palm. My mom was then notified and I received “further adjustment” when I returned home. That same community also loved me, guided me, and demonstrated what loving families looked like, the benefits of a religious life and what it took to provide a solid education. Black or White, Good or Evil, Right or Wrong – clarity.

By the late 60s many or our wheels began to come off. Hippies, flower children, “sex, drugs, rock and roll” – began to take its toll. Vietnam was raging and bodies were needed. Honestly, it never occurred to me not to enlist in the military. My uncles had served – I saw it as a duty for any citizen – I enlisted. And . . . . during the course of the next few years . . . . had my first experience with being an enemy . . . . both of the Viet Cong and NVA but also of a rising American citizenry that viewed the war with distain and defined each of us as “baby killers”. While I was fortunate enough to return home to a loving family and friends who genuinely welcomed me – far too many were not so lucky. They were met with bags of urine and feces as they returned to “the world” and deplaned. Protests raged across the nation – many lead by our prospective Secretary of State, John Kerry. While I settled into my routine at Ahn Khe – then war protestor Kerry held his Winter Soldier event confirming the worst – I was indeed a baby killer, prone to randomly firing into civilians and killing all in my path. As he clutched his fake awards and pitched them over the fence in front of the White House, my status as an “enemy” of America became more entrenched and defined. Vietnam Vets hunkered down, shrunk our footprint and did our best to remain invisible lest shouts of “baby killer” yet again ring in our ears.

The dream of a Marxist/National Socialist nation was continually pushed over the proceeding decades – for the children, for the poor, for the disadvantaged, for the forgotten . . . . and a nation that prided itself in the 50s for self-reliance, strong community and strong family rapidly morphed into society dependent on government grants, government assistance, government food, government regulation, government housing, government education, government protection . . . . and again I was seen as an “enemy” because I spoke out against the degradation of the American citizen, of our countryman’s ability to stand on their own two feet. I was called uncaring, insensitive, unloving, out of touch, racist, sexist, homophobic . . . . . and still the pace of conversation to a Marxist/National Socialist nation accelerates . . . .

Fast forward to today – to a nation with 15% plus unemployment, fully half our citizens pay no federal taxes, where an individual can collect more income from the government by sitting in front of a LCD flat panel, paid for by government money, in a government funded apartment eating food purchased by a government provided welfare check holding a newborn paid for by government healthcare and collect more money than a newly minted school teacher. This same constituency then cries that “rich people” who pay nearly 70% of all taxes collected are not paying their “fair share” And I see that yet again . . . . I am an enemy of the American people. Because I have worked hard, educated myself, began a company and have a firm belief that money earned actually belongs to . . . well . . . me. And still it continues . . . .

To Sandy Hook and the deaths of 20 beautiful children and their 6 teachers . . . .

And to where I stand today . . . .

I do not trust this government. They – AND I DO MEAN ALL OF THEM – have buried the country I love and the children and grandchildren I love in under a mountain of debt that seems to show no sign of slowing. They are currently in the midst of the largest US disarmament process in our nation’s history – we will soon be weaker than pre-World War I. They continue to intrude into areas our founders never meant for them to be – healthcare, family configurations, marriage, bedrooms, hospitals, schools – the list is nearly endless. Their level of intrusion verges on tyranny – where all work done is simply for the benefit of the state. It is slavery by every definition imaginable. And . . . . again I find I am an “enemy” of the American people because I resist these policies, I speak against them, I campaign against them and am told how “out of touch” , how uncaring I am, that I am simply racist. I’m one of those “right wingers” because I place the dignity of an individual over the welfare of the state.

Still, the Founders enumerated a core of 10 rights given to every human by God – not the state. They are clearly listed in our Bill or Rights. The first was freedom of speech and the right to worship the God of our choice. The second was the right to personal defense. We, as humans, were given that right by God – NOT the government. The founders also understood that the greatest threat to that freedom was the government that they were founding – and the Constitution was our road map to keep us on the “straight and narrow”. Should the wheels come completely off – the 2nd Amendment provided a means for the populace to correct that problem.

Nations without this basic right to personal defense have suffered greatly and their toll can be seen in the tens of millions of citizens killed by Germany, China, Russia, Uganda, Rwanda, Iraq, Iran, North Korea – slaughtered in the name of the advancement of the state and the state’s defense against “enemies” . . . . .

Which brings us to today – and the current debate about gun control. Our current administration and many Democrats in both the House and the Senate seem to be licking their chops in anticipation of finally being able to pass legislation so they can “get the guns” to make us all “safe” . . . . . just as the children of Sandy Hook were made safe from a mentally ill attacker by a sign, just as Gabby Giffords was made safe by a state refusing to lock up her attacker for mental issues because he had not committed a crime, just as the sign on the door the theaters in Aurora did not protect the movie goers from yet another mentally ill attacker. Our safety has nothing to do with this new push to “get the guns” . . . . it has everything to do with control.

I stare in true shock as my state’s “paper of record” prints an opinion piece calling for the declaration of the NRA – the nations very first conservation group, the group that trains most of our nation’s shooters and law enforcement – as being a terrorist organization and calling for the murder (yes, they called for the murder) of its members. I see this group, whose primary goal in life is to give shooters the “knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to safely handle their firearm” derided as the root of all gun evil. This is an organization I belong to and am a trainer for.

And . . . . again I find myself an “enemy”. This time though, in the event prospective laws being bantered about are actually passed . . . . for the first time I will truly be an “enemy of the state” for I will NOT submit to them. I am saddened to find this even on the horizon – I spent 21 years in the military defending my country and the Constitution, 30 years building a business, 35 years raising a family and 46 years with the woman I love. I have guided Boy Scouts, watched Eagle Scouts become officers in both the Army and Air Force, others become Rangers and good old grunts. I have attended church throughout my life and mentored new parishioners in their desire to become Catholics. I have lead conservation groups, shared wild places with folks who have never been out of their back yards. And, I have shared my passion for firearms with hundreds – helping to train them to be safe shooters, skilled in the use of their personal firearm. I have given them the skills necessary to defend themselves, their families and their friends.

And . . . . again . . . . I seem to be but a couple of votes and a signature away from being an official “enemy of the state”.

I’ve done what I could – called my Senators, called my Representative, talked to my state Senator and Representative, supported the NRA and state groups, written articles, posted on my blog . . . . . simply one small part of those that support the 2nd Amendment’s God given right for all people . . . .

I have fought true enemies . . . . . I remember the fear, the sounds, the chaos . . . . I remember the basics – good or evil, right or wrong . . . . I remember what it is like to commit 100% in an instant to defeat evil.

There are millions that share my views, that share my commitment . . . . .

I pray the reason and good sense prevail in this debate . . . .

. . . . you do not want me as your enemy.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Just the Basics – The Bolt Action Rifle


Ruger M77 7mm Rifle Nomenclature

The Barrel is the component that allows the bullet to exit the carbine after it is fired and adds a spin to the bullet to increase its accuracy.

The Muzzle is the region immediately at the end of the Barrel where the bullet exits.

The Fore Grip provides an area for the shooter to grasp the front portion of the weapon to assist in steadying if for a sturdy shot.

The Breech provides a port for loading the Magazine with fresh cartridges as well as acting as the ejection port while working the Bolt to eject a spent cartridge.

The Bolt acts as the ejection tool to remove a spent casing, the ram to insert a new cartridge into the chamber, it contains the Firing Pin which will fire the cartridge when the Trigger is pressed and it is part of the containment system to contain the energy of the cartridge and help force its gasses down the barrel and out the muzzle. The Bolt is manipulated by using the Bolt Handle. The Bolt Handle is lifted and the Bolt is move to the rear. This ejects a spent cartridge from the chamber. The Bolt is then shoved forward stripping a new cartridge from the Magazine and inserting it in the chamber. The Bolt is then pushed down, locking the Bolt in place.

The Trigger is the component that releases the firing pin.

The Trigger Guard is provided to protect the shooter from an unintended discharge due to clothing, brush or other item the Trigger may bump against.

The Stock provides three major weld points to the shooter’s body; The Comb is welded to the shooter’s cheek, the Butt Plate to the shooter’s shoulder and the Grip is firmly grasped by the shooter’s dominant hand.

Also located on the Stock are a Front Sling Point and a Rear Sling Point used to attach a portion of a weapon sling to carry the weapon easily on the shooter’s body. A Sling – typically a “Two Point” Sling - is used to hang the weapon from the shooter’s body.

The Safety prevents the Trigger from being pressed to the rear unless it has been released by the shooter. (NOTE: Safeties are mechanical devices and can fail!!!)

This particular configuration of the Ruger M77 incorporates a telescopic site to provide a solid sight picture at extended distances. Like any device, it has a specific set of vocabulary to describe its different components.

The Ocular Lens is that lens group that is closest to the shooter’s eye. The Eye Bell is the housing that contains the Ocular Lens group.

The Elevation Turret is used to adjust the bullet’s impact point either up or down. The Windage Turret is used to adjust the bullet’s impact point either left or right. A Saddle is used to marry these two adjustment groups together on the scope.

An Object Lens group is contained in the Objective Bell and is at the front end of the scope. A Tube connects the Eye Bell to the Objective Bell. Mounting Rings hold the Tube in place and mount it to the top of the rifle.

Training Course Reviews - NRA Basic Pistol Instructor Course 1-4-13 AAR


Phone Rings:

ME: Keller!

Darin: Bill? How ya doin’? Say, I’m doing a Basic Pistol Instructor Course – like to give me a hand?

ME: Sure! Give me the details . .. . . .

Dates are shared, plans are made . . . and this weekend – off I went!

The NRA Basic Pistol course is typically the first course new instructors choose to teach. Actually, in most cases, it’s the first course NRA course folks choose to take. And, like any “first”, how people view their experience will decide so many things – have they gained knowledge about handguns, will they be safe in their use, are they fearful of handguns, what is their view of the NRA after going through one of their courses, what do they think of the instructor and his team, will they ever take a NRA course again . . . .

The person directing these people, managing the course and actually teaching the NRA Basic Pistol Course is the instructor. A lot rides on this person’s shoulders! A lot WILL ride on the 14 new Basic Pistol Instructors I helped Darin train this weekend as well.

5 AM came early on Friday (1-4-13) and the alarm blared at me. In the car by 6AM and off to Ames, Iowa. I arrived at the Izaak Walton League chapter house by 8AM and toted my gear in. Darin had already set up the room so I put down my gear and waited for everyone to arrive. By 8:30AM all 14 . . . . let me say that number again – 14!!! . . . . folks arrived. Pretty diverse group . . . let’s see how many I remember. A youth pastor, BSA Explorer leader, IDPA shooter, police officer, Army reservist, couple young guys starting a new training company, person heavily involved in the shooting sports for disabled shooters, a photographer . . . . and more. All were shooters, many highly trained and a few were life-long shooters with little formal training. I knew it was going to be a great group!!

Each instructor candidate must complete a pre-course evaluation. If you are interested in the specifics, you can find it here. And, after brief introductions – the next 90 minutes were spent conducting the pre-course evaluation. Handguns were handled, explained, loaded and unloaded and a live-fire range exercise was conducted to make sure each instructor candidate passes the pre-course evaluation. In the event they do not, they can not continued in the class.  In that case they are typically refunded their money or they can be worked with to correct the things that need work and they could participate in a future course – remembering they would once again need to pass the pre-course evaluation at that time.  Everyone passed just fine and we were headed into the rest of the day!

Every instructor is required to take the Basic Instructor Training (B.I.T.) every two years. That course was our Friday. We started at 8AM with the pre-qualification evaluation and ended at around 9PM with the very beginning intro to the Basic Pistol Instructor Course. The rest of the time was spent on the B.I.T. course material. The NRA uses what they call the TPI – Total Participant Involvement method. What that means for instructor candidates is that they actually teach to the Instructors and fellow instructor candidates multiple elements of teaching basics during the B.I.T. portion and then virtually all elements of the Basic Pistol Course. For many, it’s their first experience of standing in the front of a room and actually teaching a new skill set or new information to a group people. It can be both intimidating and humbling. And, it is genuinely fun to watch.

The first presentation is always the introduction of a teaching partner – their name, personal and professional info and their shooting experience. They are given around 10 minutes to prep and then they move to the front of the room and each team, in turn, introduce their partner to the group. During these teaching times, the rest of the class roll-play “students” and typically ask way more questions than a standard class does. Some questions get pretty darn creative in fact! As I said – fun to watch.  These are traditionally “shakey”, no one feels like they have had enough time to prepare and there is a fair amount of discomfort on everyone’s part.  By the last day – in our case the last exercise they had to teach was the cleaning of a revolver and semi-automatic pistol – the assignments were given, a time limit on preparation of 5 minutes was given and virtually everyone said “I’m ready, can we just do it??” No prep-time, just taking the teaching material, clean kits and handguns and teaching.  It’s quite a transformation to watch!!

Each team’s exercise ends with an evaluation by the Instructors as well as the other instructor candidates. The “cookie” method is typically used – what did we really like – what could be improved – and one thing that was done really well. For those who have never spoken publically, never received feedback while standing in front of a group, never been publically criticized or praised – it’s an eye opening experience!

That is the basis of the entire course – and our Saturday, from 8AM to about 4PM. The entire Basic Pistol course is taught – safety rules, types of handguns and their major components and individual components, ammunition, shooting stance and grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger press, shooting first shots, cleaning the different types of handguns, range hygiene, shooting sports and other courses offered by the NRA. To say it is a full and intense day is simply an understatement.

Truly, everyone did great – again, very fun to watch.

Of course, there are always exams – in this case FOUR of them. There is the live fire pre-course qualification shooting exam, the actual NRA Basic Pistol Course exam, the Basic Instructor Course exam and finally the NRA Basic Pistol Instructor Course Exam. Instructor courses must be passed with a 90%. The Basic Pistol Course an 80% and they simply must pass the live fire course-of-fire as well. No simple feat by any means!

20 hours . . . . that is how much time these instructor candidates invested over the two days. Long, intense, focused . . . . and all were successful! As I have said before – very fun to watch!!

Thanks to everyone for all your hard work – you did a great job.

Bill with 1-4-13 pistol class

And thanks as well to Darin, for inviting me to team teach with him and for being one of the best in the business!!

Darin 1

Looking forward to the next one!!!