Thursday, December 8, 2016

Multiple Streams of Income

When talking with John Mosby during down time at class the group discussion hit on some other things. One of them was that our empire is deterioration. A sub set of that particular problem is the economy.

He mentioned to the group that we should be thinking about ways to diversify our incomes. One guy was high up in a big city fire department so his job was probably secure and I am in the military so my job (especially since President Trump was elected) isn't likely going anywhere. To the rest he said they should think about ways beside their normal job to earn some money.

I have been thinking about that myself.

A couple ideas come to mind.

First we have to consider when we are looking at this stream of income working. Do we want it to work now? Or are we angling for some sort of worst case scenario type thing?

Obviously a lot of stuff that could work now would not work in some worst case scenario, like say doing tax accounting part time or selling digital books on amazon. On the other hand lets say, as I am seriously considering doing, a guy takes up leather working. I could get really good at it and still not be able to meet the quality to price ratio of a lot of mass production shops like Bianchi or Galco. When a guy can get most imaginable items in 2-4 days on Amazon for a mass produced price how can I compete without being a legitimate master? I probably can't, especially when true professionals are a  phone call and a UPS package away. Now lets say our world got a lot smaller in a hurry. Like walking/ bicycle distance smaller. How many guys are going to be making custom holsters for whatever handgun people pull out of their closet in a 5 mile radius? Probably not many. Figure you do mag pouches and sheathes also and it could be a decent job.

The point I am getting at is to figure on when you are looking for the income then make a plan.

I pay a lot in child support but I also make good money. Not like my expectations or lifestyle are too fancy so stuff works out just fine for now. Still I don't like single points of failure.

So I want to have a couple other streams of income. Lets say 3. How much money do I want to make? Well I would like to make 500k a year. More realistically if I made somewhere between several hundred to a couple grand a month that would give me a lot of options. Even if my normal job fell apart somehow I would have something coming in. Maybe even enough to pay the no fail bills like power, fuel and food. On the high end of those figures I could even pay rent.

So how could I do this?

My first plan is to get the blog earning again. For a few reasons I plan to do it more on a commission basis than folks paying for advertising.

Writing. I have been writing fiction again. Hope to put a book out on Amazon in the first quarter of next year.

Also to ask you all a question. If I put together a nonfiction type work that is a mix of selected blog posts and some new stuff then charged say $5 for it would you all be interested? I'm definitely still framing this out in my head but it would give you my take on a lot of stuff in one place.

Both of those are in the works. If you have constructive ideas I would love to hear them. 





Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Realities of Defensive Conflicts

I have seen a couple good things recently and addressing them both at once seemed to make the most sense. The first is a post by Larry Correia “The Legalities of Shooting People"

The second is security camera footage of a real life defensive shooting in Brazil a few days ago. I will talk about them in order. This is intentional because legal realities affect our tactical options.
Larry Correia is not a lawyer. You should not consider his excellent post to be legal advice. I am definitely not a lawyer or in any way qualified to give legal advice. If you are making life and death decisions based on random crap you read on the internet from a guy who admits he is not a specialist in the area you are an idiot. 


That disclaimer aside Larry Correia’s post is excellent. Other people such as Massad Ayoob are probably more knowledgeable but the way this post explains the issue is clear and simple. If a normal person without a legal background were to read one document to understand the criteria for use of lethal force this may not be the absolute best document but they could certainly do a lot worse.
The Reasonable Man point is key. In the event of a shooting you will need to convince somewhere between a couple and a dozen plus people that your actions were in fact those of a reasonable man in order to not go to adult time out. 


The discussion of the breakdown on Ability, Opportunity and Jeopardy needs little addition. The only real point I would make is that if you are a healthy normal sized adult man (being loose with all those terms) convincing people you were in legitimate fear of your life from another normal sized man; who does not show a weapon and isn’t stomping you while your on the ground or slamming your head into something is not a situation I would want to be in. 


Hell George Zimmerman was getting the shit beat out of him and he, though ultimately (legally at least) was vindicated had a heck of a time. 


The point there is unless you are elderly (I mean real old like 70+), a woman or an actual midget there are violent situations that can occur where you will not be able to justify going to guns.
The article then starts talking about police use of force and to be honest shifted out of my area of interest. The first half or so is gold though.


In closing a point that a girl I used to date brought up after her CCW course came to mind. Taking a handgun out in a dangerous situation is a bit complicated because as we have learned from South Narc stuff and Street Robberies and You it is a lot better to get your gun out earlier instead of later. At the same time you can't just be whippping out guns or  pointing guns at people all the time. There is some ambiguity in situations where you might draw a handgun. When it comes to situations where you would shoot someone it is a lot simpler. The situations where you should shoot another human being in self defense are usually pretty clear cut. If you are in doubt that you should be shooting another person the answer is no you should not.

Next we have a video of an off duty Brazilian cop who was the victim of an attempted robbery. I find stuff coming out of South America particularly interesting as the level of crime in some areas is high, verging on completely ridiculous. Where it is now is also where we are generally headed as our country slips down to whatever state of collapse it will end up at.


The breakdown on The Firearms Blog is very good. My thoughts.
Mindset
The scenario of 2 or 3 goblins with guns is becoming fairly common. The old (3 shots, 3 yards, 3 seconds) conventional thoughts about self-defense are becoming less and less accurate. Since we want to prepare for violent conflicts today and TOMORROW, not a decade ago we need to consider this.


Also notice the bad guy’s waited until they were right on the cop to draw their guns. This is realistic. Bad guys aren’t going to take out weapons 50 yards away, or probably 10 yards away. They are going to get right on you. Like John Mosby said they will get close to you with some pretext like "Hey can I get a dollar" or "Can I borrow your phone?" to get close then the weapons will come out.


Coming back to the first point about legality. The time you are probably going to be justified in taking out your gun is probably (lots of scenarios and different thing can apply) when the bad guy takes theirs out so that means they will have the jump on you. Also they will probably be relatively close. 


Training:
This particular fight was close to but just outside contact range. Remember within a few feet the odds of a fight having a hand to hand component are high. As Tam says ‘You don’t have a gun, y’all have a gun.’


While partly a awareness/ mindset issue the time of getting your gun into action from the training side is based on your draw stroke to first shot. Faster is better. This is why you train for a reasonably fast draw.


The TFB post mentions the drill of 6 rounds at 6 feet in 6 seconds from the holster. Solid idea. It does not mention target size in the standard. My gut says that is a bit slow, especially for that distance.


Depending how far down this particular rabbit hole you want to go the case that a little .380 pocket pistol or ambiguous .38 snubby is not sufficient for this task can be made. This is certainly a complicated thing and I would prefer you carry a small gun to no gun but at least consider for some situations a small gun may not be enough. Filling one of the 2-3 armed men with bullets then running dry could leave them quite mad and you with an empty gun.


Certainly in a realistic violent encounter such as the one shown (as well as most potential scenarios) you need to be carrying a handgun where you can get it in a hurry. Basically this means on your waist or, while few if any serious instructors recommend them unless you are spending hours in the car, a readily accessible shoulder holster. This means that carry on ankles, in backpacks/ purses, fanny packs, in those under shirt holster things, etc are all no go’s. You aren’t going to be able to get to the damn gun in time. 


Reload, carry one. This is by far most important for lower capacity guns but depending on the level of risk a good idea in general. As my buddy Commander Zero put it a G19 is a snubby with 3 reloads. There is some truth to that statement. Still putting a reload in your pocket won't kill you. 


Anyway I think these are a couple things you should think about.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Clandestine Carry Pistol by John Mosby

I have talked about Clandestine Carry Pistol a couple times. First with an overview then with a roving discussion of speed vs accuracy.  I confess that a full and proper review sort of stalled out. Well John Mosby linked to my posts and had some comments to clarify things. I made some minor errors which is the nature of writing stuff down later.

Today I am going to be writing a proper review of Clandestine Carry Pistol with John Mosby. I will talk about the general flow of the class then get into the usual good, bad and ugly. There will be some redundancy but that is ok.

Again as this post comes from my notes and memory it is almost surely flawed in some ways. As my intent is more to share my impressions of the course than to give you some training POI the differences are probably not too important. So disclaimer if it sounds weird or dumb its my fault and mine alone. 

Day 1- Link up and move to training site. BS session and then safety brief. Relaxed and informal but very professional covering all the key points.

Began with forming a proper grip and slow deliberate fire at 3 yards. The goal was to keep every thing on the index card. Various individual issues were addressed. We gradually worked backwards to 10 yards. Individual students were mentored as needed while the group took breaks.

“Even height, even light, don’t disturb the sights with trigger press.”
Next we moved to multiple shots. We did this using a rhythm method and progressively getting faster.
One thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three, one thousand and four.
1 and 2 and 3 and 4
1,2,3,4 (spoken speed)
1,2,3,4 (spoken fast)

We were reminded to be aware of how fast we can shoot. If you can only accurately shoot at spoken 1,2,3,4 no point in going faster. Ditto distance.
Self awareness of your own level of capabilities was emphasized.

Next we moved into multiple targets. We used the same rhythm method. After last shot on target breaks move your eyes to the next target then the gun follows. It was emphasized to focus on the target you are on. Don’t stress the next one. Deal with the one you are on now.

In terms of prioritizing targets John said to shoot the most dangerous target first, until he isn’t the most dangerous then repeat as needed.
After that we closed with a roving conversation about gear, tactics and shooting.

Day 2
Draw. John teaches a 4 step draw stroke.
  1. Lift cover and grip gun
  2. Draw to chest retention (gun angled/ canted out)
  3. Hands together and finger on trigger
  4. Press out to shoot
This is, despite some slight individual variances, basically standard in the modern shooting community.Interestingly at CSAT with did a very similar draw stroke but not broken down into individual parts. Paul cited Army Marksmenship Unit studies that the artificial break down into parts slows things down. I can't say one is right or wrong, thats way above my level, however it is interesting to see differences in instruction. Johns method lets you shoot from position 2 which is pretty handy. I like that and it is my preferred method of shooting from retention.

We started drawing by the numbers.
Practice- 1 free then 2-4 by the numbers.
1-2 free then 3-4 by the numbers.



Then after everyone was in a satisfactory place we moved to draw and shoot.

Live (take 1x shot)
Do 1-3 by the numbers then 4 and shoot.
Do 1-2 by the numbers then 3-4 and shoot.


We tried to keep it to the index card.

Next we shot from retention.
The way John teaches you can shoot from position 2. Obviously you need to have your other hand out of the way. For training keeping it on your chest is sound. In practice it will probably be entangled with the shootee. We practiced this.

Then we drew to position 2, fired 2 rounds, took a step back, fired 2 from position 3 and then another step back and 2 from position 4. It was explained that in reality it was more likely we would be static and the other person moving.

John explained the movement through the drawstroke as freeway to city streets. You can go as fast as you safely can from 1-4 then you have to slow down enough to get the sights right and make the shot. Think of it like a long drive. Get on the freeway and put the hammer down. Then once you get off the freeway do the last couple blocks at an appropriate speed. Its 80 then 35 not 55 the whole way.

Next we talked about creating time. This was more conceptual and I may address it in a different post.
This was followed by reloads, admin and tactical. John had us use the slide release. He explained the sling shot idea (gross vs small muscle movement) is invalid because handgun shooting is inherently a small muscle skill. Also this is much easier to train on as the mag release reload works with an empty mag so you don’t need to mess with dummy rounds.

The last instruction on day two was briefly discussed hand to hand in the context of armed self defense. The goal was to protect your gun and then create space to employ it. This was basically a technique for surviving initial attack and closing with the opponent. Building a helmet with your arms and aggressively stepping in to collide with your opponent and achieve a clench.

We then ran through an iteration of easy live drill to try this.

That ended day 2. We had dinner that night which was nice.

Day 3 started with a warm of of drawing to 4 rounds on pace.
The main point of day 3 was decision making. We shot a lot of drills that make you think before and during shooting. This is a heck of a lot harder than it sounds.

We used Frank Proctors 3rd grade math.

Next we used what I’ll call the Mosby 1-5. 5 numbered targets in mixed order. You are shown a card with 3 numbers on it. You shoot the 1st one once, the second one 2x, the last number 3 times then put 4 rounds in the second number and 5 in the first.

Targets were set up in front of each other or at angles which necessitated movement. We messed with each other pretty successfully.

It is timed and only clean runs get a time. I think there was one clean run in the class.
We then began the AAR. It paused so we could shoot dots to work on trigger control. Next we talked about how the right answers for self defense could change in time if/ when America’s slide out of being an empire continues. We also covered a variety of different points and John answered a lot of questions.

That was, based on my memory and notes, what we covered in 3 days of Clandestine Carry Pistol.

Now to the good, bad and ugly.

Good:
All of the shooting instruction. John is an excellent instructor. Also he has a pragmatic way of looking at things. Instead of chest thumping and saying "We do it this way!" he is more likely to say "There are 2 valid methods to do this. I prefer method one because it offers the following advantages. Try them both and see which you prefer." When a student came up with an idea that was strait up stupid John would take the time to explain exactly why that idea was flawed.

We had a 5 minute demo on why SERPA holsters are a really bad idea. Hint, aside from maybe shooting yourself in the leg the catch can be jammed with mud, twigs or various junk making it so you can't get the darn gun out.

This course was realistic in that it dealt with how we will actually employ pistols as civilians in real life. That means from concealment, around civilians/ no shoot targets and with legal constraints. Use of force was not a huge topic though it came up on several occasions. The bottom line is that you are going to need to be able to convince a series of people that your actions were reasonable based on the scenario.

So much more good.

The Bad: I was let down in the close quarters/ hand to hand portion of the class. Definitely thought that piece was going to be a bigger part of the course. The little bit we did was decent enough stuff but not much and very basic. For anyone with a modest background in BJJ or wrestling it is not new territory. That said in the class only 2 of the students had any such background. So for me it was a bit disappointing but for them it was probably a lot to take in.

In fairness to John he explained in class does not feel especially qualified to teach an in depth piece on this. There are some folks with deep martial arts background who are already teaching this stuff. John seemed to feel his efforts would not necessarily bring real value to the arena so he just leaves it alone. Any guy who leaves money on the table (and classes are money) with other peoples best interest in mind has some real values.

I will be going back to that area to take a Cecil Birch class early next year. That should help me feel a bit better about the specific skill set in question.

The Ugly: The pre class administrative side of this class was not great. I found out about it on fairly short notice which complicated things a bit by making the timeline a couple weeks not a month or more. You don't know where the class is being conducted at or have a number to get ahold of him. Payment is by cash or USPS money order sent to a drop box. Still I did not know they had my deposit (which is basically fire and forget since its not like I can cancel a blank money order) I was good for the class until 2 days prior. People not being registered for a class till they put up money is pretty standard in training circles. That said with other guys you can call and ask if they got the check. Everything is done by email. In my case an email got lost in the web or missed, which happens. This is why we always preach to avoid single points of failure for communications. I believe people have taken the time and traveled for classes in the past but due to some sort of admin issues not been able to attend.

For an event that occupies days of time, requires travel and costs a few hundred dollars, several hundred dollars after expenses this is not very satisfactory.

John is non banked (no bank accounts) and understandably has personal security concerns. That complicates things considerably. Still though.... I really don't want to be harsh but there simply has to be a better way to manage this, probably without much more effort on his part. Maybe he could keep a burner phone for training courses and turn it on in town a couple times a week and check for messages. Maybe a pre class webinar type thing a week out to get everyone on the same page and deal with nagging admin issues.

Overall impression. Take the class. You will get a ton out of it.

Various notes:

As John mentioned almost the entire class shot AIWB with Glocks. The group in general were in the beginning range in terms of legitimate tactical training and such. Mostly gun guys but not a lot of formal training. Over the class there were several hundred rounds fired and probably a hundred draws per student. Nobody shot their dick off. Nobody came close to shooting their dick off.

It can be easy to get fixated on training for yesterdays threats. The classic one guy, 3 yards, 3 shots, 3 seconds. Todays threats may say that two guys are more likely. This means we need to shoot faster and carry a gun with more bullets. Tomorrow we could be facing larger groups of armed men or beatings by mobs of BLM type thugs as less than an occasional thing.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Various Thoughts

Hey Folks, I'm not dead.

I have been trying to refocus on fitness/ health, jiu jjitsu and dry fire. The core of my survivalist individual skills. That has been occupying a lot of my time and energy this week. I am trying hard to refocus. Also I have a class coming up in January to get ready for. It will challenge my combatives skills and fitness so I want to do my best to get ready.

For fitness I am going to be focusing on endurance for awhile. A friend wants to do some races this winter/ summer so I need to get working on that. Also it is as good a goal as any. A marathon is probably on my bucket list anyway.

I realized that maybe I need a handgun in between the Glock 19 and the Ruger LCP. I end up carrying the LCP a lot which is probably not ideal. Recently carrying a borrowed air weight J frame I noticed I could carry it appendix in most of my normal clothing. It vanishes under a normally fitting T shirt. I would get an S&W with an exposed hammer and try some different grip options to get the right balance of concealability and shootability.

Potential candidates beside a .38 would be the Glock 26 or a Walther PPK. I am going to borrow and experiment with both in coming weeks. I am open to your thoughts here. No urgency as the weather is rapidly cooling so I can just wear a sweatshirt or loose ish flannel type shirt which will hide anything. The easy days of CCW are getting to be upon us.

I am looking hard at purchasing a new (to me) vehicle. Probably a Toyota FJ Cruiser. If you have personal experience with them please share.

Recently I put together a plate carrier as part of my home defense set up. May talk more about that later.

The only up side of this post election rioting light is the darn clowns seem to have calmed down.

Sort of like Zero and I both said. I am not sad I bought the stuff I did for the election. Now I have it. I can't see a situation where 5.56 ammo, Glock or AR mags get cheaper than they are today so it is all good.

So what is coming up in the next couple weeks on the blog.

A post or two about the Mountain Guerilla Clandestine Carry Pistol course.

A post on realistic vs fantasy worst case scenarios.

A post on multiple streams of income.

A post on my home defense gear set up.

A fighting load post.




Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Post Election Hangover

This was an interesting election cycle. The lack of panic was oddly palatable. Paw Paw and Tam both talked about it. I think there are two main reasons for this. In general people with the money and desire have been panicking pretty hard for at least an election cycle, two if they are old enough. Also well the real economy in our country is hosed and inflation have made it so many people are worried about a kid who keeps jumping clothes sizes and grocery bills. They don't have much spare money for anything.

I made some significant purchases in preparation for this election. Built a spare AR, bought 2 cases of 5.56 and 20 ish each AR and Glock mags. Yesterday, obviously early I personally urged two people to get some more mags for their handguns and have at least some ammo on hand.

Now it is very unlikely any sort of ban will happen. Do I regret my purchases or actions?

NO!!!

NOT AT ALL!!!

I mean I didn't do anything crazy like do that stuff on a credit card I couldn't pay off. I did what I could with the money I had.

I don't regret it at all. Why? I bought stuff I can use and wanted. Probably front loaded my gun related purchases for at least a few months. The way I look at it now I have more time.

In the short to mid term since I front loaded a lot of gun stuff my next quarter or so's purchases will likely be non gun stuff. I need to round out some other gear and want one of those new FLIR scouts.

In gun stuff I am going to build an AR pistol. Yeah I did that before but saw a couple game changers. Got to handle a sweet one that probably cost 3 grand. Mine won't be that fancy but I am taking the core ideas from it.

In the long run I am probably going to get into the AR-10 game. I messed up when I got the FAL. If I keep it or sell it is an open question.

Politically I am neutral about this whole thing. The only real up side is President Trump does not want war with Russia. That means the odds they will drop our power grid and things will go all One Second After are substantially lower. Gives me a few more years to get my stuff together.



 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Speed vs Accuracy

This post has been floating around in my head for awhile. I am thankful I did not write it earlier as the Clandestine Carry Pistol course heavily shaped my viewpoint on the matters at hand. I want to talk about speed and accuracy as they relate to practical shooting. By practical I suppose I mean shooting in the context of self defense and maybe hunting where accuracy and speed have to be balanced. This differs from more esoteric niche sports or just plain old plinking. First let us talk about speed. There is a fairly fixed reaction time a person has. The amount of time between when their brain says shoot and their finger pulls the trigger. 

In Johns class we tested this with a shot timer. With the gun ready we timed how long it took for us to pull the trigger. Just plain make the gun go bang downrange. Mine was like .21-.22, that was somewhere in the mushy middle of the averages. Sure you could game that by getting more used to shooting on the beep and maybe improve times a little bit but that doesn’t matter. The point is that there is absolutely no way I could shoot faster than that time. That is my absolute max for speed. 

Then there is accuracy. With more time people don’t have to rush and can be deliberate. Of course they can actually shoot worse by overthinking it but lets ignore that for now. At some point relative to the given shot you intend to take (a 10m shot with a pistol takes less time than a 1k shot with a rifle) we will not be more accurate with more time. We reach our maximum ability level for that given task. If a guy had say 2 minutes to shoot 5 rounds at an index card 10 meters away he has plenty of time. He likely won’t shoot better if he has all day to do it. We can call this our absolute max for accuracy. So we have our absolute max for speed on one side and our absolute maximum for accuracy on the other. At absolute max speed my accuracy was minute of dumpster at 10 meters. At maximum accuracy I am pretty slow. Now we have one variable left to talk about. Target size/ distance. The target size/ distance matters a lot here. It matters because it dictates how precise we have to be in terms of accuracy. Thus by controlling accuracy the target size/ distance really dictates how fast we can.

Example- Our friend Paw Paw does Cowboy Fast Draw shooting. Per the CDFA website they shoot at a 24” circular target centered 50” off the ground at distances between 15-21 feet. This target is pretty forgiving in terms of accuracy so the times are crazy fast. A quick look says at a national level the top 16 men were all under .358. That is smoking fast. Part of the reason these guys can get times like that, aside from naturally good reactions and a ton of practice is they are shooting at a frickin huge target. They are shooting one handed from the hip and obviously not using sights. If the targets were changed to say a 6X13 vital zone you would see times slow down. If it were changed to a 3x5 index card you would see times slow down. Or you would see the rate of misses rise. That brings us to the next point. How much accuracy do you need? It obviously varies situation to situation. The amount of precision needed to make a hundred yard pistol shot on an A zone target at 3 meters is very different than at 30 let alone 100 meters. Lets say there is an urgency factor throughout practical shooting so we can ignore that. The two factors that come to mind for me are what we are shooting at and the consequences of missing. Smaller (or further away) targets require a higher degree of precision that bigger ones. 

I can personally get away with being relatively sloppy shooting drills at a 6X13 or an IPSC A zone which is about 6x11. I can really just use the front sight and be quick, which for me means a bit jerky, on the trigger and still get consistent hits. To shoot at a 3x5 index card I need to really use my sights and deliberately squeeze the trigger. If I am shooting the dot drill I need to be even more precise. 

The other consideration is the consequences of a miss. If you miss in a competition it hurts your score or maybe you lose. If you miss shooting at tweety bird well you miss tweety bird. These situations encourage you to take a questionable shot because there really isn’t a down side. If you miss a shot in a self defense situation you might smoke a round into some little kid on the next block. 

Aside from obviously practicing to improve your capabilities the most important thing is awareness. Knowing how much you can push speed (and sacrifice accuracy) while still making the shot is huge. No point in shooting faster than you are actually able, and missing. In a civilian self defense context this is dangerous and not acceptable. On the flip side since time matters knowing how much you can get away with to put lead to face and end the problem gives you a better chance of having the best possible outcome. 

I think that’s all that comes to mind now. If I have any further thoughts on the topic I will edit this or do a follow up as appropriate.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mountain Guerilla Clandestine Pistol: #1 Overview

This weekend I was fortunate to be able to attend John Mosby AKA Mountain Guerillas Clandestine Carry Pistol Course.

I wanted to go back to CSAT this year but with the travel time and expense it was not very realistic. I was going to take a local course but after doing the intro I wasn't very impressed. It was definitely old guy wannna be Jeff Cooper stuff. Not bad per se but very dated. Then I saw the Clandestine Carry Pistol offering in north east MO and jumped on it. Fortunately everything worked out OK and I was able to attend.

I am going to make a big fat disclaimer that everything said about this course is from my memory and notes. Not trying to put words in Johns mouth or say there are quotes here. If something sounds weird or stupid or wrong any fault is entirely my own.

The class goals were as follows:
1- Hit what you aim at.
2- Make rapid good decisions under stress.
3- Draw your pistol under realistic conditions.
4- Defend your pistol and fight to employ it.

 This course was different from CSAT's Tactical Pistol Operator Course and probably most other comparable tactical type handgun courses in a couple of significant ways.

First the accuracy standard was significantly higher. The goal is head shots on demand at realistic pistol ranges (Say 10-15 meters). We shot at index cards the entire time (mostly 3x5 and occasionally [think we ran out of 3x5's] at the end 4x6) to replicate the vital zone in the head. This was done for a three reasons. First the realistic chance that a person is either wearing an SVEST in which case punching a round into their torso is a bad idea. Second the in my opinion much more probable chance they are wearing body armor. Third is the classic aim small and miss small.

This was a significant difference from my CSAT experience where we shot predominantly at a 6x13 vital zone. Suffice to say this is a big difference. Also that I have been slacking on my training was a factor. I blew a lot of shots initially because I was relatively speaking jerking the trigger and rushing to get better times. That got slightly better over the class. Honestly I think I figured out the trigger piece shooting the dot drill at the very end of class.

Why is this different from other classes? Some of it is conceptual and some of it is about the fact that shooting at small targets is well humbling. Considering a large portion of running training classes is getting people to feel good and want to come back this is not a move calculated to be popular. John doesn't give a crap. He says the unpopular thing because it is what he believes. This is consistent throughout Johns methodology and teaching.

My personal belief is this is valid. You need that capability. Whether you should shoot for the head or not is context dependent. Obviously an S vest or body armor dictate a head shot. For a meth head in a t shirt bullets in the sternum are probably just fine.

The other way this class is different is that we shot EVERYTHING from concealment. I think this is totally valid in the context of this course and realistically any handgun training. Excluding law enforcement who carry openly I think this is the right answer for everybody. Why, well that is how the vast majority of us carry handguns. The only real exception would be home defense and that is mostly going to start with the gun in your hand anyway as it was either on your belt or cached somewhere. So doing all draws and reloads from concealment is the right answer.

Why don't other classes do this? Like the 3x5 card accuracy standard this is not mirrored throughout the training world. Seeing guys wearing big ole paddded 'war belts' and OWB duty type rigs is quite common. One class I looked at taking did not even allow IWB holsters! First it adds a layer of complexity. You need to clear the cover garment for every draw or reload. You need to clear it to reholster.Second and I think more significantly it makes peoples performance as measured by time worse. How much time it adds to your draw could certainly be debated but probably .2 of a second or so. When instructors want students to feel like they improved (so they want to come back)having them get times that make them happy is a big deal. Sammy Seal got my draw to first shot down to 1.XX makes a guy happy and want to come back. Getting a slower time is well not going to make people feel as good. The last reason I think other classes have people using LEO/ military type set ups is what John so nicely calls 'ballistic masturbation'. People want to wear cool guy gear, shoot a lot of bullets, be told they met a standard and get a certificate. I'm not knocking anyone getting training but the 'tactical dude ranch' angle is definitely there. You can take classes where you will shoot from helicopters and do fake ass tactical missions. There are probably worse ways to spend your money but saying shooting a rifle from a helicopter is in any way applicable to my life as a non helicopter owning person is ridiculous. This is another way John Mosby's course is in my opinion very realistic and practical for a normal guy who carries a gun to defend himself.

I am going to do at least two more posts on this topic. The first will be a discussion of accuracy as it relates to time and distance. The second will be an overview of the course material, what I learned, etc. After that I have at least one or two posts in my head that come more from discussions we had in down time BS sessions.

 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Organizational Fail- Where the Heck is My 9mm Ball Ammo?

Writing about our failures is never fun. It is always more fun to talk about a cool new toy or something awesome we did. This is not one of those posts.

I needed 500 rounds of 9mm ball ammo today. The reason will be clear later,  that isn't what this post is about. I went to the first place I thought I would find 9mm ball ammo in quantity and it wasn't there. Went to the next place and it wasn't there either. Went back to the first place and really looked.

I thought for a second and went to a third place where I found a can of 9mm ball. Winchester white box from probably 2008. Good solid ammo. Wish they had prices on them to show what I paid.

Anyway this was a big ole ball of fail.  The bottom line is I currently have serious organizational issues beyond the home defense set up level. Access to ammo  isn't a realistic problem it is just a canary in the coal mine. We talked about ammo which I am not really concerned with. In my bedroom I think there are 5 loaded AR  mags between my fighting load (hd) and a sort of active shooter bag. Also at least 3 spare glock  mags. That more than meets any home defense needs I could possibly have.

My stuff both preparedness and otherwise needs to get better organized.  I really don't have any excuse except laziness for not doing this. Currently I don't have anything big going on for most weekends so I could easily put in 3-4 hours 2 days a week working to fix this. Just need to get off my ass and do It.

So what are my goals:
1- MOP-After this weekend which is busy I want to spend st least 6 hours a week (probably on the weekend) on sorting and organization.  The girl I'm seeing works weekends so I have the time. I plan to do this until the organization is done.
2- MOE- Within 30 days have full fighting load, bob and bug out stuff separated, organized and ready to go.
3- MOE Within 60 days have all prearedness related stuff organized.
4- MORE- Within 90 days have all of my various possessions organized. Donate a lot to good will, unneeded camping stuff to local Boy Scouts or survivalists,, sell some stuff and organize the rest. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Glock 19 for the Win!

Weapons Man wrote a seminal article on why SOF forces have almost universally transitioned to the Glock 19 (with one exception who may still be shooting .40S&W) as their go to war hand gun. I agree with everything he says. However I do have some potentially redundant thoughts of my own.
The Glock 19 is obviously a Glock. For the uninitiated it is on their ‘compact’ frame and chambered in 9mm. We will briefly talk about each of those characteristics.
Glock pistols:
-Reliable. They are pretty much the gold standard in reliability for handguns. They perform well under adverse conditions with minimal maintenance. You might argue a SWAT Blaster 900 is equally reliable but finding one that is more reliable is going to be difficult at this time.
-Repairable. They can be repaired by a non expert with a single punch and true drop in parts.
-Long life. These guns can put a whole lot of rounds down range without serious damage. (particularly in 9mm, .40S&W Glocks actually have some issues here.)
-Price. They are very affordable pistols.
-Ease of use. Easy guns to learn and shoot well.
-Commonality. If people make a holster they make it for Glocks, ditto sights, etc all. If a store sells gun stuff they have Glock stuff.
Compact size:
-About the largest size handgun a normal sized person can conceal with minimal hassle. I didn’t say no hassle. Personally I think people who believe they are concealing a Glock 19 under a normal sized t shirt are probably unaware or being dishonest with their selves. Maybe they can from one angle standing still but moving and doing normal life tasks not so much. To actually hide the gun a pair of pants that will allow the gun to be carried IWB and a larger shirt are going to be needed.
-Best all-around option. If you want to balance shooting (either recreationally or for defense) and concealed carry this is probably the sweet spot for most people. So if a person was going to have one handgun with them to do a couple different things this size is the way to go.
9mm:
-It works. With modern defensive ammunition the difference between any of the common defensive calibers (9mm, .40S&W, .45acp) is mental masturbation. Sorry folks, I really don’t care what Jeff Cooper said 30 or 40 years ago, it is true.
-More bullets. It will probably give you 2 more bullets than .40S&W and 3+ more than .45acp in the same sized gun. More bullets is better.
-More controllability. Better for smaller and weaker people. Also this means faster follow up shots for everyone.
-Commonality. If a place sells bullets they will have 9mm. Compared to the other 2 options it’s at least slightly more common. This is more important for international types as .40S&W and .45acp are not going to be common elsewhere.
Note: The primary difference between the Glock and the various competitors (S&W, Ruger, etc) in favor of Glock is going to be reliability and commonality. You might not be able to get mags/ parts/ accessories for a Ruger SR9 or those new FN pistols but the gun shop will have Glock mags.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Black Swan Fixation

John Mosby recently wrote an excellent post. In his opening paragraph one part really spoke to me. He said something to the effect that survivalists spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy preparing for black swan type events that are statistically and historically unlikely. He referred to the general trend of focusing on these events at the expense of much more likely events as ‘semi conscious’

I want to delve deeper into this topic. There are two related questions that I will try to discuss. First why do people focus on black swan type events. Second why do people ignore or fail to seriously prepare for more likely events.

Before I get started the saying “If you are prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse/ TEOTWAWKI you are prepared for anything” is going to come up. If the appropriate layered planning and logical progression was used maybe that is true. Still we have finite resources and energy to contend with. For all but the largest budgets a lot of choices made for the very unlikely scenario can leave you will a less than firm plan for far more likely scenarios. Agree or disagree lets ignore this saying for the rest of the discussion.

To the first question of why we spend disproportionate energy and resources on unlikely black swan events. A list seems most appropriate:

-Doomer Porn. Yes I think people enjoy reading (hell I am guilty and part of the problem myself as a blogger) about fantasy situations. We day dream during boring or unactive times, it is just people. Everyone day dreams about the cute guy/ girl who we see repeatedly in our everyday lives. This is a non sexual version of the same thing. In the same way that sexual fantasies ignore stuff like the other person not being interested in us or doing whatever the fantasy involves doomer fantasies skip the associated realistic limitations.It is an escape from reality and form of entertainment.

-Marketing. There are people who make a living selling stuff that you will only really need in very unlikely situations. Ten year food supplies, fifty caliber rifles and radiation detector sets for normal ish folks and intentionally built BUG OUT VEHICLES or survivalist bunker retreats for the really well healed. People selling things will inevitably try to convince you that you need their things. These people advertise in magazines and with websites such as mine.

-Justification of purchases. People will conveniently find a way to convince their selves they need stuff they want ‘to be prepared’. One guy who I would describe as a fairly average suburban survivalist type had three, not one, not two but three motorcycles for SHTF.

-Justification of lifestyle. The homesteading movement and survivalism come together in complicated ways (which I might write about later) but people sometimes use very unlikely situations to explain why and where they choose to live. I am not saying there are not benefits to homesteading or rural living. There are many benefits. I would however submit that in reality people should move to a rural area or start homesteading because they want to do those things, not because they feel they should just in case of a very unlikely event.

-Confirmation Bias. All of your like minded friends worrying about the same thing for the same iffy reasons makes you think everyone independently came to the same conclusions and as such many sources proved the same thing.

-Elitism/ bragging. A rapper might have a gold chain that costs a hundred thousand dollars. A preparedness oriented person who wants to show off their wealth might build a fancy bunker. 

Reasons for fail to seriously prepare for more likely events:

-They are scary. John noted this in his post. The idea of dealing with violent crime in the real world today in say the parking lot of a grocery store with your family is very different than some fantasy of shooting people with your Super Blastomatic 9000 like some first person video game. Defending the bridge with your buddies against the unprepared masses is different than 3 Jihadi's with AK's at the mall.

-Reality still exists. Some degree of our economic system will still exist. You will still have bills. If you are fortunate enough to have a job you will still be going to work. Your favorite brand of political philosophy is not going to be immediately adopted. Government is still going to exist in some form or another.

-Effort vs stuff. Often, especially when we talk about self defense the answers involve work. They involve training and regular practice with your CCW set up. They involve physical fitness and combatives training. Lifting weights takes effort. Getting off your butt and practicing in legitimately useful combatives takes effort and costs money. All of these efforts can be seriously humbling. More guns in your safe for SHTF time won't make you safer. Working on your own capabilities with your body and the gun you carry will make you safer.

-Not sexy. Often the right answers of realistic preparedness can be less fun. Your need for a savings account (maybe in silver and gold if that is your thing) is significant but it is not fun. It isn't a safe full of rifles or an excuse to buy more tactical gear or anything like that.

There are probably some more ideas but I think this covers the general themes. I hope it gives you something to think about that can help improve your own preparedness efforts. This is more philosophical than useful which is my general desire here. I may follow up with some more concrete suggestions that fit into this theme.


Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Stash Guns- Man Vs Zone

Paw Paw and Tamara talked about this awhile back. I have been meaning to address it for some time.

While I don't disagree with them I look at the issue a bit differently. Given the people I am disagreeing with one might go as far as to say I am wrong. I don't really care.

When it comes to guns in the home we have two fundamental options. To steal basketball language they are Man and Zone.

Man would be the gun is on you. This works great if you legitimately do it all the time. Also if you have a small number of handguns (like 1) or little kids in the house this is really the only way to go. It also will give the bestest/ fastest deployment times. The rub is many if not most people will not do it consistently. Either they get home and take off their clothes to put on comfy stuff or they want to get that heavy gun off their hip.

One interesting option here is to have a small, LIGHT, little piece to carry around home. The Ruger LCP and all manner of light weight J frame .38's come to mind here. This is nice because it is also a good low profile carry piece as well as a 'run to the corner store for a quart of milk' gun. My LCP fits this role.

Tangent. While there are certainly other valid options the LCP has a lot going for it. Prices have come down so they are commonly in the $250 range at local gun shops and 220ish online. At that price it is easy to justify owning one. I am planning to get a spare myself. End tangent.

Recognizing this natural laziness the zone plan is an option. Say a gun in the living room, one conveniently stashed by the front door, whatever. In a normal average house smartly stashing 3-4 pistols means you are always pretty near one.

A real belt and suspenders approach would be to do both. That way you have one on you all the time but for the occasional walking to the bedroom in a towel moments there is coverage.

Whatever plan you choose just have it in place. Be prepared to defend yourself with lethal force at a moments notice in your home at all times.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Vehicle Gear #1 A Conceptual Discussion

Our recent post Urban E&E/ Get Home Kit got me thinking about this. It also works conveniently because that is the current push in my personal preparations. My initial goal was to beef up the first aid kit there but I decided it was as good a reason as any to re look all the stuff in my vehicle.

I say 'all the stuff' instead of implying it is a cohesive system because there are multiple somewhat independent systems in play instead of one large system. This is complicating for at least three reasons. First because we have to figure out what all we want this stuff to do. Second instead of being sub systems we really end up with different systems that live in the same place instead of say sub systems in a larger cohesive system. Third we have to be cognizant of unintended redundancy/ duplication between the largely independent systems that live in the same place.

In a most basic sense the stuff in our vehicles can be broken down by vehicle stuff or people stuff.

Vehicle stuff would be spare fluids, tire and jack, tools for basic repairs, etc. Depending on your automotive skill set, vehicle reliability and access to repair assistance this could be a little or a lot. If you have some skills and drive a less than reliable vehicle on empty roads a lot a very comprehensive kit would make sense. On the other end of the spectrum a not so handy person with a new ish car might just have jumper cables, a spare tire/ jack, a couple road flares, some fluids and a few basic tools.

People stuff is a bit more nebulous. Personally mine is roughly broken down to the following:
Overnight bag-  A change of clothes, sleeping gear, shoes, toothbrush, etc. Alternate title is 'ho bag'.
First aid- A mix of emergency first aid trauma stuff with everyday type things like band aids, pepto, aspirin etc.
Get Home Bag- Kind of a bug out bag that lives in my car.


Misc- There is some stuff in there that defies ready categorization. For instance a ziplock bag with a spare Glock mag, 50 rounds of 9mm, probably some .22lr an maybe even a .38 speed loader.  Also a set of bolt cutters and a big ole crow bar. I could arguably say it is part of one of the 4 general systems I laid out but I don't really care to.

There are other plausible systems a person could have. They might have a long gun with ancillary stuff or a robust wilderness survival set up. Folks who are often in wild places in cold winters need a sleeping bag, heavy coat, gloves, hat, boots, etc. Nothing else comes directly to mind but other options could certainly exist.

Now we have to talk about constraints. What are the constraints to stuff we keep in vehicles.
-Space. Obviously less of an issue if you drive a full sized truck with a canopy or a Suburban but more problematic in say a little sports car. In any case space is still finite and using it for emergency and preparedness stuff competes with your normal everyday use.
-Cost. If you need to purchase stuff for these systems it obviously costs money. If you pull stuff from elsewhere it is a loss there. Anyway stuff costs money.
-Risk of loss. Vehicles get broken into regularly. An awesome bug out bag with all the coolest gadgets like night vision, FLIR, sat phone, cash and weapons could easily cost several thousand dollars. For all but the richest the loss of that would be very hurtful. 

My intent is to look at all of these systems. First alone and then together. I intend to do posts on each of them.

Your input is welcome now and later if/ when I do future posts on the topic.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Urban E&E/ Get Home Kit

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cash As A Survivalist Tool

I don't think we put enough emphasis on cash.

I carry a knife and a lighter and a gun pretty much all the time. I use the knife and lighter for everyday tasks but the gun just kinda sits around. Odds I need a couple hundred bucks cash all of a sudden are probably higher than needing the gun.

If we look at realistic emergencies that are likely to befall us most of them will go a whole lot better with cash. Are we more likely to need a few hundred bucks during a regional disaster or a dozen buckets of wheat? Sorry folks but it is the cash.

Of course everything needs to be in proportion to your life. For an average guy a couple hundred bucks in his wallet, a few hundred in his BOB/ GHB and several hundred or more (say a months cash expenses) in the safe at home is realistic and covers a lot of bases.

Those numbers were for an average type income. For a lower income person cut those amounts in half. For a person with higher income and expenses add more money accordingly.

In most realistic situations cash is the way you will buy the goods and services you need.

Someone is inevitably going to say "cash will be worthless in a hyperinflation scenario so I use precious metals/ beads/ etc all". This person is ignorant. First because you aren't going to be able to readily trade those things in MOST REALISTIC SCENARIOS. Second of all cash is essential in the beginning of that type of situation, read some FERFAL. You just spend it. Third we are talking about a relatively small amount of money. Say add it all up and maybe a months income. If you wanted to keep however much gold and silver put back with the cash I would say that is fine.

Got cash?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Movie Night: Range 15 For The Win

Check out a review here. Definitely adult language and sexual content. If you are ok with that it is a hilarious movie that in many ways catches the modern veteran and shooting/ gun enthusiast groups.
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