Showing posts with label firearms training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label firearms training. Show all posts

Monday, July 20, 2015

Be The Hero of Your Own Movie


PT this morning- Sprints. Not sure how many as I did not count. It's been awhile since I did sprints so it shook things up.
Dry fire-
Gear- Glock 19 withBlade Tech AIWB holster.
Drill- 1 shot from concealment.
Par time- 1.5 seconds.
Extreme low- 1.3
Extreme high- 2 seconds
Average 1.4-1.6.

Overall this session sucked. I really didn't feel good about it. Hopefully tomorrow will be better but at least I did it so that is something.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Larry Vickers Bans AIWB in His Courses and General AIWB Safety Discussion

Larry Vickers banned AIWB for his courses.

He cited safety as the reason as well as the varying levels of experience in open classes and the numerous times a pistol is drawn and holstered in a class.

I am neutral about this. I am absolutely for appendix carry but since I have no plans to attend a class with him it does not affect me. [Note I am not saying anything bad about LAV or his classes. So to me this is the equivalent of a gas station in Maine, where I do not live and may never go, stopping carrying my favorite type of beer. It just doesn't matter at all. I suspect he is a good instructor and if I was in the market for a specific type of class and he offered it in the area I would seriously consider that as an option.]

As counter points I feel it is important to note a couple things.

First if you read the Must Read Info Before Attending a Vickers Tactical Class info it is pretty specific about a whole lot of things. Among other things it urges students away from whole sweeping classes of firearms. Now I am not saying any of that advice is bad, in fact I agree with most of it. The point I am making with this is to put this new addition to the 'rules' into perspective. It's not like Vickers Tactical is completely cool with everything but just not appendix carry.

Second at least two of LAV's contemporaries Paul Howe and Kyle Lamb reportedly carry Glock 26's AIWB in kydex clip on holsters. Paul used his G26 in an AIWB holster for a portion of the Tac Pistol Course and for his personal CCW. I have seen videos of Kyle talking about his. Also if I recall he was involved in the design of the Blade Tech holster I currently have.

Paul Howe briefly addressed this in his monthly newsletter "At least one prominent instructor has banned the use of the inside the waist band appendix carry. Long story short, it can be done safely. Use a kydex one that does not collapse when the weapon is drawn. Also, look at the holster when you are putting it away if there is a doubt. It is the most visible holster to see when re-holstering.
 
Also our friend and SOF veteran  John Mosby carries a Glock 19 AIWB. 


All that aside this brings up an interesting series of questions:

1) Is appendix carry safe?

2) Is appendix carry of a modern striker fired handgun (Glock, M&P, etc) safe?

 These are of course just my personal opinions.

1) Is appendix carry safe. Yes. Though it is arguably less forgiving of mistakes than other methods.

Honestly the primary issue here is that us dudes get freaked about the idea of the gun being pointed at our dick. It is a psychological barrier because well, we really like them.  Some guys simply cannot get past it. Personally it took a lot of research, a bit of experimentation and lots of reflection for me. Eventually the significant benefits AIWB offers in control/ retention and draw speed outweighed the downsides of some negligible (because I use a good holster and keep my booger picker off the bang switch) added risk and that it is certainly noticeable when sitting.

Most ways people carry a gun leave that gun pointing at an important part of the human body. Tight fitting (really everything except those huge Serpa and I think G Code holsters which are bulky modular jobs that snap on to a panel and stick out like 4 inches) holsters around the waist invariably leave the pistol canted at an angle towards the body and there is lots of important stuff in the upper thigh. Pocket carry leaves the gun pointed at the inner thigh which has that same big ole artery in it.

The thing about this is guns in holsters are safe. Tamra has made this point many times. For this reason I specifically lean to stiff leather or some sort of kydex/ plastic holsters these days. A gun in a holster will not go off. Now from a practical standpoint as Tam has noted it is a sound idea to do as little fiddling with your heater as possible. [I keep my carry handguns in their holsters all the time. I can slip the LCP in my pocket or put the G19 (though it is in house gun mode most of the time now due to the sauna like conditions down here) on and go. Get home, take off the holster and put the whole combo away. Every couple weeks I take them out for a wipe down and touch of oil. It is easy.]

Drawing should not be a concern as you should keep that nose picker away from the bang switch till it is at least in both hands.

Re holstering is the problematic part. The thing is 1) If you are re holstering time is not a big factor. and 2) If things get twisted up or whatever just take the darn holster off, put the gun back in it then put the whole safe setup back in your pants.

I will note that various super minimalist setups like the Raven Vanguard 2 are probably not a good way to go for newbies.

2) Is appendix carry safe with modern striker fired handguns? If your trigger discipline is solid then yes. If you have say been carrying DA revolvers forever and might be a bit loosy goosy on trigger discipline relying on a heavy pull to cover that problem then no. This played out over the 90's and early 00's when various police departments switched from revolvers and DA handguns with external safeties to Glocks. A string of bullet holes in department locker rooms, police cars, bathrooms and even officers followed in a very predictable pattern.

Instead of 'is it safe' a better question might be 'is it safe FOR YOU'. The answer might vary widely. That older shooter or cop might be well advised to carry a j frame revolver appendix or some sort of pistol (The S&W Shield with a safety comes to mind as does the Bersa line.) with a trigger pull and safety they are more used to.

As a serious note to close this discussion guns are dangerous. Guns are predictable, like most mechanical objects, but they are dangerous if you do the wrong things through ignorance, laziness or sloppiness.  Like a nail gun or a circular saw if you screw up the cost is high. I wouldn't try to use a plasma cutter or fly a helicopter tomorrow because I do not know how to do those things and they are dangerous.

Don't mess with dangerous stuff you are not qualified to use. Now to be fair I am not talking about absolute mastery but just safe use. This does not mean being able to draw a pistol from concealment and hit a tennis ball at 100 meters in .65 seconds. I am talking about being able to safely handle the weapon with a very high level of consistency. Too put it in a non gun way a relative of mine is a carpenter. While not a union guy I would describe him as a master carpenter. He literally designs and build entire houses by himself (I think he subs out some of the wiring and plumbing). He can surely do things with a skill saw and nail gun I can't but I can still use both of them safely.

 If you are not comfortable with weapons, or a specific gun/ carry mode then don't use it. That applies to all methods of carry, holsters, weapons types, (as well as power tools, airplanes, helicopters explosives) etc all. It doesn't matter if we are talking about appendix carry, a Glock, or Grandpa's Browning A5 the same principle applies

 I do not want you all to be paralyzed by fear but you seriously need to know what you are doing. Get training, practice what you learned until you are comfortable and otherwise hold off (while sticking to known systems) on new using new stuff for anything but training and range fun till the training/ familiarity issue is fixed.

Thoughts?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Dry Fire Notes: From Concealment AIWB

Doing my dry fire when the kids nap (on non work days) seems to be a routine that works. I used the shot timer ap again. Unlike yesterday which was from my full fighting load setup today was from concealment. Appendix Inside Waistband (AIWB) with a Blade-Tech Holster Revolution Klipt Appendix IWB (Various models available)
I like a lot of Blade Tech stuff. They make good quality products at a very affordable price. Seriously they hit it out of the park on the quality to value equation. Their stuff shows you do not need to spend a ton of money on kydex holsters from some company that pays a former action guy to pimp their stuff.

Anyway I started with the par timer set at 2.3 seconds. That was more time than I needed. I was consistently in the 1.3-1.5 range with a couple outliers at 1.1 and really sucky.

It is interesting to me that the average times were almost the same as from a duty rig.

The duty rig got my fastest time to date (.87) but the time difference between the two (say 1.2 for the duty rig and 1.4 for concealment was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. I figured it would fall off the rails when I added clearing a cover garment but apparently it didn't. 

On the pro side of appendix carry the draw stroke is really short. Also it is closer to where you need the gun to be than behind the hip. With the appendix holster it has friction retention so there is not a device to engage before being able to draw. On the con side obviously it was FROM CONCEALMENT which necessitates clearing that garment. Trying to do that fast threw me for a loop a couple times in the first few draws. Also trying to focus on doing two intentional things quickly is going to take some getting used to.

For the next session I will set the par time at 1.6. My short term goal is to get consistently under 1.5 seconds. To achieve this goal I probably need to average under 1.4. I guess the long term goal is to be consistently under a second from either setup. I think at that point it may be pushing the point of diminishing returns on time required to maintain that level of proficiency.

For the live fire portion hits will be scored CSAT style on a  6x13 vital zone at 7 yards. Anything in the vital zone is a go though my preference is to stay in the top half of it. Paul Howe calls the top half (which roughly corresponds with the lungs and heart) the kill zone and the bottom half the 'colostomy bag' zone since it corresponds more with the upper part of the stomach.

One of the ways I plan to hold myself accountable and track improvement is by at least briefly talking about a days dry fire on here. Maybe posting some sort of basic data ( gear, drill(s) practiced, best time, par time and a rough average) in a brief post is the answer. I would include it as notes in the days post but that turns into a knowledge management nightmare.

I think I am going to push hard on frequency for dry fire. I tried 3x a week but that isn't enough to really make it a habit and defeat the enemy of laziness. So I am going to try 6-7x a week so I have to really have it as part of my routine. On the other side of the coin I am not going to push the time envelope or even really measure it. If I have a limited amount of time, say 8-10 minutes that is what I will use. If I have more time I will go till it stops being fun or I get burned out and times start to deteriorate. Down the road I will probably figure out an intentional program (I have a book John Mosby recommended on a shelf somewhere) but right now at least for a couple weeks my focus will be simply doing dry fire with a timer.

I am enjoying dry fire with a timer. It gives me a way to really measure how I am doing which is good. Also it is relaxing. I will probably start doing dry fire when I get home from work (on work days) to relax and transition into the evening. Also since it is free and can be done at home there really just isn't an excuse not to do it except laziness. It would be great to shoot a couple hundred rounds every day but aside from independently wealthy people (who probably do not have the time), sponsored shooters and SF/ JSOC types that is just not realistic.

Got dry fire?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Dry Fire with Shot Timer AP Trial Run

In a quiet moment I busted out the Glock and that new shot timer ap. Set it for a 4 second delay and a par time of 1.8 seconds. The drill I chose to practice on was one round from the holster. I was pleased with the results. My best single iteration was .87, there were quite a few in the .9-1.1 range though the overall average was probably 1.2. Clearly my iniitial par time was a bit slow. Next time I will go with 1.5. I was pleased that it turned out to be able to pick up the sound of dry fire.

Of course I did pay attention to doing things right and consistently. It is going to take me some time to get used to beginning to pull the trigger as I punch out from the high ready but I am sold on the concept.

Next weekend I will try to take it out to the range and run through some live drills.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Training #1: Barriers to Training

I have wanted to talk about this for awhile and today is as good of a day as any. I want to have a polite and respectful discussion about barriers, both real and perceived, that prevent people from going out and getting the quality training they need. Max Velocity has been talking about this for awhile now. Maybe in some way others can benefit from this. The format for each issue will be:

BarrierDiscussion
Recommendation

I will try to do this in some sort of logical flow of psychological, physical and financial/ logistical. So here we go.

Psychological
Barrier- "I don't need any fancy training, I've been shooting my whole life."
Discussion- Every red blooded American man who owns a gun thinks they are a legitimate gunfighter at a completely bad assed Raylan Givens or Kyle Lamb (CSM, RET) type of level. The problem with this idea is that people A) are so fundamentally ignorant on the topic(s) at hand that they are unable to assess their own ability and B) these people are universally failing to train to any worthwhile, measurable standards that factor in both time and accuracy. Saying it more seriously you should look up Cognative bias or just read John Mosby's post on it.

It is a huge ego thing.What I would submit to people is that being ignorant of a topic that involves violence does not make you a bad person or weak or anything like that. You are no less of a man (I say that because this is 100% a male issue) for not being able to clear a malfunction and reload an M4 in the dark, or execute an ambush which I can, than I am for not being able to wire a house or fix a car or something you know how to do. Fighting is just a skill and like any other one if you want a skill you lack the way to fix that is to go out and learn it.
Recommendation- Test yourself to a measurable standard. If a person gets a timer and shoots any decent combat based such as the CSAT Tactical Pistol Instructor standards they might eat a serious dose of humble pie.

Barrier- "I am/ was a Marine/ Soldier/ Cop so I know everything about everything."
Discussion- Experiences, in particular combat related ones are very powerful. To be honest without taking anything away from whatever you might have done unless you recently retired as an E8/E9 Tier 1 Jedi or as a senior SWAT Officer from a major city or Federal organization I would submit you might still have some things to learn. This will bleed slightly into the next planned post (What to train on) but I would say these folks might have valid experiences in one area (an Infantryman is probably pretty decent with rifles and a Cop should know how to shoot a handgun) but be entirely inexperienced in other areas. Reference the discussion of standards in the last piece.
Recommendation- First measure yourself against a quantifiable standards that factor in both time and accuracy. Second prioritize training in your weaker areas first.

Physical
Barrier- "I'm too old/ fat/ out of shape to go get training."
Discussion- Of course you have to be realistic. If you have some serious medical/ physical issues they may well prevent you from some more physical training. In Lost John Locke tried to do an Australian Walk About type survival thing in a wheel chair. Obviously that would not work. An 80 year old woman with a walker is not going to be able to do a 3 day patrolling class where you live out of a ruck that is carried on your back. That being said.....

It is my general impression that potential students regularly abstain from training they would be fine in due to this concern. Most classes are set up to accommodate a reasonable range of fitness levels. Look, while the military and law enforcement are heavy on fairly fit 20 and 30 somethings the civilian training market is a decade older and 20-30 pounds heavier. Aside from some classes that are probably MIL/LEO exclusive you will likely see a broad range of fitness levels. Nobody gives a shit if you are fat so stop being so self conscious about it. If in doubt I would say to contact the instructor before signing up for the class an lay out your specific concerns.

My general observation is within practical limits most instructors will help find a way to accommodate whatever issues you may have. They might adjust some pieces of instruction to say have a person who can't run omit running pieces and walk or just start at the shooting point. Instructors do this because a) they are good people who genuinely want to train others and b) they are capitalists and your money is green.
Recommendation- Obviously don't sign up for a class that involves climbing a building and living out of a ruck if you are in a wheel chair. Beyond that if in doubt just ask the folks running the class. Instructors worth dealing with will work with you as much as they can.

Financial/ Logistical
Barrier- "I can't afford to train."
Discussion- Taking a step back. We live in a very consumerist society. This extends to firearms and training. People would rather go buy a shiny new widget or a really, really expensive gun than work on the fundamentals and get better with the guns they have. We are very hardware centric with minimal interest in software. If someone sold a widget that was supposed to make you shoot better for $500 (and many companies do) folks would line up around the block for it. On the other hand folks are far less likely to financially and emotionally suck it up and pay hard earned money to learn skills they need but do not possess. Look at any blog and compare comments/ views on a post about a new accessory for an AR-15 vs one about training.

To the specific question. Obviously if you make 25k a year and have 6 kids a training class with an all in cost of say $700 might well be entirely unfeasible or a multi year savings type goal. However if you have some disposable income and are using it to buy more stuff instead of training it is an issue of prioritization not economics.

There are certainly ways to minimize costs on training. Many places have some sort of lodging or allow camping. Taking classes within driving distance of your location helps to keep costs reasonable also. Maybe find a friend to split gas and hotel costs with.
Recommendation- Aside from real low income folks if you prioritize training the money situation will work out.

I hope this gives you something to think about. Comments are open as always.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

SA Defense Force Vets Fighting Islamic Terrorists in East Africa

Max Velocity and Peter both mentioned it. Whatever you might think of Apartheid South Africa some of those guys were kick ass fighters. After the move to majority rule a lot of very experienced fighters were suddenly unemployed. Some of them started a PMC called Executive Outcomes. If you are bored some Sunday go down the rabbit hole learning about them, very interesting stuff. They made Blackwater look like a mom and pop security guard operation.

In any case some of those guys are still out fighting for hire. They are killing terrorists, real asshole types, so I wish them good hunting.

On another note Max Velocity is offering a discount for summer training. Max's place has a nice canopy of trees that cuts the heat and the schoolhouse. I would certainly hydrate and (a thing I saw at CSAT) bring a cooler full of Gatorade. The point is people use weather as an excuse not to train just about all the time. The winter is cold, often in the spring it is rainy. Summer is hot and fall is full of holidays where we all do family stuff. Save your money, look at your calender and get the training you need as soon as possible.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CSAT Tactical Pistol Operator Course Review

Today I am going to be reviewing a pistol course I recently attended. I went over to Combat Shooting and Tactics (CSAT) for their Tactical Pistol Operator Course.

The good:

A significant reason why I chose to train at CSAT was it's owner and primary instructor Paul Howe. Without overly 'tooting his horn' there is not anyone involved in modern tactical firearms instruction with a significantly better background to do what they do than Paul Howe. [Though he has a few peers such as Kyle Lamb, Pat McNamara, Larry Vickers and Frank Proctor, plus surely some Navy guys with similar credits.] He spent over a decade in a tier one Special Operations unit as an NCO. He was either doing bad things to bad people, or training others to do bad things to bad people for over a decade. When it comes to tactical weapon employment and self defense arguing anyone has much, if anything, on Paul Howe is an uphill battle.

This class starts with a brief introduction to firearms safety as well as the procedures they want you to use for clearing, loading, etc handguns. At this time the rules of the range and administrative considerations were discussed.

We also had a brief discussion of gear options with a focus on a tactical, assault type set up.
After the admin notes we had a period of instruction on drawing, gripping and firing a pistol. We then moved in to a drill based on the instruction.

The way the class worked is that we would come together for a period of instruction. After the period of instruction we would execute a drill. This broke pretty evenly into modules that were 45-50 minutes long. After a module we would reload magazines and ‘fluids in/ fluids out’ then move to the next module.

The class flowed in a logical, cumulative sequence. We took a break at lunch to eat then got back at it till about 4pm. The next day we got together at 8 and began again in the same format as the day before. It ended around 330 on Sunday.

I cannot necessarily recall every single drill or the flow of them but it all worked really well and built on itself. We trained on a variety of drills and the kneeling position.

Instructors were present and walked the line giving reminders and additional guidance as needed. They did a real good job of tempering this to the individual students experience level which varied widely. The DPS SRT member was on a different level than the eager, but decidedly new to guns, couple from San Francisco.

Day 1 ended with shooting some standards and being videotaped.

Day 2 began with watching the video from the end of Day 1. Being able to watch ourselves was a valuable visual of our shortcomings. Reminders were given. Following that we discussed some tactical issues and went over some real world shooting cases. Additionally we had a discussion about concealed carry gear, rifles and active shooter type bags.

After building fundamentals on day 1 we moved into different scenarios for day 2. First we worked on moving with hot weapons around people and shooting for precision in a hostage scenario. Next moved around/ between and shot from vehicles. After vehicles we worked on point of aim on a target wearing a t shirt and shot standards. After that we shot from behind barriers. The class culminated with us shooting the CSAT instructor standards to receive a score which can be used as a reference point for the future.

Specific take aways. Way too many to mention.

Draw to high ready and firing was trained. It was in line with the modern isosoles method but not strictly speaking a ‘4 step draw’. Paul said the reason for this is a fixation on sub steps (between holster and shooting) leads to artificial stops in the middle. This lead to a draw with the hands coming together at the high ready then pressing out fast into position, prepping the trigger while extending the arms, and shooting once you get the front sight. The result was a smooth movement that was natural.

Draws started from what Paul calls ‘interview stance’ in a natural athletic position with your hands together at roughly chest level. The reason for this is it’s a good universal position for a potentially violent situation. You can fight with hands, block, etc from there.

From other life experiences this is a good compromise between some sort of fighting stance which is aggressive and can be seen mistakenly by witnesses and being ready to get clobbered with your hands at your sides. In the past I have used the open hands towards people stance but Paul’s option is just fine. Really the difference between a fighting stance and these other stances is fists being closed and slightly higher. Either way the point to have your hands up and ready to react is significant.
Natural point of aim was a big point of the class. Going from a natural athletic type stance such as ‘interview’ through your draw should put the front sight on target at pistol fighting ranges. We still used sights but the goal is through proper mechanics that when you make the decision to shoot and your pistol leaves the high ready it lands on target.

Since we decide to shoot when leaving the high ready the trigger is being prepped from that point to full extension where you shoot. This movement is quite fast. The goal was under 1 second to hit a 6X13 vital zone at 7 yards. I achieved this goal albeit dead on with no margin for error.
The point to do things consistently was significant in the class. Example, every time you work the slide on a pistol grab it overhand. I was definitely guilty of using a ‘pinch’ technique for administrative stuff in the past so this was a point of improvement for me. The point of this is to be consistent across the board.

Dove tailing from that point the key that shooting is really all about consistence was pressed.
Both in the course of instruction and on the spot corrections to shooters Paul made a big point of only adjusting one thing at a time. I believe in the course of instruction the reason for this is to isolate a variable and guide shooters to the right answer FOR THAT VARIABLE. Over the course of instruction we worked through these in a logical sequence to end up in about as good of a place as a person can get in 2 days. For on the spot corrections Paul did the same thing. The reason was that a person can only really focus on changing one or maybe two things at a time.

The importance of automatically re acquiring your site picture after a shot was made. The reason for this is that it saves the time of doing so and thus speeds up the follow up shot if needed.
In a tactical sense we discussed managing encounters. The basics being awareness, verbal engagement [“I don’t want to talk with you today. Get away from me, do it now” doesn’t leave much room for ambiguity. If somebody ignores that they are deaf or planning something bad.], the use of objects such as vehicles or gas pumps to create space and such. This also lead to some interesting discussion on use of force with currently serving LEOs in the room.

Use of force is a really complicated discussion and I would not hesitate to give any form of legal advice. That being said one might want to look at how their state treats civilians in use of force scenarios. In say Texas the odds are a person who acts reasonably is going to be OK, not so much in California. Just another thing to think about.

So much more stuff than I could remember. Honestly it was 2 days of drinking from a fire hose.
The Bad: I wasn’t able to take this class last year. Was signed up but work messed it up. Something came up and it was going to be OK, just narrowly. Our schedule was delayed 3 days out (from the class) and I was stuck in the Middle East. Paul said no big deal and cut me a full refund. A year later it worked out for me to take the class.

The Ugly: I didn’t take this class a decade ago.

Hardware:
Pistols- The class was probably 40% Glock, 30% M&P, 15% Sig and the rest were a mix of different pistols (a couple of those new H&K’s and I think some sort of new Walther.) Two of the SIGs were duty guns for Texas LEO’s and the other was a guy from San Francisco. He had a real hard time managing the DA first shot on that gun. Darn near pulled every one of them. He is going to buy a Glock.

Most folks shot compact or full sized handguns. A couple guys had subcompact Glocks. One swapped out in favor of his G19 and the other has a young guy (like under 18) who shot Dads Glock 30S the whole time. His had was pretty darn sore. Most guns were in 9mm, there were quite a few .40’s, about 3 .45’s and one guy using the Texas DPS issued Sig in .357 SIG.

Gear:
Most shooters were using some sort of OWB kydex belt holster. A few like me had drop type rigs. The LEO’s were wearing their Batman Belts with Safariland holsters.
I used a TT Duty Belt, my Safariland 6125 with a ghetto rigged leg strap, and a TT double mag pouch. Would have used my HSGI rig but I wanted to keep it simple. From here on out I will practice mostly with the HSGI Costa Leg Rig.

Planned Gear Changes:
Pistol- Grip force adapter to let me get a slightly higher grip and have more surface area on the gun.
Gear- I could use a couple inch longer leg strap for the Safariland. Otherwise I think I’ll stick with that rig for awhile and see how it goes. I need some of those belt keepers to keep my inner belt and duty belt together, especially if I’ll be wearing it for awhile.
Conclusion: The class rocked and I strongly recommend it.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dry Fire

Today I did my pistol dry fire like a good little wanna be Jedi. Realized I need to pick up some snap caps for practicing clearing malfunctions and reloads. Also sorely need a timer but that was a known issue and is going to be handled in a few days when I get paid and we do 'personal money.'

Beyond that I decided I'm going to try sticking with my current holster for awhile. I like that it can function without the thigh strap so if I was say rucking I could just wrap that part around the holster and have it off my leg. I also like, though it is a touch slower, that the SLS puts my thumb in the right position. I just keep it there and draw, the other hand falls into the right position, prep trigger, lock/ lock, front sight and press. Things are starting to get fluid and comfortable. Once I have a timer to measurably push speed we'll be cooking with gasoline.

Other than that no big thoughts. For safety procedures I clear my weapon, move to a different room that has a safe backstop and dry fire. I then leave the room (ending the session), reload and put my gun back in the safe. People either fundamentally mess up by failing to clear the gun in the first place, or more commonly reload thinking they will be done then go for just one more rep. This is where the psychological effect of a separate space matters with the back up of a safe direction ideally with backstop. A backstop could be a brick/ masonry wall or something improvised like a couple sand bags.

Dry fire is free, can be done in your home and if used properly will make your live fire training a whole lot more effective. You can dry fire to practice getting that first round on target fast as well as mechanical stuff like reloading and malfunction drills. Live fire is needed for recoil management, transitions, etc.

Previously I was a bit hesitant to further build bad or sub optimal habits but now that I have a solid foundation to build on it is game time.

I think I'm going to shoot for 4 sessions a week. Want to primarily work concealed pistol with some secondary emphasis on tactical pistol and carbine. Unsure how I should program that. 1 topic per each session or some mix and match. What do you think? What do you do?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Shooting Weekend

I spent the weekend in the woods of East Texas shooting pistols. Burned up about 600 rounds over the course of two days. It was a blast but two busy days left me with a sore hand, beat up and mentally exhausted. My pistol shooting is better than when I came. Also probably more importantly, I've began the development of solid technique and have an understanding of how to use that technique and continue to improve.

Later this week I will do a full post, or a couple posts, fully describing the experience. 

CSAT Rocks!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Friday Randomness

As the weather gets better the chickens seem to be averaging an egg per- so 6 eggs a day. We are awash with eggs. Discussing this with Wifey, the master of household and culinary affairs, we are thinking about working a couple of egg n something meals into our dinner rotation. Eggs n hashbrowns, eggs n pancakes, that sort of thing. Since we already feed the chicks might as well use the eggs.

On a training note I just sent a goodly sized check to a man who is very experienced in the use of defensive/ tactical pistols. This is the weakest link in my combative/ personal defense situation. I tried to address it some time ago but things didn't work out. Anyway now I'm trying to make this training goal happen. In terms of pistol stuff honestly I am not a total newb but far from where I want to be. Not saying I completely suck but the weakest link is such all the same. While I have some ammo stashed I hope things will work out so I can get a fresh case of 9mm to take out there.

Also I spent a good chunk of time today sharpening my knives. Got to have the EDC working well.


Anyway that is what's going on here today.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: No Second Place Winner by Bill Jordan

Today I am going to be reviewing the book No Second Place Winner by Bill Jordan.

This book is definitely old school written by one of the most preeminent western law men, pistol shooters and handgun authorities of his era. He spent 30 years on the border patrol, mostly as far as I can tell on the Texas border as well as fighting as a Marine in WWII and Korea. His shooting skills were legendary from wax bullet exhibitions drawing and point firing at asprin to a legitimate recorded .27 second draw and shot on target! Given that a one second draw to first shot is considered pretty good that is downright amazing. He was also the man behind the S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum which was the peak of the police/ fighting revolver.

This book is pretty short at 114 pages with a few thoughtful blank ones at the end for notes. There is a general opening followed by discussion on selection and maintenance of holsters, pistol grips, handguns, cartridges and bullets. After that it talks about the mechanics of the draw and how to work to build speed without losing accuracy (it's amazing how little some things change). After that it gets into some of the psychological stuff and a variety of different things then there is a summary and closing. Onto the usual format.

The Good: This book is short. At 110 pages I read it in about 2 hours. To say it is short is not an insult. It thoughtfully covered every topic necessary and left nothing out. There were enough 'no shit there he was' stories about cool old school lawmen/ gunfighters to be entertaining but so many as to bring the conversation off track or to add unnecessarily to the length of the work.

As noted before Bill Jordan probably sweated out more wisdom on the Texas border than most shooters, even competent instructors possess. Aside from being a tough guy in a tough place during a tough time some of the tangibles of his capabilities were downright amazing. Given that he lives to the era of shot timers and video cameras his feats carry a lot more weight of accuracy than those of an era where news was only passed by word of mouth and print.

So much of this work is still entirely relevant today. Granted the strictly technological stuff is dated, there isn't a way around that in a book that is 50 years old. Still a person outfitted with the gear described as optimal; a good wide gun belt, a stiff strong side leather holster, a double action 4" revolver with ergonomic grips and semi jacketed lead flat nose bullets could certainly do a whole lot worse. The setup he described is pretty much my perfect woods walking rig.

Gear talk aside so much of what was described is still so relevant.

I particularly enjoyed how Mr Jordan described the transition of different shooting techniques for different ranges. This is something I've thought about and practiced in the past. In short as distance increases you need more accuracy so there is a transition from speed to accuracy. It goes something like this.
0-3 yards- Draw and fire as soon as the gun comes level. Today we have reinvented this into a 'speed rock.This move is shown well in the beginning of the  Collateral 'Briefcase Scene'

3-7 yards. From the speed rock you extend the handgun and bring it out and a little up to get a better shot.
7-15 yards- The hands come together at stomach level.
15-25 meters- Traditional aimed fire at eye level.

So much more good stuff.

The Bad: Like anything that goes way deep into specific gear (vs concepts, etc) as time goes by it becomes dated. While I loves me some k frame S&W's that stuff is way out of date.

The Ugly: beautiful craftsmen quality fighting revolvers like the K Frame Model 19 .357 are no longer widely available and affordable for all but the lowest budgets in hardware and general stores.

Conclusion. You can take the gear stuff with a grain of salt though they represent the peak of the fighting revolver, well minus ammo. Today I'd choose a 158 grain JHP instead of the semi jacketed lead flat nose we tend to call a semi jacketed soft point today.  That being said I don't want to take either one to the chest.

Still gear aside the book has a ton to offer. Heck the 'there he was' stories and the amusing no longer politically correct outdated language is worth the price of the book for entertainment value alone. Seriously though this book has a ton of valuable tips and knowledge to offer. Also if you are so inclined a minute on google can find it in PDF.

Got bad assed old school gunfighter knowledge?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Something Lighter- Dynamic Pie Concepts

Too much heavy stuff floating around right now. I had a good little talk with a buddy last night and there is a post in my head from that but today I want to lighten things up a little bit. So I introduce you to Dynamic Pie Concepts.

 


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Larry Vickers on The Myth of Over Lubrication


Larry Vickers on 'over lubrication' of weapons. Before saying he is stupid I recommend a quick google search. It's fair to say Larry Vickers has forgotten more about all things guns and fighting with them than most people reading this know. His thoughts mirrors my personal experience, doubly so with the AR-15 platform which runs best wetter than other weapons. As far as I am concerned this is the last word on the matter.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Train With Max Velocity This Fall: 28 SEP 6 Day Course

Posted: 12 Sep 2014 02:37 PM PDT
I have four spaces available on the September 28 – October 3 6 day combined CRCD / Combat Patrol Class.

This class is also running Combat Lifesaver (TC3) on September 27, due to most of the class having signed up for it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fighting vs Training vs Gaming PT 1: Training Fundamentals

Tam and American Mercenary have been discussing gaming vs training and general thoughts thereon. I went down the rabbit hole of thought and am not only going to do a post, I am going to do two or three posts on the topic. So today we are going to talk about the fundamentals of training.

Wikipedia says Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one's capability, capacity, productivity and performance.

Additionally Practice is the act of rehearsing a behavior over and over, or engaging in an activity again and again, for the purpose of improving or mastering it, as in the phrase "practice makes perfect".


Basically you train to get a skill and practice to maintain and refine that skill. Admittedly the two can muddle together. During this series I may use 'train' when 'practice' could potentially fit. Anyway here we go.

Today I want to discuss two sub topics to meet the endstate of having a common picture on training. The first sub topic is how to figure out what to train on. The second part is a general outline of how to train on the stuff identified in the first part.

Deciding What to train on matters considerably. We only have so much time, energy and resources so training on too much stuff means we are not in effect really training on anything. It starts with what we do.

In the Army we use something called a Mission Essential Task List. A METL is a list of tasks that an organization needs to do to be successful. It starts with large collective actions like 'conduct full spectrum offensive operations' or 'conduct counter insurgency operations in a multi national environment'. Those METL tasks are broken down to sub tasks which then eventually flow to individual tasks. Moving from the tasks a Battalion or Company needs to do all the way down to individual soldiers is a rather lengthy process. I'll do an example for an individual survivalist. Will just drill all the way down on one set of sub tasks to give you an idea.

[Now this is not meant to be a formalized survivalist METL. I'm just doing it to give an idea of how to figure out what to train on with a topic we all know should a bit about.]

Ryan's Draft METL

-Defend against criminal actions

-Conduct movement in varied enviornments

-Communicate with individuals and receive information

-Sustain in varied situation through stored goods, redundant capabilities and production

If I recall the genera guideline is to have between 3-5 METL tasks. That might be something I totally made up but 2 is certainly too few and 6 seem like too many.

To drill down further on 'Defend against criminal actions':

-Home defense against armed intruders

- Execute anti car jacking operations

- Defend against criminal activity (mugging, kidnapping, active shooter, general psychos) outside the home

-Defend against threats in WROL enviornment

Make sense?

We'll keep going deeper on 'Defend against criminal activity':

- Have working understanding of general principles, as well as state and local laws as they pertain to use of force

- Have working understanding of  the dynamics of persona criminal violence (think South Narc) as well as local threats and trends

- Engage in hand to hand combat with an emphasis on ending the fight quickly and potentially employing a weapon

-Employ a handgun for self defense

Hope that makes some sense. Each task has sub tasks which have sub tasks till you get down to individual relatively discrete tasks. It might sound like you will end up with dozens of tasks here but that is not exactly so. The next step is called a METL cross walk. Basically you make a giant table/ spreadsheet with all the higher level (in the Army collective) tasks on one side and the totally boiled down common denominator individual tasks on the other. For Army units/ soldiers when it is all boiled down a lot of individual tasks appear in many larger tasks so it boils down to a more manageable number of tasks. For survivalists given the varied nature of the problem set we choose to undertake is a bit more varied but we also do not have artificial 'check the box annually requirements' so that is something.

I think in a long winded way the first question got answered. While it is not the only option I have laid out a way to establish the tasks you need to train on.

Now to the second part, how to train on something.  Look at each part of that task and figure out how to crush it. Establish standards as well as goals for it. If you are not qualified to do this for a task you feel important enough to learn then find somebody qualified to do so and learn from them.

I do not mean to dismiss the second half of today's question but it is hard to find a principle for training that will work for gardening and ham radio as well as shooting goblins in a parking lot.

Part two will be about how fighting, training and gaming come together. There may or may not be a part 3.



Monday, July 7, 2014

The Riddle of Steel and Home Brewed AR-15 Lesson

Commander Zero as well as Conan can be credited with the Riddle of Steel becoming part of my vocabulary.

I was at a shooting range yesterday. Was going about my business there when a guy pulled up and went to a bench near me. He had an AR-15 of the M4 variety with a pretty big scope on it. I didn't think much of the whole thing. He set out a target at 50m when it was cold then shot a little. His AR jammed in short order and I sat there watching him become increasingly frustrated trying to clear it.

I normally do not do this. I find giving folks unsolicited gun advice is almost as jack assish as giving unsolicited critiques of someones exercise routine. Aside from general shooter talk I leave folks alone to their business. However this guy was clearly stuck. There was no way he could solve that problem. Also since I've been shooting AR's for over a decade I figured the odds I could fix the problem were pretty high. Anyway I felt bad enough for the guy that I wanted to help him.

After waiting a couple of minutes, to the point where he had taken a break from even fiddling with it, I walked up to him.

"Sir, would you like some help?" I said. He was probably 40 so certainly not old enough to justify the formality age offers but I figure men, who all think we are gods gift to weapons as well as general athleticism, who are having trouble with a gun will respond well to a respectful tone.

I do not remember what he said but it was an enthusiastic yes.So I took a closer look at the rifle.

It was  a bolt override, in this case there was an expended round above the bolt and another in the chamber. I 'pogo sticked' it which got the bolt back far enough to get the first round out. At this point another guy came over to join the discussion. I used a screwdriver to pry the brass casing from above
the bolt.

 The guy was pretty frusterated about the whole thing. Turns out it was a new gun and he fired 2 rounds before it jammed. Not a good sign. I had noticed the gun was bone dry. The other dude had some gun oil and offered it up. I uncharacteristically did not have oil since it was just a quick trip. I explained to the guy that AR's run optimally with far more lubrication than other rifles.

After lubrication I stuck a magazine in it and went to test fire. It shot 2 rounds then failed to feed. Took the mag out, it was some cheap aftermarket BS. So maybe it was the mag. Looked at his pile of mags, there were a couple more of the junk ones and a decent metal mag of some sort. Metal mag did the same thing. Not the mag. Not good.

At this point Other Guy brought over his AR. I hadn't brought one. After some process of elimination we figured out it was the buffer spring. He had a commercial tube and what appeared to be a mil spec, probably heavier tension, spring. Other Guy put his standard commercial spring in and the gun worked just fine.

I told him to hop onto midway and order a standard buffer spring.

It turns out this guy's rifle was home built, I strongly suspect by someone he knew personally. Needless to say he was not happy and was bringing it back to that person to fix the problem.

I felt for the guy. He surely paid a decent amount of money for an AR with a quad rail and  Burris scope with a back up fast fire red dot site. Aside from the scope having way too much magnification for a 14.5in barrel (it was a 3x9 or maybe even a 4x12) it was set way too far back so you couldn't get a decent site picture. I recommended he move it up.

What are the morals of this story.

1) Unless you know what you are doing and have a specific reason to deviate from the military or factory specifications for a working part of a firearm it is best to stick to the standard option.

2) You can spend a lot of money on a gun and still not have a damn clue what you are doing. Get training from guys like Max Velocity, John Mosby or other experienced combat based trainers to fix your deficiencies. Remember that the root word of gunfight is not gun but fight.

3) Get out and make sure your stuff actually works when the worst consequence is an annoying range day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

New Classes from Max Velocity

A note from Max Velocity

The new ‘Square Range’ at the MVT site is under construction. I’m going to make sure it is not quite square, maybe rectangular. Photos to follow next week ;-)
The Rifle Manipulation Primer (RMP) class is already scheduled to run prior to CRCD classes, as part of a TC3/RMP day.
The following classes:
Combat Rifle Manipulation (CRM)
Combat Handgun Manipulation (CHM)
Have been developed and will be scheduled shortly.

I have taken on a new AI, Aaron, who is an excellent instructor with a depth of knowledge, three combat tours, and a great teaching manner. He will be primarily responsible for these new manipulation classes, which will be mostly held on the new ‘rectangular range.’
The intent of the weapons manipulation classes is to provide a more in-depth training service, while remaining focused on the MVT philosophy of progressing students towards realistic combat tactical training. ‘Square range’ weapons manipulation classes are part of the transition from basic marksmanship to field firing tactical training. The MVT manipulation classes are focused on transitioning the student towards  tactical training, such as found on the CRCD classes. The danger of ‘square range’ training is that it becomes an end in itself, a diversion from the real purpose of the transition, which will give students a false sense of their training level, and in many cases teaches habits that are harmful to your health in a combat environment.
MVT ‘square range’ weapons manipulation training remains focused on the progression to tactical training. These classes can be taken as precursors to the tactical classes, as additional skill builders, or as stand alone classes in their own right.
The new classes will often run concurrently to the tactical classes. Schedule coming soon. Questions about a new combined CHM/CRM/TC3/RMP/CRCD/Combat Patrol 10 day class will be politely ignored ;-)

Ryan here: I should also note Max's new 5 day Combat Rifle/ Contact Drill and Patrolling class seems to have been a big hit ( AAR 1, AAR 2, AAR 3) on it's first go around

Got Training?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What Have You Done Lately To Prepare?

In recent weeks this has fallen off so I want to play catch up. Lost some weight which was good. My fitness level has dropped due to field time but it'll come back. Goes to show as a reminder that you lose weight at the table and get fit on the track/ at the gym. I'm trying to focus on a good consistent diet to lose another 10 pounds.

Going to try to implement record keeping for running from here forward. Did 3 miles this morning. A half mile out, a 1m(ile), .75m, .5m, .25m 'sprint' workout then a half mile back.

Was supposed to take a sweet pistol class awhile back but unfortunately work crapped all over that dream. It's not like I talked to my boss 4 months out before booking or anything, oh wait a second I did. Was really depressed about it for a few days but what can ya do. On the plus side I've still got the case of 9mm ammo set aside for whenever I do make it to one. The guy was cool about the whole thing and even though it was just a week out he gave me a full refund. Since it won't work to try anything again for awhile I'll probably put the refund into a case of 62 grain M855 5.56 ammo.

Also on the plus side I ordered a new pocket knife, an Al Mar Eagle HD. My concept of use is for a light EDC blade to do basic tasks and I suppose if needed go all Singer Sewing Machine on somebody. A light, thin knife with a full 4" blade seems like it'll fit the niche well.

Picked up a couple extra stainless steel water bottles recently. Got tired of moving em around. Now I have one to carry, one in my assault pack/ bail out bag/ get home bag, and one in each of our BOB's. Kind of along these lines I have finally unified my military and personal survival level 2.5 systems into one. The full on level 3 entertainment system is a bit more complicated due to different needs and work mandated color schemes. Anyway it's a good exercise to work through.

So that is what I have been up to in terms of preparedness lately. What have you been up to?
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