Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Flying with Guns

Weapons Man  did a post on this. As always it is good. I have some thoughts.
- Obviousky make sure whatever you are flying with is legal on both ends of the trip.
- In case of the off chance they cut your locks have spares. A 4 pack of normal master IDK pas locks is like $20.
- Like weapons man said plan in time. An extra half hour,  which probably puts you there 2 hours early is wise.
- Know the airlines policies. They vary. If in doubt call the airline and ask.
- Unless there is some compelling reason I wouldn't fly with real expensive or heirloom type guns. Guns do occasionally go missing. Take a $500 Glock and a $600 rifle not your nighthawk custom 1911 and full auto FAL.
-Depending on the airline you can have different amounts of ammo. All I've used let you take some and have it in the case with the guns. I'll bring at least enough to load the gun 1-2 times. If I wanted more ammo for whatever reason at the end point I would get it shipped there. Most classes will let you send ammo to them.
-If possible, an from my experience it always is I like to have at least some ammo. Example this winter I flew home with guns. A friend picked me up at the air port. We hung out for a few hours in sort of an iffy neighborhood and then I had a couple hours there  alone. After that I got on a train. I was definitely glad to have a loaded gun with me.
- Weapons Man mentioned loaner guns. That is definitely an option if the people you are visiting have appropriate guns to spare.
-If your host does not have spare guns to loan and you go there often consider staging a cache there. The cost and moderate annoyance of checking a gun a few times justifies leaving an old revolver an a long gunnifnyiu want one along with some speed strips and a knife. This also helps with your risk management. If your house burns down an whatever is in it is gone the gun at Grannies may be handy.

Edited to include: Buy a decent hard sided locking case. This is an area that is somewhat vague. Pelican makes good stuff and there are solid companies out there for the more value conscious customer as well.

You need to know what the rules are and follow them.  That said Flying with a gunnrrally isn't complicated or that big of a hassle. I've done it a few times and have yet to have any problems. Please don't let it intimidate you. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Battle Drills and Decision Making

i spent a recent weekend in Cecil Birchs immediate action class. A full review will come.  It brought up a couple of points worth discussing. The first is the danger of being a technique collector. Setting aside that those guys are usually clowns anyway it's a problem. As a normal, hopefully decent citizen the violence you are going to be involved with is going to be defensive and reactionary. It is cute to say your situational awareness is amazing and no one gets within 21 feet without an ocular or down and eh f cleared but it's bullshit. You might get some clues a few seconds out or you might just get jacked in he face.

For this type of situation you do not need a dozen techniques,  you need like 1-2 you are comfortable with and can do rapidly. At the beginning of a fight you are behind the power curve and need to survive the next couple seconds before you can get your head right and start making decisions.

Think of these as individual battle drills. A pre planned response to a given event which is rapidly executed with minimal decision making.

So at the start of a fight fewer decisions is better. Have a plan and violently execute it till you get your head into the situation and go from there.

Conversely at the later part of a fight you need to be more flexible. You can't say 'I'll always shoot if x' or 'if I get in a fight that guy is going to the ER, best case.' Aside from being machismo ish bull there is always an exception. Life has violent situations where you actually don't want to hurt the other person, let alone kill them. The right answer for a mugger or a bar fight is different than your confused 80 year old neighbor or drunk asshole uncle.

This is a place where jiu jitsu is so handy. You can control people without actually hurting them. This gives you options that guns and striking do not offer.

So in conclusion. Have a planned reaction that works under stress. Develop the situation and be flexible about how to end it. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Yugo vs AKM Parts Bleg

Hey Folks, Sorry to have my first post in awhile be a bleg but a friend asked so I'm trying to help him out. He is curious about specifically what parts are not compatible between the Yugo pattern AKs (which rock and are a heck of a deal) and the standard AKM. Does anyone know?

My laptop is still being a pile of shit. Maybe I'll write a real post on my phone tomorrow.

Thanks in advance

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Life and Times, Operational Cache, Et All

Hey Folks, I sort of took a break over the holidays. I went home and saw my kiddo's, family and friends. The way things worked out I got to see a relative at the opposite end of the PNW so that was cool. Also my first time traveling long distance in the US by train. The trip there was pretty awesome. Very old school with some nice touches of class. The one back sucked as there were delays and all sorts of drama. Now I am back to work and normal life.

Over this trip I accessed my operational cache. Everything was fine. I sort of took a cue from Meister and added some good stuff to it. I tossed in my normal EDC knife and flash light as well as a more duty oriented pistol. Also a good set of long johns, a pair of multicam pants and some other odds n ends. I was going to put in a better backpack but the one I planned to use had a buckle break on the trip so I need to get it fixed.

Sort of along Meisters theme I literally cached stuff I regularly use. Motivation to spend hundreds of dollars on stuff to cache can be hard to find. So as a forcing function I put my normal stuff in there. Finding motivation to replace the thing I carry every day that is gone should be much easier to find. Of course if you genuinely can't afford it this is a bad plan but for those who can it is a good way to get priority #10 which never gets done up to priority #2 or 3.

I wanted to go through all of the contents and toss some less than entirely needed stuff. As I put in better items the newly redundant and inferior stuff can get tossed. Space is a consideration.

 I am looking hard at setting up another cache soon. Hopefully this spring. It will be another operational cache. Good to have goals anyway.

My stupid computer has really been giving me problems. Honestly it is hindering blogging as a 10 minute post takes more like a half hour between it freezing and re starting. I am going to either fix or replace it in the immediate future. My goal is to get to blogging 2-3x  a week.

Anyway that's what has been going on with me. Hope you all are well. Talk to you soon.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 New Years Resolutions Final Review


Sustain
Start hunting-No
Continue fishing -No
Organize/ refine food storage. Emphasis is less on sheer bulk but more on filling holes and putting it all together. -No

Better organize caches-Some stuff is in the works here. Nothing has been finished yet.
Get another grinder (Corona?)-No
Pick up some additional rechargeable batteries to have 2 (3 is better) spare sets per new piece of commo gear -No
5gal kerosene-No
1x kero lantern w/ 4 wicks and spare globe-No
Various tools TBD maybe
1x brace and bit-No
1x buck saw or large bow saw-No
Chainsaw support gear (me thinks gloves, chaps, spare chain, file, plenty of 2 cycle oil, spark plugs, bar oil, etc)-No
Files for chainsaw and hand saws

Cordage: 1 spool of 550 cord, 5x 100 ft light rope-No


Medical
Organize a good household first aid kit-Yes
Beef up my vehicle first aid kit.-Yes


Inventory gear, spare parts and other moderately priced items
Better organize gear and such-No

Life (personal):

Fill my newfound spare time in useful ways.-No

Solidify existing relationships and put time/ energy/ money into that effort.-Wash I guess.

Build new relationships.- Well I made some new friends, sadly they don't live near me.

Have some fun. - I met a lot of people around here and had a variety of different experiences. That was a thing that probably needed to happen in my life, if just to get it out of the way.  I had a lot of fun in Europe and a nice trip to Montana.

Watch more live music.- A resounding suuccess.

Life (functional/ goals):

Establish a zero or near zero based budget to manage my current financial situation allowing me to save, have fun and pursue preparedness goals.- I saved some cash and kinda had a budget. Call it a mixed bag.

Go back to school.-No

Figure out 1/3/5 year goals for where I want to be and backwards plan from there.- This was good but took a major change recently.

Overall my goals are to work on my life, get/ stay healthy, and figure out what my life is going to look like. In terms of preparedness I want to work hard on skills, firm up communications, get better organized, get some ammo and another AR then work on smaller stuff to round out what I already have.

I got a couple other things done. Bought an FJ Cruiser and did a decent amount of Jiu Jitsu. 

Overall this years was not a preparedness success. Maybe next year will be better. If nothing else I will work on setting better goals.

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.


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.
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