MADE IN THE USA : CONSOLE VAULT®

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Takeaway:  Do not leave an unsecured handgun (whether loaded or unloaded) in an unattended vehicle unless the environment is secure or you or a trusted other has eyes on it.  If there will be times when you cannot do that, upgrade the vehicle storage space with a security enhancement such as a reinforced trunk, or a permanently installed or cabled hardened lock box. This admonition is a matter of common sense risk mitigation (loss of life and property, and civil liability come to mind) and compliance with the requirements of various federal and state laws.

If you own a popular model truck or SUV, the manufacturer/vendor deserving of your first look for handgun storage is Console Vault®.  For under $300 you can have a good-looking and perfectly fitting, permanently installed secure lock box in your factory console, with combination dial or “barrel” key access.  (If you are even slightly handy, it is a 15-minute DIY job which produces a factory installed look). Continue reading

The Great Teacher Inspires

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Some Years Ago at the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers Conference in Idaho. Vince in the middle.

“The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.”  -William Arthur Ward

Vince O’Neill is one of the premier law enforcement instructors in the country.  He has trained cops in firearms and defensive tactics for over 30 years in every state of the union and 29 countries.  O’Neill has been the lead instructor in both of these disciplines for Oklahoma’s Council on Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers.  Listing Vince’s training and qualifications would require a separate article in itself.  He is qualified as an expert witness on uses of force in state and federal court.  He is a former state PPC champion, NRA High Master, NRA 1490 Combat Club member as well as many international instructional certifications in firearms and less lethal applications.  His copious training, impressive wealth of real world experience and teaching prowess give him the ability to effectively relate information to students in a way that few others can. Continue reading

Smith & Wesson M&P40L Performance Center

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I bought my first Smith & Wesson M&P autopistol in 2008 and currently have five of them excluding the M&P40c my wife hijacked some years ago.  I carried that original M&P40 on regular duty and SWAT for several years.  However, Smith & Wesson just wasn’t satisfied with a good thing.  After the standard duty size models became successful, then the compacts were introduced.  The Competition Optics Ready Equipment (CORE) models represent another step forward for the M&P line.  They allow for the mounting of optics on the standard and longer slide models.   Most recently, the long slide versions hit the market.  But, it doesn’t stop there.  The S&W Performance Center makes both functional and aesthetic enhancements to otherwise stock handguns.  So, the natural next step in the evolution of the M&P is the Performance Center line of pistols. Continue reading

MADE IN THE USA : LEATHER GUN BELTS

 

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I heard on a podcast that sporting a nylon “tactical” belt is a “tell” that there is a concealed handgun not too far away.  I am not all on board with the “tell” analysis, but OK fine, we ( :) ) likely should all plead guilty. Doesn’t every serious gun-toter have at least one belt from The Wilderness, and one of those ultra-stiff, high-tech, superhero style belts made with indestructible fabric and a “special” bucklemaybe from AresGear? (Both are awesome — so I am told :) ).  For many however, leather has been and remains the belt king. For some, “tactical” may simply be inappropriate. Maybe you’re a federal agent, an LEO who no longer wears a uniform, a concealed carrying non-sworn who has to “dress-up,” or a former “operator” now in corporate security or executive protection. Or maybe you simply want a changed look and a bit more “comfort.” What to do? Go with a leather belt specifically made for handgun carriage. If the don’t go tactical podcast is correct, all the better.

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Shop With Mom and Pop: Hometown Holster Makers

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Spencer of “Spencer’s Keepers” carries a Glock 35 AIWB in his patented “Keeper.”

Back in my early days of carrying a gun, I bought some holsters with the structural integrity of a Dandelion.  I’ve since learned that acquiring decent gear generally means making a decent investment.  Production holsters are readily available, but the good ones are costly.  Quality custom gear is even more so, with a few exceptions.  If you want to save a couple of bucks and still get the customer service and quality products you deserve, check out the small custom shops.  Below are four, “Mom and Pops” that I have used and which I recommend without hesitation.  (Look for  links throughout the article.)

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Traditional Double Action Experience – Beretta 92G

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    Beretta/Wilson Combat 92G Brigadier Tactical and Shootist Tactical OWB.

I have long since been intrigued by the Beretta 92 family of pistols. The Elite series was a significant step in the right direction for the 92 but just not enough to sway me from Combat Tupperware and wheelguns.  Last year’s release of the Beretta/Wilson Combat collaboration 92G Brigadier Tactical (Brig Tac) pushed me over the edge.

Now I’ve heard many people talk about traditional double action pistols but had very little experience shooting them.  The DA/SA transition is made out to be the Boogie Man.  It was time to learn how to run one of the most popular pistols of all time. Continue reading

The “21 Foot Rule”

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I try not to allow sarcasm into my writings.  I will try not to today, but can make no promises.  Sometimes, you read things that are just so dumb, the sarcasm writes itself.

Recently, I have read some writings from police administrators, police trainers, and musings in the media in reference to the “21 Foot Rule”.  To put everyone in the readership on a level playing field in our readership, this “21 Foot Rule” is what most of us also know as the Tueller Drill.  In the early 1980’s, Sgt Dennis Tueller conducted studies involving how quickly a subject armed with a knife could cover a given distance, before an officer could react, draw and fire effectively at the knife wielding attacker.

Now, I have been exposed to this drill for most of my career.  The crux of what I carried from it was an attacker can cover that 21 foot pretty quickly, so when dealing with non-compliant suspects, it is wise to have the gun in your hand, and a plan in your head. Continue reading

A Year Long Experiment with a Pistol Optic

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Norman Police Department Officer Ali Jaffery fires “2 and 1” failure drills with the CORE/RMR combination.

“That’s the future…right there.”  My friend, Steve Tracy, may have been right as he pointed down at the M&P CORE pistol mounted with a Trijicon RMR at SHOT Show 2014.  There is a relatively small but growing contingent of defensive pistol experts who believe that reflex sight optics will find a home atop law enforcement duty pistols in the near future.  After all, optics are almost omnipresent on police carbines.  While formerly considered an aid for competition guns, the quality of these devices has risen to the level that many feel they can trust them for defensive use.  How does one measure just how much, if any, advantage can be gained by an optic over traditional sights in a defensive set up? I just happened to have an M&P40 that I used on patrol and in SWAT for several years.  Smith & Wesson and Trijicon were kind enough to send me a pistol and optic for evaluation. Continue reading

Rangemaster Instructor Development

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A .38 caliber hole fired by Tom Givens from a revolver held upside down in a demonstration.

     “Evil is real,” he said somberly, and he would know.  With decades of law enforcement experience in the Memphis area, specialized security work and dedicated research on the topic of armed self-defense, Tom Givens does know.  He’s an exceptionally experienced firearms instructor, author, competitor and student.  He is a longtime member of the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers, the National Law Enforcement Trainers Association, the International Wound Ballistics Association and the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors.  As IDPA member number A00008, Tom was there during the creation of that organization and was among the first members of The Police Marksman Association.  Givens has investigated a staggering number of shootings over the last four decades, including dozens involving his own students.  With that knowledge and experience, Tom has served as an expert witness on firearms and police training on the state and federal level.  Tom has authored four books including his most recent, Fighting Smarter.  He and his wife, Lynn own Rangemaster Firearms Training Services.  In the firearms training community, Tom is nothing less than a legend.  Lynn is quite the shooter and instructor in her own right.  Each year, Rangemaster hosts The Tactical Conference.  That event culminates in a realistic shooting competition.  Lynn placed third in the 2015 match against some heavy hitters.  Underneath her kind, unassuming exterior is the blue twisted steel of a gunfighter.  I jumped at the opportunity to attend their three day Firearms Instructor Development class. Here are my thoughts.

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AR15 Gas Systems- Is there a practical difference in recoil management?

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You always hear quite a bit about how rifles with mid-length gas systems shoot “softer” than the carbine length brethren.  I bought one of my favorite rifles more because of the basic layout, and I like the dude that came up with the concept of the rifle, Kyle Lamb.  It is a 16 inch Smith and Wesson VTAC 2.  It came factory with a mid-length gas tube.  I changed out the brake for a Surefire brake, and then I just added ammo.  The rifle has always shot like a dream.  Dot travel is minimal.  I can hammer quick splits into discreet targets at will. Continue reading

Concealed Carry: Glock 19 vs. Glock 26

The Glock 19 is a do everything pistol, while the Glock 26 is easier to carry.

The Glock 19 is a do everything pistol, while the Glock 26 is easier to carry.

I recently received an email from a reader asking me to do an article on the Glock 19 vs 26 for concealed carry. I am a fan of Glock 9mms almost in any configuration, but if I could have only one, it would be the 19. It is truly the do-everything pistol. On the timer, I can’t statistically show a difference in performance inside of 20 yards (as compared to a 17.) I can manage around 275-280 on the FBI Bulleye Course with a 19 which is within single digits of what I can do with a tuned 1911 on the same drill. The 19 is big enough to be pressed into the role of a full sized service pistol, yet small enough to fit underneath a T-shirt in a Raven Eidolon Holster. Given my philosophy of selecting the biggest gun with most capacity that I can practically carry for the circumstances, the Glock 19 fits the bill 99 percent of the time. So what about the 26?

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Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center Talo

1       The J-frame Smith & Wesson revolver is a must-have carry gun in my book.  I’ve been carrying a model 642 as a backup both on and off duty for almost fifteen years now.  There are a lot of nifty little auto pistols on the market today, but none of them come out of the front pocket quite as readily an internal hammer J-frame.  Of course, there are drawbacks to everything.  If you want a quality, 15-ounce pocket gun, sacrifices must be made.  As is necessary for reliable ignition, the DAO trigger pull on these little revolvers is heavy and that makes them somewhat more difficult to shoot.  For the sake of concealability, the stocks are tiny and even the rubber ones are hard on larger hands like mine when firing +P loads.  Another negative of small .38 Special revolvers is occasionally sticky extraction of spent brass.  This is especially true when using the hotter defensive rounds.  These guns have been popular for so many decades, I think it’s safe to say that defensive handgunners have readily accepted these seemingly necessary compromises.  Maybe we don’t have to compromise as much anymore.  Continue reading

Operation Specific Training: Practical Fundamentals

6    “You need a maximum strength prescription of ‘slow…down’.  Speed comes later,” he said in that western Kentucky accent that almost forces a sense of calm.  It was obvious this would be a different kind of class.  Operation Specific Training offers a process-oriented curriculum as opposed to a goal-oriented curriculum.  I would come to know what that meant over the next two days.

I had Internet-known Jerry Jones, the President of Operation Specific Training, for several years at that point. (Editor’s Note: We are proud to have Jerry here as a regular contributor here at Modern Service Weapons.) We had corresponded regularly on a forum and via email, but had never met in person.  I’d always found him to be exceptionally knowledgeable and truly interested in the education of others.  He’s notorious for going to great lengths to answer questions and provide assistance to perfect strangers online.  During an email exchange, I told Jerry I was having trouble with some fundamentals after surgery.  I don’t know if Jerry felt sorry for me or was just tired of reading my polysyllabic swearing, but he invited me to his Practical Fundamentals class in Paducah, KY.  It seemed like a perfect opportunity to regain some skill and maybe a little swagger. Continue reading

Out Where The West Begins: A Deputy and His R8

 

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“I think I’ll do okay,” he told me with a slowly-developing wry smile under a horseshoe mustache (not to be confused with a Fu Manchu) and an immaculate platinum four-inch brim Serratelli western hat.  I always wondered how he kept that thing so clean patrolling our infamous red dirt roads.   In retrospect, I had probably come across a little incredulous as to Garfield County Deputy Cory Rink’s choice of new duty pistol while we were discussing the dynamics of modern law enforcement shootings, split times, reloading speed and accuracy.   Rink is a unique fellow.  He’s intelligent, excellent with the public, well-versed in statute and case law, a custody/control (hand-to-hand) expert and has thrown more than a few hay bales in his life.  So, of course, he chose a unique duty gun; a S&W M&P R8.  But, still… a revolver?  In the 21st century?  He seemed confident that he’d do just fine on the range.  We’d see soon enough. Continue reading

Too Much Gun Pointing?

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[Photo Credit: Alan Diaz, Pulitzer winner, for the AP (2000)]

Merriam-Webster (online): “at gunpoint – under a threat of death by being shot.”

Executive Summary: Why are guns pointed at people? On occasion, to shoot them. More often, to compel compliance with the gun pointer’s command (to cease unlawful or threatening activity and/or to initiate directed activity). Gunpoint command/compliance as a “technique” or “tactic” is frequently unsuitable, as a failure to comply (mere flight included) ought not be responded to with the use of deadly force.  [Because the MAY and SHOULD (elements of my deadly force paradigm — see related links below) are not satisfied].  For LEOs sued for “excessive force,” the propriety of gun-pointing will increasingly be a jury question. For the non-sworn, gun-pointing is strongly disfavored even when lawful, as it requires significant training, skill, and discipline..

Recent incidents of gun-pointing revived one of my long-held (about 15 years) firearm related observations:  Guns are pointed at people way more than they need to or should be pointed — by LEOs and the non-sworn.  (For a related MSW post, click: “CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE NON-SWORN : HOLDING SOMEONE AT GUNPOINT.”  I touched on the subject for LEOs as well, click: “THREATENING DEADLY FORCE : MUSINGS ON “BRANDISHING” AND “WARNING” SHOTS.” For my thoughts on gun fighting and shooting people (who need to be shot), click: “A SHORT ESSAY : WINNING IS EVERYTHING . . . AND THE ONLY THING,” and “MAY/MUST QUESTIONS ANSWERED CORRECTLY. . .SHOOT FIRST, LIVE”). Continue reading