About Scott Ballard

Scott Ballard is an instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy with 25 years of experience working as a private security contractor and executive/dignitary protection specialist. His experience includes training and development of high-value/high-risk protective security details and corporate security teams. Scott has over 15 years experience as a security detail trainer that includes specialties such as protective tactics, firearms and less-lethal weapons, defensive driving and detail operations. Scott is a certified executive protection specialist, master firearms instructor, force-on-force instructor and range-master. He is also a member of the United States Concealed Carry Organization, the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network and is a life member of the NRA and SAF.

P224-9 SAS Hot Ammo – Update #4

I decided to use day three on the range to prove out the gun using a variety of self defense ammunition. It was an expensive trip.

I decided to use my third day on the range with the P224-9 to run off a bunch of self defense ammunition I have been sitting on for quite a while.  I wanted to know for sure that it will run with the hotter loads.  All totaled I ran another 2750 rounds through the gun and it is definitely time for a new recoil spring.  The break down is as follows:

500 rounds of 147gr Hydra Shok

250 rounds of Corbon DPX 115gr +P

500 rounds of Speer GDHP 124gr +P

500 rounds of Ranger T Series 124gr +P

1000 Rounds of M882 Ball

Continue reading

P224-9 The Conversion and More Range Time – Update #3

The start of another good day. 1000 rounds and a free range of steel targets. But that DAK trigger has got to go.

Day three started with a Delta Point on my P224-9 and 1000 rounds of 100gr frangible ammo.  While sighting in the red dot, I decided that I had enough of the DAK trigger system.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a great system, but it is just not for me.  I walked into the gunsmith room at the Academy and begged our Martian Ninja Helicopter Pilot/ Gunsmith Brett Martineau to make it better.  10 minutes later I had a DA/SA SRT version of the P224-9 in my hand and was ready for the remaining ammo. Continue reading

P224-9 SAS Comparisons and a Nit – Update #5

A problem is a problem, regardless of how easy it is to fix. This mag base was just too tight.

While it is a very minor problem and was easily fixed, I did run into a snag with the 12 round P224 magazines seating correctly while running the gun.  It was a problem particularly if I was doing a reload with retention where the slide was in complete lock up.  It turns out that the base pads on both magazines were slightly oversized.  If you look at the picture above, you can see a very tight fit, especially in the area where the base pad steps up to meet the grip shell.  I found myself periodically having to smack the bottom of the magazine to get it seated correctly.

Problem solved. But should it have happened in the first place?

I did not have to take much off of the base pads to get them to work better.  A few passes with a smooth cut file and I was done.  They insert properly in a single motion now and have only  slight bit of movement in lock up.

The rest of this update is a comparison in pictures.  According to each company’s web site, the P224-9 SAS weights 29 ounces dry; the Glock 19 weighs 21.6 ounces empty: the Glock 26 weighs 19.75 ounces empty and the M&P9C weighs 21.7 ounces dry.

P224 next to the M&P9C

P224 next to the Glock Model 26. (it is actually a G27 because one was handy, but they are the same size.)

P224 next to a Glock 19.

I have one more range session planned for the P224-9 and I will post those results once I am done.  I plan to go only to 5000 rounds with this gun.  I do not find anything smaller than a G19 or a  P228/9 comfortable to shoot for extended periods of time and I have no real desire to push it.

The SIG P224 – First Shots Update

I opted to go with 147gr ammunition with this short barreled gun.

My first range session with the SIG P224 consisted of a vetting process to ensure it was reliable enough for carry.  To me this normally means at least 1000 rounds of the carry ammo I intend to use, but I short stroked this one and did only 500 rounds and called good.

Continue reading

SIG P224 SAS

The SIG SAUER P224-9-SAS-DAK is one of several variants of the new P224 branch of sub-compact SIG SAUER Classic Line Pistols.

The new SIG SAUER P224 pistols are now making it to the market on a regular basis and this one is mine.  Holding true to all the quality, accuracy and ergonomic features of the SIG SAUER Classic Line pistol family, the P224 is the first of the sub-compacts for this line.

About the size of a G26, the 9mm P224 holds 12+1 in 9mm and 10+1 for the .40 and .357 SIg variants.  This particular model came with 2, 12 round magazines.  An added feature of the P224 is that it will accept and run the larger magazines from the P226 and P229 pistols.  A sleeve is in development to fill the gap between the mag base and the end of the grip for the P229 magazines.

The SAS, or SIG Anti-Snag, model has had all the sharp edges blended and since it is a DAK it lacks the de-cocking lever assembly. The DAK or, Double Action Kellerman, is a DA trigger system that runs at about 5.5# and does not stack.  It makes for a very smooth and consistent DA only trigger action. Combine that with the rounded butt, E2 Grip System, smooth edges and minimized slide catch lever and you have a very slick and concealable package.  Knowing that I can carry 30+1 rounds of 9mm between the gun and a single spare P226 magazine gives me added confidence in the gun overall.

There are several variations of the P224.  They, along with all the pertinent specs, can be found here on the SIG SAUER web site.

I’ll be shooting and hopefully carrying this gun over the next few months and will post updates as I progress.

Five Fundamentals of Self Defense with a Firearm

Once I had a student ask me what he needed to work on to be a good shooter.  Naturally, I gave him the standard, front sight focus and trigger finger discipline answer.  Drilling down on things there are only two things a shooter must do to hit the target.  Remain focused on the front sight and move the trigger to the rear without moving the muzzle.  I then asked him what type of shooting he wanted to do.  After some hesitation, he said, target shooting and some plinking.  He then added, “oh yeah, I want to be able to defend my family if necessary.”  Wow!  Way to bury the lead there guy. Continue reading

Problem Solving and Risk Management: Questions and Concerns

Are we teaching our students to plow through the problems head first or to apply problem solving skills to avoid, evade or at least mitigate the circumstances of an armed encounter?

I am given a lot of latitude where I teach.  I would like to think that I have earned the trust they show in me.  As such, I try very hard to avoid making stupid mistakes.  I also try very hard to teach my students to fight with their minds first.  Lately, I find myself wondering if “we” as instructors are doing justice to our students.  Are we teaching them to think and solve problems while mitigating risk or are we teaching good techniques applied without thought?

Case in point:  I recently wrote a new class for civilians that is all about protective shooting.  After all, if a person stops to think about it, carrying a concealed weapon is really about protection.  It only stands to reason that we should be teaching protective shooting techniques.  The class was your basic teach, demonstrate, do, drill style on day one.  However, on day two I took them all to a new training area and set them all up with Sims guns.  This is where some serious training scars came to the surface. Continue reading

The Liberator – Discreet AR-15 Gun Case

I recently swapped out my old truck for a new model.  Nothing all that exciting there except that I have had to re-fit all of my weapons and equipment in the new truck.  One thing that always drove me crazy about the old truck was the way I mounted my AR style rifle.  I had it in a roof rack over the back seat.  It was out of the way and secure, but nearly impossible to grab in an emergency.  It also stood out like a red dress at a funeral if you looked into the cab of the truck.  Because of this I opted to find a more suitable solution for what is, for me personally, required equipment in my truck.  Remember, it is not paranoid, it is prepared.

The Liberator easily fits my 16″ AR style rifle with Aimpoint red dot and Surefire X300 Ultra.

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Rogue Corps

The men (and Stanley the wonder dog) of Rogue Corps on the final day of instructor training.

On any given day at the academy I have the distinct pleasure of meeting people from all walks of life and with greatly varying levels of firearms experience.  Every once in a while I am taken off guard by one or two of them.  This past week, knowing fully what I was getting into, I was still taken aback and once again honored and humbled by the men from Rogue Corps. Continue reading

Geissele Automatics – Super Tricon Trigger

Every once in a while we have guest instructors come in to the Academy and teach their particular take on things.  It is a nice perk of the job to be able to meet many of them and hear what they have to say on the various topics we all deal with on a daily basis.  Several weeks back Jeff Gonzales of Trident Concepts stopped in to teach their Advanced Carbine class.  Other than having taken his class and met him a few times, I barely know Jeff, so I spend my time in the background listening to the conversation.  What came up during one lunch conversation was a discussion about AR platform rifle triggers and the new design TriCon had worked out with Geissele Automatics.  The Super TriCon Trigger. Continue reading

Springs and Cycles and Wear…Oh Crap!

Simple to find, easy to replace yet so often overlooked, magazine springs for shotguns are very often the cause of feeding issues in shotguns.

Operating on the assumption that modern shooters who care for their equipment keep track of their round counts, most of us track the lifespan of our wear and tear parts.  In this case springs will be the main focal point.  Have you ever counted how many springs are in your gun?  Ever consider how important each one is to the proper operation of your pistol, rifle or shotgun?  I know quite a few people who have never given it a single thought.  They just figure that if it still works, it must be good to go.  Scary thought process huh? Continue reading

It’s that time of year again…A Word of Caution

It is that time of year again where the sun is up longer and is more intense than we are used to in most cases.  With that in mind, please review the following and keep a close eye on your students and fellow instructors.

Heat Exhaustion (Mayo Clinic)

Heat exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe.

Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. Without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition. Fortunately, heat exhaustion is preventable. Continue reading

Review: Trijicon SRS Sealed Reflex Sight

The Trijicon SRS or Sealed Reflex Sight mounted to my 10″ SIG 516.

I had an opportunity pop up a few weeks ago that allowed me to get my hands on the new Trijicon SRS (Sealed Reflex Sight).  The 1×38 MIL-spec sight is about as rugged as they come.  It is a parallax free, reflex sight with a large 38mm aperture for maximum visibility in a short body. The 1.75 MOA red dot has dual power illumination with 10 brightness settings.  3 of those are NVG compatible.   The AA battery is mounted in line with the bore and assisted by the top mounted solar cell panel.  The large buttons for adjusting the brightness levels are located on the sides of the housing and are easily manipulated with or without gloves.  The overall build quality of the sight is what you would expect from a company such as Trijicon.  The sight is robust with a housing so rugged that seems like the demonic offspring of a fire hydrant and a manhole cover. Continue reading

BriteStrike Lights – Review

These BriteStrike lights are an affordable solution for those needing a tactical style pocket light.

I was busy spending a nice afternoon watching some streaming videos on the Panteo Productions web site (shameless plug) and came across one of the instructors using a BriteStrike hand-held white light.  At first I thought, great, another $300 flashlight that does what every other one does.  However in this case I was pleasantly surprised.  As I was checking out the BriteStrike website, I found their Blue Dot line of Mil/LE lights and decided they looked good enough to try.  Two days later, I had both BD-198-MH and a BD-180-MH lights in hand and ready for me to abuse. Continue reading

Combat Mindset – Aftermath

Few are prepared for what to do after using deadly force. Even fewer recognize this planning is part of your combat mindset.

I find it peculiar that nearly every person with whom I discuss the topic has failed to mentally prepare for the aftermath and subsequent fall out from the deadly force encounter.  The simple fact is that this timeframe is literally the rest of your life.  Many people spend thousands of dollars each year preparing for an event we all hope will not happen, but if it were to occur, would last a mere 3-10 seconds; and I am being generous with that time estimate.  The simple fact remains that most are simply not prepared for what will come afterwards.

It is an unfortunate, yet very real, part of our modern law enforcement and legal systems that the person who calls 911 first is the complainant.  Since you have been busy defending innocent life, you may not be able to be the first to call.  However, you certainly need to make that call.  Have you prepared your mind for what you will say?  Have you practiced it as much as you have your verbal challenges to your assailant(s)?  Have you practiced how to make that 911 call using your cell phone?  Smart phones are a wonderful addition to the world.  The fact still remains that they can be more complex to operate.  If yours has the ability to make a direct 911 call without unlocking, do you know how to do this? Continue reading