About Tim Lau

Tim Lau has over a decade of LE experience as an end user, armorer and instructor. He has worked for several well known firearms training organizations, and holds multiple firearms instructor certifications. He owns and operates 10-8 Consulting, LLC, which provides industry consulting services as well as marksmanship and specialized firearms training to law enforcement and military personnel.

Training Speed with Accuracy

Three pistol targets after some training of speed while still being accountable for accuracy. Photo courtesy of Shin Tanaka.

I was recently surprised by the insight of a Facebook post on the topic of balancing speed and accuracy in training. Not surprisingly, however, was that it came from my buddy, Shin Tanaka. A USPSA Limited Class Grand Master, gifted machinist, 1911 gunsmith, and contributor to Recoil Magazine, Shin is about as well rounded as they come. His post caught my attention as it quantifies a method of balancing your speed and accuracy when it comes to training. According to his post, using USPSA scoring zones, he uses the point system in USPSA to measure whether or not he is being too conservative or pushing his limits. So assuming 5 points for A zone, 4 points for BC zone, and 3 points for D, and 0 points for a no shoot or miss, Shin uses a percentage score to determine whether or not he is pushing his limits. 93-97% of max score is the goal. Above 97% means you need to push the speed harder, and 93% means you need to dial back the speed.

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Technical Competence

In my firearms training, I have always placed a high value on technical competence. This is not because I don’t recognize the importance of judgmental shooting training. The two go hand in hand. But technical skill and the confidence that results gives the officer or citizen precious time to make that critical decision under pressure. Confidence lowers stress levels and fosters better decision making. I truly believe that many officer involved shootings that have gone wrong were due to the officer panicking because they did not have confidence in their skillset. They felt that they were “behind the curve” and therefore had to react “faster”, which could result in a questionable shooting. Continue reading

Skill Drill: Emergency Reloads

One of my responsibilities at the job that pays my bills is to write the monthly qualifications for our personnel. I am always trying to come up with suitably practical, challenging, and reasonable standards. My goal is always to challenge folks to improve their skillset without demoralizing or frustrating them, which is always a fine line. Continue reading

Recommended Reading

I was recently going through my bookshelf throwing away some old catalogs and magazines and came across a few gems that I particularly enjoyed reading, not only because they were entertaining, but had a good amount of educational value as well. None of these books are exactly hot off the press, but if you’ve missed any of these, do yourself a favor and grab them from Amazon. Continue reading

Review: First Spear Nylon Duty Magazine Pouches and the Missing Link

First Spear’s Missing Links turns any MOLLE attachment accessory into a belt mounted accessory. The pictured pistol magazine pouch offers excellent combination of speed and retention.

Back in the day, I was a huge fan of Eagle Industries, a family-owned “tactical” nylon company with then forward thinking designs. They brought us products such as the MC-CIRAS releasable vest and an excellent modular plate carrier system that I still use today. The company was eventually sold to ATK, who also bought out Blackhawk Industries and also owns Federal, Speer and CCI. They still make tactical nylon, but most of their products go straight to government contracts and is generally unavailable unless purchased on the secondary market.

One of the products I liked quite a bit was the FB magazine pouch. This kydex reinforced pouch features a cloth backing for retention. A velcro secured strap folds back to front which allows the user to decide whether each pouch needs the additional security of the flap. These are now hard to find, especially in a belt mount model. Most pouches now are made for MOLLE type webbing. Continue reading

In Search of the Perfect Pack: Vertx EDC Gamut

The Vertx EDC Gamut (shown here in Smoke Grey) is functional and fits into an urban setting without screaming “I’m tactical!”

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a sickness for backpacks. I’ve gone through the variety of tactical packs to include Eagle AIII packs in every conceivable color, the popular RAID pack, and countless other brands. One of my longtime favorites was the 5.11 COVRT 18 pack, which had quite a few well thought out features. Build quality wasn’t terrible, but it still left me wanting more. So when Vertx released their EDC Gamut pack, I had to have one. My first impressions after receiving the pack is that the build quality exceeds that of the 5.11 pack by a noticeable margin. It has a semi-flexible frame sheet that helps the pack stand and keeps its shape. Zippers glide smoothly (the 5.11 never had a problem in this regard) and materials are rugged where needed. So what about the design? Continue reading

Vendor Spotlight: 44MAG.COM

Even robust Glock magazines should be considered consumables.

It seems that magazines are always on the national stage when it comes to the debate on gun control legislation, and there are always forces focused on restricting “standard” capacity magazines to some arbitrary number in the name of public safety. It is not my intention to turn MSW into a political forum, so let me just point out that in an autoloading pistol, the magazine is a critical component. Without a magazine, our fancy modern service pistol is nothing more than a sophisticated single shot. Continue reading

Surefire P3X Fury

The Surefire P3X Fury makes 1000 lumens for over 2 hours. Good to have on hand in case you don’t have access to a tanning booth. Photo from Surefire.

It doesn’t seem long ago that the 500 lumen output of the SureFire 10X Dominator was more light than you would ever need. The Dominator was big, bulky, but delivered a retina searing amount of light. With the advancement in LED technology, we now live in the golden age of small, bright, and efficient handheld and weapon lights. A few of my coworkers have recently purchased Surefire’s new P3X Fury. A conveniently sized light for patrol operations, this little beast is powered by 3 DL123A lithium batteries that cost a fraction of what they used to back in the 1990s when I was still carrying my 6P that cranked out an amazing 60 lumens for almost an hour. In contrast, the P3X generates nearly 17 times more light for more than twice the time (1000 lumens for over two hours). While a bit big for daily carry, for those on the job it may be just the perfect searching tool. When’s the last time you were in the field and asked yourself, “Boy I wish my flashlight wasn’t so bright”?

SOURCE: Surefire, LLC

First Look: MDFA Kydex Holsters

Here are a couple holsters made by our very own MSW contributor Bob Henckel of MDFA.

Our loyal readers will recognize the name Bob Henckel as one of our regular contributors here at MSW. Bob owns and operates the Maine Defensive Firearms Academy and has recently reincarnated his Kydex holster operations. I was happy to discover this, as I’m always on the lookout for intelligently designed, functional kydex holsters. MDFA makes each holster to order, and the customer can select from over 50 colors and/or patterns available. The holsters are formed from .080″ Kydex, and can be had with 1.5″ or 1.75″ interchangeable belt loops. I chose two different rigs to try out: an IWB and OWB rig. The fit and finish are excellent, and every edge is hand finished. I’ll be carrying both over the next few weeks and will report back with my impressions. MDFA is still working on adding the holsters to the website, but you can order directly through them by hitting them through the contact portion of their site. Continue reading

More Musings on Modifying the Modern Polymer Service Pistol

Disturbingly, Hilton and I are both hearing more and more about failures on the range or in classes of heavily modified polymer pistols. There are more and more “shops” coming out of the woodwork advertising customization and enhancement of Glocks and M&Ps and not all are created equal. Many commonly offer CNC machine work or grip texturing to improve the handling characteristics of the pistol. Some other shops offer “improved” fire control parts to lighten and or improve the feedback of the trigger. Unfortunately, most of the time, modification of the factory fire control parts ends up meaning a decrease in reliability and/or durability of the weapon.

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Some Thoughts on Appendix Carry

There are more excellent holster products for Appendix Carry than ever before, like this JM Custom Kydex rig.

Over the past half decade, it seems that every instructor on the Internet is promoting appendix carry as their favorite CCW method, and there are good reasons. Appendix carry is extremely fast from which to deploy, and if you appropriately dress around it, it conceals quite well. Our friend Caleb Giddings wrote an excellent article covering some of the pros and cons of appendix carry, and I agree with his assessment that it is measurably faster than standard IWB carry. It also comes with some increased risks, especially during reholstering. As with anything, these risks can be mitigated with proper training. Continue reading

CompTac Holsters – 2 o’clock for M&P Shield

The CompTac Model 2 o’clock for the M&P Shield with J-hook belt loops

Over the past several months I have been putting the M&P Shield in 9mm through its paces on the range, and while it is not quite as shootable as a Glock 19, it is capable of good accuracy out to 25 yards, and the stock trigger is pretty workable. It’s not as fast or easy to shoot as the G19, and you lose half the capacity. However, in return for that sacrifice in shootability and firepower, you do get a concealable little pistol that you can carry in environments or clothing that may not conceal a bigger pistol. Yes, ideally I recommend dressing around gun carry, but sometimes that isn’t an option. Continue reading

Review: Hornady Practice 223 Ammunition

Hornady Practice 55gr Ammunition in .223, shot alongside Black Hills Mk262 for comparison. Test platform is a LaRue Tactical Stealth upper receiver atop an LMT lower receiver with Geissele SSA trigger group.

Demand for ammunition is as high as it has ever been, and in response, the big three have been cranking out cartridges as fast as they can. Many folks have reported a noticeable decline in quality control, noting function issues, or degradation in accuracy. Winchester “white box” and Federal XM bulk packs have been a staple of mine for training for a long time, and while quality has been generally pretty good overall, this seems to have been variable over the years. A while back, my good friend, Gunsite Instructor Giles Stock turned me onto a loading  that Hornady had put together specifically for law enforcement agencies looking for high quality training ammunition at a reasonable cost.  Continue reading

Quick Look: Do It Yourself Pinned Gas Block

The Pinblock Pro from 87 Industries allows a home armorer to drill and pin their own AR15 gas blocks with a vise and hand drill.

For a working gun, I am a big proponent of pinning the gas block to the barrel. Yes, there are excellent factory guns, such as those offered by LaRue Tactical, that attach the gas block via set screw. Having been at the LaRue shop more than once, I can say that their QC methods are better than 99% of anyone slapping together rifles in their garage.  I have not seen a LaRue OBR or Stealth come apart at the gas block, but I have seen gas blocks on other rifles work their way loose on the range. These days, gas blocks are typically hidden underneath an extended hand guard and checking the set screws for tightness is not easy. Suffice it to say, for a gun that I am building myself, I want my gas blocks pinned.

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Airsoft for Training?

A licensed Airsoft M&P from Airsoft GI alongside a customized 1911 frame with Simunition conversion kit, also customized with full dehorn, dovetailed sights, and refinish. The 1911 conversion kit is built on an actual Colt slide. It comes in at around $500 and that is before any of the above listed modifications.

Just the mention of the word “airsoft” and it will evoke images of an overweight mama’s boy fully covered in Multicam nylon manufactured and imported from your favorite third world country. In this article, it is my aim to critically examine whether or not the airsoft pistol has any place in serious training, or if it must permanently be relegated to a spot in an adolescent’s toy closet.

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