Here I am blending a grip safety for a student. This is normally far beyond the scope of the class, but this student has been carrying this pistol on duty and I couldn’t bear to see the frame cutting into his hand any longer.
Last month, we trekked out to the last frontier known as the State of Alaska, to do a 1911 Advanced Armorer’s Course to the fine folks at Anchorage PD. I enlisted the help of Colt 1911/M16 Armorer Instructor Dean Caputo to help me out with getting some of the guns to run correctly. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that though the agency authorizes the carry of 1911s to folks who meet their requirements, the vast majority of the SWAT guys in our class chose to carry something a bit more modern and forgiving of the extreme elements in which these guys work.
As usual, the class began with an overview of the 1911 pistol, its variants, and basics on how to detail strip the pistol to its component parts and put it all back together. Since we had different makes throughout the 24 student class, the varied approaches different manufacturers use to build the guns (e.g. different FP block devices, built in locking devices, etc.,) required many students to modify their approach from what John Browning originally had in his mind. Continue reading
Raven Concealment’s Eidolon holster is one of the few concealed carry products that have actually lived up to its Internet hype.
Appendix-In-The-Waistband AIWB carry has been all the rage on the Interwebs and social media for quite a while now, and for good reason. It is fairly easy to conceal in this manner and it is extremely easy to deploy from the position. Though retention is a little different from this position than traditional strong side or behind the hip IWB, the carry position is viable if it is comfortable for you. Unfortunately, after trying about half a dozen different holsters, I have yet to find AIWB anything less than extremely uncomfortable. That is, until now.
Most of you have already heard of the Eidolon by Raven Concealment Systems. While AIWB holsters are certainly not new, RCS has taken a new modular approach and incorporated some innovative features into an amazingly comfortable design. When I first read about it, I was skeptical as to its claim as a game changer, especially since AIWB has always been uncomfortable for me. For whatever reason, after carrying the Eidolon in AIWB format every day since picking one up at SHOT Show this January (2015), I am continually surprised to find that this holster is quite comfortable to carry day in and out. Continue reading
The Pelican 1910B is just slightly bigger than the Streamlight Microstream. It still disappears when clipped to a pocket or in your waistband. A convenient carry spot is in the dead space on the waistband directly adjacent to your holster.
Continuing with my never ending search for an ultra low profile, easy to carry, yet functional off-duty handheld light, we will be taking a look at the Pelican 1910B. Last week I wrote about the Streamlight Microstream, which worked well enough to get out of most jams. Some commenters on the social media page turned their nose up to Microstream’s meager 35 lumen output. While puny compared to some of the 500 lumen beasts out there today, let me point out that not all that long ago we carried lights powered by D-cell batteries that didn’t put out much more light than that of the Microstream, and with a crappier beam.
The Streamlight Microstream is a small and functional flashlight that is significantly easier to carry than many other popular options.
As I get older, injuries from overall wear and tear pile up. Coupled with the strong desire to be able to enjoy day to day activities without carrying 20 pounds of bulk with me wherever I go, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to streamline my day to day load out. I am a strong proponent of carrying some sort of white light everywhere I go. In addition to any potential “tactical” uses, I find it at least as handy from a utilitarian perspective than a folding knife. For the past couple of years, I have been carrying the Surefire E1B Backup, which has served me well. It is durable and bright, but due to its width, I still find it somewhat cumbersome to carry when wearing casual clothing that isn’t made by a brand whose name starts with a 5 and ends with an .11.
Here’s an easier way to disengage the Beretta 92FS safety, thanks to Ernest Langdon. I’ve been doing it a much harder way all these years.
A couple months ago, I attended Ernest Langdon’s Advanced Tactical Pistol Skills class. It was a good reminder that this thing called “practice” is required to maintain the proficiency at which I have become accustomed to performing. Suffice it to say, I had an eye opener. Last week, Ernest came back to do another class and I was one of the first in line to attend. Among the many little nuggets of information I picked up over the past two classes, one that particularly stood out was the safety manipulation on the Beretta 92FS. While I haven’t had a ton of time on the pistol, I had shot it a little since it is the standard issue pistol at work. I had always deactivated the safety (should it be inadvertently engaged or during de-cock process) by flicking it in an upward arc motion with my thumb. Of course, this compromised my grip and was not a particularly efficient or comfortable movement. During class, Ernest mentioned the proper way to deactivate the safety, which is simply to swipe the lever in a downward arcing movement with the strong thumb and the lever will snap up into fire position. Maybe I had been living in a cave for all these years, but this was new to me, so I am sharing it with all of you.
In the meantime, consider training with Ernest at any of his upcoming courses. You’ll have a great time and learn a ton.
SOURCE: Langdon Tactical
The Safariland 6004 is likely the most popular holster for modern law enforcement professionals.
With the prevalence of the Safariland 6004/6280 duty holster in modern law enforcement applications, it still shocks me that there are so many LE folks that still draw from an SLS equipped holster in the most inefficient manner. The Self Locking System (SLS) is the commonly seen rotating hood system that largely eliminated traditional snap holsters in modern holster systems. Technically classified as a Level II retention system (meaning it requires two actions to defeat the retention device), the SLS has pretty good security and can be disengaged with a single motion. Unfortunately, I still commonly see officers whåo draw from an SLS using two or more motions to disengage the hood before ever lifting the gun out of the holster. Continue reading
A properly designed fiber optic front is sufficiently durable for hard use. And in the unlikely event the fiber is damaged, the front sight blade is still usable.
Frequently, I am asked what sight configuration I prefer on a duty pistol. Most of those in law enforcement prefer tritium sights as that has what they have been taught as being the best to use in case of a low light encounter. While I am certainly not here to say that tritium inserts are a poor choice, they are not mine. My favorite choice of insert for a front sight is a fiber optic front with a black rear. I find that in most daytime lighting conditions, the front fiber is able to gather enough light to glow as bright as an Aimpoint dot. It is extremely easy and fast to acquire, and has held up quite well for me in work and off-work applications.
Recently, Frank Proctor posted an excellent article on this very topic on the RecoilWeb website. His article outlines some of the durability concerns as well as the advantages of the use of the fiber optics on pistol sights. The short of it is that if you’re carrying a pistol, you should have a light either with you, or attached to the gun. And if the fiber breaks or falls out, the front sight is just as usable as any set of non-illuminated irons.
Read Frank’s article HERE.
These ordnance drawings reproduced in high quality by Nicolaus Associates are a must have for anyone who works on 1911s or is simply a fan of the platform.
I periodically get inquiries from former students and visitors of this site asking if their 1911 is in or out of spec. With countless manufacturers of the 1911, and even more aftermarket suppliers making slides and various small parts, without the original source material (the original blueprints,) it is hard to tell whose parts are in spec and whose is not. The resource I used in the past were the Kuhnhausen Manuals. Unfortunately, the drawings are not complete and contain some typographical errors. A few years back, a buddy of mine turned me on to the original 1911 ordnance drawings available from Nicolaus Associates. Continue reading
Ernest Langdon demonstrates the nuances of the emergency reload.
One of the things about the shooting community is that it is small, and anyone who has been in the industry for any period of time knows each other. I have had the pleasure of knowing Ernest Langdon for over a decade, and have always found him to be a genuine, down-to-earth, personable guy who just happens to have top shelf shooting skills. Sadly, I never had the opportunity to get on the range with him. So when a buddy invited me to sign up for Ernest’s Advanced Pistol Skills course that he was hosting for a private group of local LE guys, I jumped on it.
Unlike the “typical” competitive shooting champ, Ernest also has quite a bit of experience with which to frame the mechanical skills he’s developed over the years. In addition to winning more titles than I can count (without taking my shoes off), Ernest has a significant background including serving in various capacities in the Marine Corps as a Sniper School instructor and the HRP course. Ernest is the founder of LTT (Langdon Tactical Technologies) and is the guru when it comes to the Beretta 92/M9 platform. I was lucky enough to have him tune up a trigger on my personal 92FS years back and it is one of the smoothest triggers I’ve ever felt on a 92. (Thanks to his partnership with Wilson Combat, you can now have a similar trigger on yours as they do custom work on Beretta 92s now.) Continue reading
These Aimpoints are over a decade old and have been treated in the worst ways. Despite their external appearance, they still hold zero and work like new.
Loyal readers of MSW and the old 10-8 Forums know that Hilton and I have been longtime fans of Aimpoint red dot sights. Having seen all kinds of optics show up in classes and on the range, along with how they perform through training cycles consisting of fairly high round counts, Aimpoint really has set themselves apart from the rest in terms of reliability and durability. Continue reading
Hilton covered Raven Concealment’s new Eidolon, but it deserves another mention here. In a world where most simply imitate, Raven Concealment continues to innovate and turn new ideas into great products. The Eidolon is an ambitious new design and concept, and we look forward to running this new holster.
Over the past week or so, Hilton has done a great job covering most of the notable new items that had relevance in our world. As he mentioned, over the years we have learned that this annual congregation of the shooting industry is far more about maintaining and developing relationships with great people rather than obsessing over the coolest new swag being passed around.
But still, this blog is about equipment. So in addition to what Hilton posted, here are a few products that also deserve mention, in no particular order: Continue reading
SendMeAmmo.com guarantees regular delivery of top rate ammunition at a reasonable price.
With all the goings on in today’s politics, I am constantly reminded of the tenuous nature of shooting as a hobby. Looming regulations combined with increasing demand for copper and brass drive many folks to hoard ammunition simply when it is available, let alone when it is cheap. Only recently has 9mm production caught up to demand. Not long ago, .223 Remington went for as much as $2000/case on Gunbroker during the height of the scare in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. Building up a stash of spare ammo was really the only effective way to insulate yourself from the ever fluctuating supply and demand of practice or hunting ammunition. Until now. Enter: SendMeAmmo.com.
Cantilever mounts allow Red Dot Optics to be mounted far enough forward so that a magnifier can be mounted with proper eye relief.
A few weeks ago, a reader emailed to ask for an article regarding preferred Aimpoint mounting locations on carbines. I have always done what just seemed right to me and had never put much thought into it. But apparently there was some method behind my madness, so here are my thoughts on the topic. Note that much of this is based on personal preference, so you may want to adjust to your needs.
The first point of consideration is whether I am mounting a full size Comp M68 or a Micro. The Micro is an excellent evolution of the sight and offers outstanding battery life, durability, in a lighter and more compact package than the M68. However, the viewing window is indeed smaller which, to me, changes some things as to how my eye picks up the dot when I mount the rifle.
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.
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