Last week, I wrote about the nine-millimeter’s return to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, who had shunned the performance of that round nearly two decades ago. While perusing some of the comments and emails I received in response, I found a link to an excellent article in POLICE Magazine titled 9mm vs. 40 Caliber. While I don’t enjoy the typical pistol caliber debate, as you can find these ad nauseum on any Internet gun forum, the article goes in depth into wounding mechanisms and the mechanism of “stopping power”. Also of note is that the article was authored by a trauma surgeon. Here are my takeaways from the piece.
One of the results of the fabled and oft studied Miami Shootout of 1986, where two FBI Agents lost their lives when attempting to take down two violent felons, was the conclusion that the 9mm round used by agents at the time failed to adequately perform its job to incapacitate its target. As a result, the .40 caliber round rose from the aftermath and eventually worked its way into law enforcement agencies across the nation, with the notion that it had the “capacity of a 9mm, and the stopping power of a 45.” But this alleged increase in terminal performance did not come for free. Over the years, the louder report and snappier recoil made it hard for many trainees and officers alike to qualify, the ammunition costs more (than 9mm), and there is increased wear on the pistol (as well as the hands and elbows of the shooter.)
Fast forward to 2014, and the same agency that shunned the 9mm two decades ago issued a solicitation for a family of 9mm pistols for its agents. This is not surprising, as I have always found the 40 caliber to have a very snappy recoil that was more fatiguing to shoot for extended periods of time than even a 45 caliber pistol. I found that 40 caliber pistols were more accurately characterized as “the stopping power of a 9mm with the recoil of a 45.” I say that in jest, but what I have learned is that with decades of advancement in ballistic technology, high performance handgun rounds in any major service pistol caliber have performed adequately in testing and the field, given the limitations of handgun calibers as a whole. Continue reading
For the better part of the past 20 years, I have been a big fan of Oakley eyewear for use on and off the range. They aren’t cheap, but good equipment is rarely inexpensive. Luckily for first responders or military, the price of much of the Oakley lineup is significantly reduced through their Standard Issue program. Those who prefer glass lenses look elsewhere, but I like polycarbonate lenses as the weight of glass tends to give me a headache over time. Oakley glasses are designed to be optically correct and offer industry leading protection against UV and debris. The only downside to polycarbonate lenses are that they scratch more easily than glass, so routine handling should be done with care.
Around the beginning of this year, Oakley released their line of PRIZM lenses, which were advertised to enhance contrast for various activities, including golf and shooting. In the past, I had preferred the VR28 lenses for high contrast, and eventually migrated to Positive Red Iridium, which also has a fancy reflective red coating. Having been happy with the Positive Red lenses, I didn’t rush to go out to try the new PRIZM offerings. Continue reading
Readers of MSW know that we are big proponents of SIRT training pistol, developed by Next Level Training, for a variety of reasons. Primarily, it allows for a high volume of training, removing many barriers to entry, and removes the possibility of introducing live ammunition into your pistol when performing dry practice. In addition, when integrated into live fire training at the range, it can bring out and correct trigger control issues in an incredibly efficient manner. Up until now, the SIRT 110 model (Glock format) was the only format available. While shooting is 99% sights and trigger, and regardless of the external shape of the tool, the skills developed by the 110 will translate over to any format pistol, there was a continued demand for other common service pistol formats. After clearing more than a couple production and design hurdles, Next Level Training has finally released the SIRT 107: the M&P Model.
I’d like to start by apologizing for the slow rate of articles as of late. Many real life events are conspiring to keep some of our authors and me from the keyboard.
This latest topic was born from a recent email I received from a couple readers asking about whether or not Glocks shoot left, and if it is something about which he should be concerned. While I would not describe myself as a Glock guru, though it is currently my preferred sidearm for work and play, I have seen a few of them on the range over the years, and have spoken with some knowledgeable individuals. Here is my take on the issue, for whatever it is worth.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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