Practically Tactical

I had a fellow in a class back in the spring who showed up in head to toe multicam.  He wore a shemagh, a plate carrier, Oakley gloves, and Salomon boots.  He carried a state of the art LWRCi rifle, complete with BAD lever, 45 degree sights, EoTech and magnifier.

He had a very narrow stance, and when he fired more than a couple shots in a string, he would begin to rock back throwing his shots out of the 3×5 card at seven yards during rapid strings. Continue reading

SIG SAUER announces the release of a factory P220 in 10mm

As first reported midweek by SIGforum.com, SIG Sauer has announced that a 10mm version of their venerable P220 will be released at the SHOT Show in January.

The fascination with a 10mm P220 first started with Bruce Gray of Grayguns, Inc, who accepted a challenge that the P220 10mm conversion “couldn’t be done”.  Bruce made limited conversion runs of all steel P220 .45 ACP pistols to 10mm.  This was a painstaking task as it took quite a bit to get the pistol chambered in .45 ACP to run the 10mm reliably.

The P220/10 will be have both SAO and DA/SA configurations, and will be available in 4.25 and 5 inch lengths.  It will be based upon their all steel P220 Elite series of pistols as it is being reported.

Iron Sight Myths, Misconceptions, and Stuff, Part 1: Three Dot Sights

At some horrible, fateful point in the late 80′s or so, the 3 dot sight system assumed the throne of its seemingly never-ending reign of terror. Yes, I hate 3 dot sights, and so should you.

The basic rationale behind the 3 dot sight system is that it speeds up sight alignment by allowing you to theoretically line up the dots and fire. It’s not so simple, and let’s look at some of the issues.

Do I line up the top plane of the sights or the 3 dots when I aim? You NEVER ever ever ever ever ever line up the 3 dots to aim. Ever. Well maybe that’s a bit broad, but novice shooters should just reread that and stick with it. The 3 dots serve only to theoretically speed sight acquisition, but there is no guarantee that the 3 dots are actually in a correct line relative to your point of impact, so there is no reason to use them in such a manner. The most accurate and correct work is always to be done with the top plane of the sights. The only real exception is if you are in pitch darkness and the only elements you see are your 3 glowing tritium dots. However, that is fodder for a different article so don’t steal my thunder for part 27 of this series.

Those 3 dots are so easy to see and line up! When the gun is clean and you are dry firing in a relaxed manner in perfect lighting, sure. Once you start shooting, the front sight – where your attention should be – starts to get dirty from muzzle blast and the nice clean rear dots really jump out at your eye instead. When white outlined tritium dots age, it is easy to end up with three dots that are different colors and shapes thanks to paint outlines fading and chipping. Your eye wants a single area of focus, not three different ones.

Under stress you can line up the dots wrong by putting your front sight outside the two rear dots. Well I suppose that could happen, but go try it right now and look how wildly wrong the pistol needs to be aligned to have that happen. A little more dry fire time is in order if this happens to you regularly.

You’ll notice that the pistol in the photo above has the two rear dots blacked out with magic marker. It is a cheap fix, and one that I recommend be done on every factory sight set. This simple trick was passed on to me years ago by friend and mentor Ken Hackathorn, a guy who has forgotten more about handgunning than most will ever know. Marker does rub off easily, but the advantage of using marker instead of paint is that the rear tritium inserts will glow through the ink if you still want to use the tritium. Try this little trick and you may find that your front sight suddenly jumps out at your eye when you shoot.

HK VP9, Range Time Impressions

I finally managed to squeeze in a serious range session with my new HK VP9. I shot the gun completely stock with the exception of blacking out the two dots on the rear sight with a black marker. Holster rig was a pair of Comptac P30 mag pouches and their P30 paddle holster with the retention backed out a bit. It worked out well enough in a pinch, but a different holster is forthcoming. Continue reading

One Weird Trick To Shoot Better

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am here today to share with you a trick that the “BIG SCHOOLS” don’t want you to know.  If you don’t want to shoot better like a NAVY SEAL in just two hours, please leave this blog now.  This is for those who are serious, for those who want instant improvement in their practice.  This one “Weird Trick” discovered by a stay at home mom wanting to learn to defend herself from the upcoming zombie apocalypse.  Please, stay until the end of this blog if you are serious.

This one “weird” trick is called PRACTICE.  There are no slick fixes.  There are no pills, no potions that will take a D class shooter, and make them a Master class.

It seems the “ONE WEIRD TRICK” “HOW TO LOSE BELLY FAT WHILE EATING PIZZA THREE MEALS A DAY” or “FIND OUT THE REAL REASON OBAMA WANTS YOUR GUNS” meme has started to lurk into the firearms community. The sideshow barker lures you in with an instant cure for diabetes from an ad showing a Jelly Doughnut. Or warns you that “For those not serious about defending your family with the tricks of real world special forces operators need to leave this video now” all the while showing a bearded, multicam clad meat eater with his face blacked out.

I get that the firearms community has been hawking stuff for years with the claim of making us better and faster.  Variations of the sights that I call the “Alien versus Predator” sights that claim that it makes you faster on target.  Yet, every special ops unit and top tier competitor I know is using standard sights.  Some with a fiber optic front, some with a standard front blade.  If these huge, colorful sights that come together making an homage to the pharaohs were so good, you’d think they’d be on every gun in USPSA,, and CAG would order 500 sets of them.   Apparently, these folks haven’t discovered how fast these sights make you.

There is no magic fix other than practice. The more you dry fire, the more you practice, the better you will become. Say it with me, the faster you will become. Recently, I had a buddy of mine who is just getting back into shooting USPSA after a lay off come to me with a question.  At his last match, he won his division by a hair. He said that he sucked, but everyone just sucked a little more than he did that day. He was concerned that some of the younger guys were faster than him. He was sure that he was too slow, and wanted help putting a plan together to get faster. I asked him when the last time he devoted 15 minutes to dry firing and he replied “Oh, I have not practiced in months”.  There your problem, you’ve got mud in your tires.

We as a nation seemed to be fixated on quick fixes. Time and practice makes us better.

The one “WEIRD TIP” is the same that it has been for decades. Practice. Train with a plan.  Dry Fire. You’ll like the results.

THE POLICE MARKSMAN —- CURRENT ISSUE : LEO, GET SOME!

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Current Issue

Officer Down” column (last article link below in list) — a must read comprehensive analysis of an OIS, with a buffet of food for thought.   This one has particularly important lessons for traffic stops and other encounters where repeated challenges are issued to a non-compliant. In one case where a non-compliant subject was holding a weapon, a federal appeals court said: “We accept for the present purposes that, once past Sergeant Carr, Montoute never turned to face him again, and Montoute never actually pointed the sawed-off shotgun at anyone. But there was nothing to prevent him from doing either, or both, in a split second.   At least where orders to drop the weapon have gone unheeded, an officer is not required to wait until an armed and dangerous felon has drawn a bead on the officer or others before using deadly force.” The case, Mountoute v. Carr, is here.

Kyle Dinkheller, EOW 1/12/1998:  The dashboard video is here.  Watch it and then read the column.  As Rod Serling would say, submitted for your approval:  Repetition makes good practice, but in the real world, use it at your own risk.

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Disclosure:  PM once (IIRC, in a prior century) sent me a box of 45 Auto +P Federal® Premium 230 HST, for free.  I have most of the box left.

Stay safe,  whether in or out of uniform.

Revisiting the Glock Factory Extended Slide Stop

When I first started running the Gen 4 Glocks, I was fairly insistent that due to the shorter fore/aft size of the new frame, I no longer needed to use an extended slide stop with the guns. All of my Gen 3 Glocks sport some type of extended slide stop, but now with the slightly smaller Gen 4 frame I had found that my thumb was better able to reach the standard length slide stop. That all worked great until one day where I trained in the pouring rain…. Continue reading

HK VP9, First Impressions

So I got an HK VP9 recently and got a chance to stare at it a bit, handle it, and get some impressions of it.  This new offering, essentially a striker fired P30, has been hotly anticipated as it is the first striker fired gun out of HK since they started the ball rolling in 1970 with the very first polymer striker fired gun, the VP70. Continue reading

Glock Pistols and the Grip Pressure Conundrum

For the early part of my on again/off again relationship with the Glock pistol, I had fits that I could shoot those little bitty, caliber and half sized groups at seven yards with repeatable boredom.  The problem I experienced, along with many others it seems, is that the group was consistently to the left of point of aim.  I am a right handed shooter.

I started becoming a serious student of the Glock seven or eight years ago due to work.  I fought it, aimed to the right for qualifications, and drifted sights as a solution.  The most frustrating thing is that when ball and dummy drills are introduced, no movement would be observed in the front sight.  It drove me crazy.

Then about six or so years ago, I was helping out with a cadet class at the state police academy when I observed the same thing with a group of cadets.  Right handed shooters were grouping left, and left handed shooters were grouping to the right with no visual clues during ball and dummy drills.

I went home and began to isolate parts of the shooting sequence to see if I could not figure it out.  Eventually, holding the gun with only pressure on the front strap and back, I began to hit point of aim/point of impact.  Eventually, I found out that I could death grip the gun as hard as I wanted as long as I only placed grip pressure squarely on axis of the front strap to the back strap with no side loading.

Some people have called the problem “Glock milking”, or simply milking the grip on a Glock with the strong hand.  I don’t believe the terminology is quite right as milking will manifest itself in some sight movement during ball and dummy drills.  This is not the case with introducing side load into the strong hand of the pistol.

Some folks have successfully countered the issue with stronger pressure on the support hand of the pistol.  It does seem to be hit and miss, however.

All I try to do is this.  With the strong hand, I place a moderate amount of grip on the pistol to support it out in front of me.   The support hand fills in the gaps and provides 360 degree pressure on the gun.  I put just enough pressure front to back that a magazine of shooting will leave a checkering imprint on the meat of my my palm under the thumb.  I also found that in placing pressure front strap to back strap it gives me extra lock out on the strong side wrist, stabilizing the gun shot to shot for faster sight return.

 

Chasing Our Tails?: Polymer Service Pistol Mods

 

Two bone stock pistols which will get the job done, even if they are not extra cool or super fun.

In Tim’s recent article on modifying modern polymer service pistols, many questions came up which I want to now address a little more in my usual nuts and bolts technical manner. I have spent more than my share of time building custom 1911s and working on/with/around polymer service pistols, and have put quite a bit of thought into the whole topic of modified pistols.

The bottom line for pistol modifications is making the gun work better for you. In the custom 1911 world that meant reliability, sights, and trigger, in that order. Everything after that is just fluff and fun. To keep the scope of this article a bit tighter, we’ll focus on the two most popular polymer service pistols, the Glock and M&P. Continue reading

Army Resumes Search for New Service Pistol

Photo: FoxNews.com

A recent article on FoxNews.com indicated that the Army is looking for a new “more powerful” service pistol to replace the aging fleet of M9′s and M11′s in DoD inventory. It is of interest that the effort is potentially aimed at a larger caliber while domestic LE is starting a move away from .40 toward the 9mm. What do you think of this project?

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.

Continue reading