The Problem with…NOW!

Okay…what is he talking about….

Too often it has been my experience with law enforcement shooters (and competition too) that the need to pull the trigger “now” supersedes the requirement of hitting the target.  It’s like a building pressure in the mind that shooters will settle for less than an acceptable sight picture and blast off a round..or two..or three.  It’s almost as if a self gratifying sound and feeling overwhelms what the process should be. 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.

Top Cop Pistol Championship

The Top Cop Pistol Championship, April 19th, 2014.

What is the Top Cop Pistol Championship (www.topcop.org)?  The Broward Sheriff’s Advisory Council (an independent organization whose sole purpose is to raise money for the families of fallen officers and firefighters) thought there should be a pistol match where cops could shoot against each other regardless if they’ve competed in a sanctioned match (IPSC/USPSA, IDPA, GSSF, NRA, PPC, etc.)  They also felt the match would bolster inter-agency rivalries in a fun way and raise money with a Tribute Dinner to all who have fallen in Broward County, FL. Continue reading

Wilson Combat to Host Ernest Langdon in TX

Wilson Combat to host Ernest Langdon for Beretta 92 class in Texas. Image from Wilson Combat.

On the heels of the announcement of the collaboration between Wilson Combat and Beretta guru Ernest Langdon, Wilson Combat has just announced they will be hosting Ernest for a “How to Run a Beretta Handgun” Course at the Wilson Ranch in Cuthand, Texas. Die hard Beretta aficionados will immediately recognize Ernest as the industry’s most knowledgeable instructor on running and modifying the Beretta handgun. A prior member for the Beretta shooting team, Ernest’s competition career has earned him countless national IDPA and USPSA titles with a double action pistol. He also has extensive military experience as an end user and instructor.

Continue reading

Competition and the Tactical World..the end (Part IV)

Competition vs. the Tactical World:  Stage Planning and Wrap Up

So as we head into the final stretch of our exploration on why competition is good (no great) for the tactical world, we have one more area to cover.  I’d like to talk about stage planning and visualization.

There are several ways of stage planning so for most of this article I want to focus on USPSA style of stage planning.  “Well, what is stage planning?”  Good question.  In USPSA, at a match, the rules allow competitors up to five minutes to look over a stage, walk through it and air gun (not air guitar) as they walk through.  Let’s break down those parts. Continue reading

Competition Vs. The Tactical World part Tres…

Shooter ready?  Stand by…”beep!”  And they’re off…Bam, bam, run, bam, bam.  Crash..burn..oh crap.

What happened?  4 misses, 2 no shoots..but a smoking time.  So what?  Yeah, you were fast, but what did you hit?  But I was fast…Heard that scenario many times at matches.  But what about this one?

“Today in NYC, three bystanders were shot by police as they attempted to take down a murder suspect in front of the Empire State Building (true story).”  I don’t want to get into specifics on the brave LEOs facing an armed killer, since 20/20 hindsight is always easier than being there.   However, a lot can be learned from these kinds of events.

WARNING:  The following is based on my opinion and like your opinion, we all got one.  I ask you to check your ____ and continue to read.  YMMV… Continue reading

Part II: Competition vs. The Tactical World

Last time we left off on the crusade to make competition safe for the tactical world, we were making the case that stress introduced into shooting causes interesting results.  Being able to work through the stress of the timer will always improve your shooting ability.

I just got back from competing in a major international shooting competition where I saw and experienced different levels of stress.  The funny thing about stress (aside from actual physical stress) is that it’s only in the mind.  That’s right.  Stress is in the mind.  Stress has nothing to do with shooting.  Does it?  What constitutes shooting?  Lining up the sights and pulling the trigger.  No where in that equation does the word “stress” make an appearance.  “I hope I won’t miss”, “I suck at steel”, “I hate qualification” etc.  All mental problems that have nothing to do with shooting.  Being able to turn off the mental stress (conscious mind) and replace it with subconscious skill comes only with repeated practice.  However, you can practice and practice by yourself for eternity, but you need a way to test it.  That comes from shooting competitions. Continue reading

Competition vs. the Tactical World

“Don’t go swimming after you just ate a meal”, “You’ll get sick if you go outside with wet hair” and of course, “shooting competition will get you killed!” (from the Tactical Bible..)

Axioms to live by..or maybe we need to use critical thinking to get past what easily could be described as sacred mumbo jumbo.  Why?  In this four part series I’m going to present an argument on why competition is good for the tactical soul. Continue reading

SHOOTING STEEL, DRAWING BLOOD

If you shoot nonreactive (fixed) steel targets regularly where frangible ammunition is not required (it rarely is) or the steel has been shot a great deal (it usually has), you likely have been hit by ricocheting bullet or jacket fragments. My experience suggests one is usually hit from the shots of others, and to a much lesser extent from reactive steel.  (Ricochets also occur in indoor ranges when shooting paper targets, due to walls, floors, and metal objects downrange, or backstop integrity issues). Ricochets can be large, sharp, and travel at sufficient velocity to pierce skin and draw blood, sometimes even through a layer of clothing.  A bullet or jacket fragment can become embedded in an open wound at skin level or deeper, and can cause most types of wounds; laceration, incision, avulsion, or puncture. A puncture wound (also referred to as penetrating trauma) is the type most likely to do damage beneath the skin and require professional medical attention even though superficial bleeding is stopped.  I have seen each of those type wounds, and one likely arterial and two venous bleeds caused by fragment ricochets. Continue reading

First Look- GrayGuns P-Series Internal Extractor

For many years, the internal extractors in later model SIG P-Series pistols have been somewhat problematic.  The problems have been largely hit and miss, but were evident in some of the X5 pistols, as well as the P220 and others fielding the internal design.  SIG eventually switched out to the short external extractor, and currently to a long external extractor.

My mentor, Bruce Gray at GrayGuns, INC has been working on the problem for several years and has finally come up with a “fix” for the reliability issues with the internal extractor guns.  As can be observed in the video, the new extractor cleans up ejection and extraction, making it consistent and reliable.  The process involves fitting the new extractor to the individual pistol and tuning it for reliability.  The turn around time is about 10 days, and the cost for the modification is $200.

More information can be found at www.grayguns.com.

Made In The USA: Thorlo Socks

Socks are an often overlooked but important piece of kit.  The importance of high quality and application specific socks cannot be overstated, whether you are military, LE, hiker, hunter, urban walker, runner/jogger, competition shooter, or stand protective post or at a workbench for extended periods.  I have been trying different socks for some 30 years. Continue reading

The Misunderstood Double Action Shot

Many years ago, Ernest Langdon wrote an article entitled “Fear Not, The Double Action Shot”.  If memory serves me correctly, it was written shortly after he waxed all comers at the 2003 IDPA Nationals in the CDP category with a SIG P220. It was reading that article that started me down the road to where I am today. Continue reading

KMW SENTINEL™ Stock

My GAP built Surgeon actioned 6 Creedmore with Vortex Razor 5-20 scope

The amazing thing about the firearms industry currently is the vast array of options a person has to modify his/her weapon to their tastes or preferences. This variety is not limited to the adult Lego® of the firearms world, the AR15. There is now also a great market of accessories and options for precision bolt action rifles that’s growing rapidly. The biggest mistake I see many new shooters make with their first bolt action rifle purchase is making the assumption that all rifle stocks or chassis will fit everyone. This is sadly not the case. Each individual shooter’s length of pull, cheek structure, hand size, forearm length, and a number of other factors play into each shooter’s fit to a stock. There is always someone more than willing to tell any new shooter that the stock or chassis that they have is the only way to go. More often than not I watch online as shooters go from a stock to a chassis and back, continuously buying and selling stocks until they finally settle on one that is comfortable for them and fits their shooting style. Continue reading

Training without a target?

VTAC M&P with 10-8 rear sight and FDE base pad, 10-8 textured frame, Apex polymer AEK trigger and internals.

When you hit the range, do you use a target to document your performance?  What?!  Why am I even asking such a ridiculous question, you ask?  Of course we would consider it foolish to shoot without a target to measure our basic marksmanship performance.  Clearly there is a difference in performance between a 2 foot group and a 2 inch group at any given distance.  If that is the case, then why do so many “tactical” shooters reel against the thought of using other performance metrics beyond a paper target?   Continue reading

Steel Shooting and Target Transition Skills

Many of the folks in the “tactical” shooting crowd tend to dismiss competition shooting wholesale, and steel shooting is often considered merely a hosefest due to the inclusion of the large 18×24″ plates on some stages.  If you check out the above video, you will see that many of the common courses of fire are actually quite difficult, and are more like deliberate accuracy exercises that happen to work out at speed when you build up some skill.  I often shoot the monthly steel matches at my local club, and find that many shooters have trouble even hitting the targets on the first shot, much less be speedy on them.   Continue reading