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
In the south (I’m sure that it exists nation wide) there is a reckoning that comes with each pending snowfall. Every local store will be ravaged of its supply of milk and bread. The weather guessers can predict a light dusting, or 1-3 inches per hour all night, and near fist fights will break out over milk and bread. Now, mind you, the loaf of bread/gallon of milk crowd all know that it is winter. Kentucky winters are unpredictable at best. But, the potential for loaf of bread/gallon of milk always exists. And basic winter weather preparation doesn’t change. But, like some strange, unexplainable phenomenon, each time there is snow, a fist fight is in the works over who gets the last loaf of Wonder bread. It matters not that the day after this predicted one inch snowfall that it predicted to have a high of 52 degrees that day. Loaf of bread, Gallon of milk. Continue reading
Body armor and ballistic rated panels (for use in packs, briefcases, or other off-body use) are described best by the well-known Kafkaesque adage: It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. I don’t mock the “tacticool” nature of body armor, and I avoid debating the SWAT or military “wannabe” aspects of owning it. (I readily acknowledge you are not alone if you do). I think armored materials are something worthy of consideration for anyone who frequents gunfighting classes, shoots regularly, or because of employment or other lifestyle particulars, has concerns of going where negligent friendlies or armed hostiles might be present. The days of body armor being only for LEOs passed (somewhat quietly) years ago.
Executive Summary: Let’s default to my deadly force paradigm: If you CAN afford it, and CAN do what you need to do when it is deployed (adequately conceal it, run and move effectively, maybe in confined space, and shoot, with additional bulky kit, maybe 18 pounds worth), go for it. If you acquire it, study up on and observe the manufacturer’s storage and care specs for the particular product. Unless a specific federal, state, or local law prohibits the ownership of such products, the non-sworn MAY own/wear body armor and ballistic-rated materials. SHOULD you buy such products? That is for you the reader to answer, as is how/when to use it. If you buy, buy the best-tested you can afford which is convenient to deploy, fits properly, and can be stored and maintained to suit your lifestyle. Expect some ribbing from “friends.” How about the MUST? It is beyond question the products save lives. Yours and/or the life of someone you “cannot live without,” regardless of who is slinging shots. At the very least, overt soft armor and plate carriers provide convenient, user-friendly platforms to attach identifying patches, pouches, and other “things.” And plates do provide a good weight-bearing workout. Continue reading
After a great deal of disappointment at not seeing this pistol released at SHOT, we finally got our wish with last week’s release of the Glock 43, the single stack compact 9mm. Yes, I know we’re a few days late, but it gave us a few days to gather more info and ponder the long awaited introduction of the new compact Glock. Continue reading
Before I launch into the final installment of elbow issues for shooters, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to all those emailed and posted with suggestions for healing and their well wishes. I apologize for not being able to respond to all of the posts and emails, but I definitely take note of all of the advice which has been offered. This last article (for now, anyway) will go over some of the tools which I use to assist in self therapy.
The first important piece of kit for elbow pain management is a simple neoprene sleeve such as the one seen in the pic from the last article. A neoprene wrap does not inhibit mobility and helps keep the joint compressed and warm during activity. I typically wear one when I am shooting or handling firearms for any period of time. I have had better luck with this type of wrap than those pressure pad style bands which wrap around the forearm and stick a small gel pad on a theoretical problem spot on the arm. I have seen this work for some buddies, but the gel pad only provides a localized effect and does not help the rest of the joint. I found mine a waste of time and ended up throwing it away.
The next item has been an absolute game changer, and I must thank my long time friend Jeff Gonzales from Trident Concepts for turning me on to Voodoo Floss. I have included several links below for resources from Dr. Kelly Starrett, who is a key proponent of the Voodoo Floss bands. These elastic rubber bands are used to wrap and compress the problem joint. After wrapping, work the joint through the full range of motion, then remove the band. The combination of wrapping/compression, movement, and the rush of blood flow to the joint area has a restorative effect on range of movement and function. I had gotten to a plateau using just the strength development regimen from the previous article, and actually seemed to be regressing a bit when I attempted to PT hard in conjunction with the strength exercises. Adding in a daily pre-workout regimen with the Voodoo Floss, which I am able to do alone in about 5 minutes, has boosted my joint function and reduced the pain significantly. While I am not pain free, I can say with certainty that Voodoo Floss alone has done more for my elbow issues than all of other other modalities combined.
In addition to the Voodoo Floss, my daily joint therapy kit includes a pair of lacrosse balls. After flossing, I lay one ball on the ground, put my forearm on it, then press the other ball directly over the first ball, basically sandwiching the tight area of my forearm between the two lacrosse balls. This has been a very effective way to massage the forearms, and gets deeper than the foam roller I previously used.
A local LEO whom I’d met a several classes turned me onto the final secret weapon in my elbow therapy arsenal, the ArmAid. This nutcracker looking device allows you to stick your arm through the center of it and use your other hand to close the arms and provide pressure for massaging your forearm. It allows attachment of various rollers, and I use the orange deep tissue roller ball which provides good results. I use this device to provide additional relief after workouts or other elbow aggravating activity.
As caveated before, I am not a physical therapist, but I have been down this long road and hope that sharing my pain will help readers get a better handle on theirs. I have often been asked what I might have done differently to prevent all of the problems that I have now. I would suggest adding strengthening and mobility work into your training regimen in order to improve and prolong your time behind the gun or in the gym. Your elbows will thank you!
In my last article, I outlined a bit about my battle with the issue of elbow tendonitis. I will again caveat that I am not a medical professional nor do I play one on TV, and am only sharing my own personal experiences. During the last several years I had tried just about everything for my elbows – cortisone, physical therapy to include eccentric exercises, massage, ice, ultrasound, stretching, traditional strength building exercises, fascial scraping (Graston), and rest. The only common modality I had not tried was acupuncture, only because none of my health practitioners referred me to it. All of the attempted treatments worked acceptably until it came time to do those extreme activities such as opening or closing my hands and bending or extending my arms. As long as I avoided those movements, my elbows felt ok. Continue reading
Readers of this blog have likely seen my references to chronic elbow pain over the last several years. I am creeping up on my fourth decade of shooting, and the mileage has not been kind to me. Many of my peers who are shooters, trainers, or armed professionals have also reported a bout of elbow pain at some point or another. In this 3 part article series, I wanted to detail my trials and tribulations with elbow pain, and how I have been trying to address it. Continue reading
I previously posted “Louis Awerbuck Remembered” (HERE). (Click on the book above for the link to the Kindle at Amazon). I wrote there I might have more gems to relate. As promised:
- If you have the time, go for the potentially most effective target area. If you don’t, get whatever meat and bone you can get, and maintain continuity of fire until the deadly force threat is gone. Continue reading
Many of us struggle with a fast, efficient, and accurate first shot. One of the greatest problems I see with students seems to be the ability to drive the gun straight to the target. The presentation of delivering the gun to the target tends to get muddled with something other than a smooth, straight-like-it’s-on-a-rail presentation. Continue reading
After finishing the recent Top Cop Pistol Championship match, I reflected back on my performance and was very pleased to have been able to turn in very clean and consistent runs on all of the stages. I was coming into the match on the mend from chronic tendonitis in both elbows, and frankly was dreading having to shoot much at all. My elbows were still bad enough that during the meager 150 rounds at the official match practice day the week prior, I was not able to finish a single string without great pain. Knowing that I would be unable to complete rigorous live fire or even dry fire preparation for the match, I knew I had to resort to a novel approach – I would watch the sights and press the trigger cleanly. Continue reading
I like to use the word knowing in conjunction with the word CONFIDENCE. Is knowing and confidence the same? I’m going to talk about knowing in competition and the tactical world. So what is knowing? Knowing you have the confidence to make a shot. Knowing you can hit a steel target at 50 yards. At a 100 yards. In competition, having the confidence to take a 30 yard shot on a partial target because you’ve done your homework. You know what the sight picture looks like for that distance and what type of trigger pull you need. You’ve zero’d your gun and know where the rounds are going to land. Continue reading
The HK416D is the ultimate in the cool guy kit. I have been issued one for two years now. I was dead set against the 416 when we were looking. I was on the selection committee, and shooting the carbine was what won me over. Continue reading
The U.S. Supreme Court is once again considering a case which could significantly impact those who own firearms, both LEO and the non-sworn. (I previously wrote on the Abramski case, involving the ATF Form 4473 actual buyer rule, HERE and HERE). The recently submitted case, Henderson v. United States, arose in an interesting setting (equitable action for return of property under federal procedural rule), and has an unusual pedigree (the Court of Appeals decision is not officially published, and thus it is not precedential). Some have suggested Henderson reflects an irreconcilable conflict between federal statutes and a judicial rule. Others perceive it to be a forfeiture or 2nd Amendment case. I think it will not be decided as any of those. For a synopsis of the facts, and the legal issue(s) remaining after developments from the parties’ briefing, see the Henderson preview page at SCOTUSblog, HERE.
Like Abramski, Henderson was once an LEO (Border Patrol agent). He entered a guilty plea to marijuana trafficking, for which he received a six-month prison sentence. The narrow question “officially” presented to the Supreme Court was whether after federal conviction, a judge may order the government to transfer non-contraband firearms voluntarily surrendered (to the FBI) as a condition of pretrial release to: a designated person, such as one to whom the defendant has sold the firearms, or; someone (who might be influenced by the defendant) to sell them, for the benefit of the defendant. I think the Court may remand for further proceedings to implement the law/procedure it decrees. Whatever the actual holding, I hope the Court will: provide guidance from which firearms owners (whether or not criminally accused or convicted) and their attorneys can implement a plan to effect dispossession upon firearm disability, and; put to rest erroneous legal positions (FFL requirement for consignment dispossession, necessity for the government or a court to inquire of and approve dispossession arrangements) advanced by the government. Continue reading
If you have more than a couple rounds down the barrel of the AR15 platform, you should know the system works but isn’t necessarily the cleanest. For anyone who actually shoots their gun instead of keeping it clean and pretty, the cleaning of the bolt carrier group in particular is always a fan favorite. Your choices are to soak it in solvent of some type of spend a good amount of time with a scraper of some type trying to break through the layer of fossilized carbon built up around the gas rings on the bolt. This is where aftermarket finishes and treatments have come into play in recent years in an effort to battle the carbon buildup. I have never been a fan of the flashy silver bolt carriers shining through the ejection port of a AR. I made a habit of writing them off as flash as my AR’s had always run just fine without them. Continue reading