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

The 1+1 Reload Drill, Modified

15 yard 1+1 Drill, USPSA head box, from concealment.

One of my favorite drills is the 1+1 Reload Drill, which hits several core skills at once – draw to first shot, slide lock reload, and recovery to a followup shot.  I had previously detailed the par times for the “standard” version which is shot at 7 yards on a USPSA or IDPA target. The drill is a staple of my training regimen, and my performance on it gives me a metric for comparison of a given day’s session or how a new holster or gun is working for me. Continue reading

The Browning Hi Power: Yesterday’s 9mm Service Pistol

Known as the most evolved of John Moses Browning’s pistol designs, the Browning Hi Power is one of the most beloved semi-automatic pistols ever. And why shouldn’t it be? It was designed by the single most influential firearms designer in history, features a double-stack high-ish) capacity magazine, a grip suitable for small hands, and is chambered for the most popular service pistol cartridge in the world.

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FIRST LOOK: Taran Tactical Innovations Firepower Base Pads


Last week, I ordered several of the Firepower Base Pads for the Glock and M-16 magazines from Taran Tactical Innovations. For those who aren’t familiar with the competition world, Taran Butler is one of the biggest names in USPSA, holding such titles as USPSA National Tactical Champion, and more IDPA, Steel Challenge, and IPSC titles than I can count. Just before SHOT Show, Taran Tactical’s new Magpul Firepower Base Pad caught my attention. It adds less than an inch of length to the magazine but adds five rounds of capacity to the 30-round box. Since I was ordering stuff anyway, I also added a couple of the Glock Base Pads to my cart. A few days later, I had a box waiting for me in the mail.

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I previously noted in an MSW post the return of The Police Marksman.  You can read/download the latest issue, eBook style here.  In addition to the long running “Officer Down” column (the John Schoen incident), the current issue has articles on the XDM 5.25, shooting competition, use of extended magazines, and learning the mechanical offset of lasers.  Every issue contains good stuff for LEOs; the subscription price cannot be beat, so there is no $$$ excuse for not reading.


Embracing the Glock 22


Not long ago, this article could easily have been titled “Glock .40.  No.”  For most of the gun buying public, I would still say that buying any handgun in .40 is a wasted effort.  With the advances in 9mm JHP cartridges, the 9 gives up an inconsequential amount over the .40 in terms of performance.  For just plain shooting, you will be hard pressed to find .40 FMJ for as low a price as 9mm FMJ.  Add the additional recoil and wear on the gun, and the .40 is left as a rather distant second to the 9mm.  So why is my latest training gun a .40?  Well why not….. Continue reading


At the end of part one, I suggested a solo intervenor’s mission is driven by two goals: (1) Interrupting, containing, and deactivating the active killer, and; (2) communicating and identifying oneself as the “good guy” so victims, witnesses, and responding LEOs do not mistake an intervenor (you) for the active killer.  I didn’t suggest which of the two was more important.   That depends on the intervenor’s own analysis of the SHOULD and MUST.  I also purposely failed to mention something obvious: Time spent on the second goal delays implementation of the first, thereby diminishing the chance of an earlier, more lives saved intervention. Continue reading

Experience: Get Some

In this day and age of the internet, we have the world of information at our fingertips, and it is possible to learn about anything without even getting out from behind our keyboard.  Unfortunately, many consider this to be a substitute for experience and actually doing something rather than reading about it or watching it on Youtube. Continue reading


This post started out in draft (many months ago) as a review of the Panteao Productions video by Paul Howe, “Civilian Response To Active Shooters.”  (Click on the image to read some of Paul Howe’s background).

        I was a bit uncomfortable some might think I had strayed from my lane as I have no military combat experience, and neither my training nor my life or death experiences resemble Paul Howe’s.  Thus, I changed this post to pose and (hopefully) answer the title question. I think a better term to describe the dynamic incidents addressed is “active killer,” so I use that term instead of the universally used term “active shooter.”

I know Paul Howe only by reputation, his videos, and the material he and others have posted on the internet about his classes and training facility, CSAT.  If I had a training “bucket list,”  a week or two at CSAT would be on it.  Real operators I know respect him, his abilities, and doctrine.  Paul’s video provides basic insight into civilian mindset, gear, and tactics appropriate to intervene in an active killer incident.  Obviously, a safer intervention tactic would be simply to have Paul Howe with you and let him do the heavy lifting.  You would stay out of the fight, help with the evacuation of innocents, and provide direction to sworn first responders (most importantly, describing the armed and qualified civilian responder who already entered and was in response mode).  Unless you are Mrs. Paul Howe, that’s fantasy. Continue reading

The Redi-Mag

You can never have too much ammunition. At least, that is the mentality of many users that wish to strap on as much ammunition to their rifle as possible. While I typically like to have my carbine as light as possible, there are legitimate reasons to attach a spare magazine to the gun. I have seen many different ways to accomplish this, and some are better than others. But before we go into the options, let’s look at whether or not you need to have a spare magazine attached to the rifle. Continue reading

S&W M&P 10: A Quick Setup

My latest addition to the rifle pile is this S&W M&P 10.  I have taken great interest in the development of the 7.62/.308 gas guns, and am still trying to figure out what I want to do with one.  This M&P 10 got set up just enough to hit some range time with it.

The rifle is essentially in its stock configuration with the exception of a Vltor E-Mod stock from the parts bin and a Schmidt & Bender Short Dot in an extremely old LaRue mount.  This optic setup is quite interesting for many reasons.  It was likely one of the very first, if not the very first Short Dot in the US outside of the original DoD contract.  You can read about the background of the Short Dot on the Vickers Tactical site.  I was with Larry during the 2002 SHOT Show when he drafted the spec list and was also present during the meeting with Hans Bender when Larry presented the list of requirements.  It was with Larry and Hans Bender’s direct assistance that I was able to purchase one of these optics direct from Schmidt & Bender and mount it with the then-unknown LaRue mount from Austin Precision Products.  The Short Dot presented capabilities relatively unseen at the time, and is still a fine optic today, albeit a heavy one.

After some more range time with this setup, I will have to put some thought into how I want to complete its configuration.  What do you like on your M110/SR-25 type rifles?

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

Are You REALLY Doing It Right?

Are we treating the standing targets as “non-shoots” or as true innocent bystanders and applying all the basic safety rules?

At our last training day, Wayne Dobbs and I ran into a little problem. After a solid day of shooting a variety of tough drills and courses, we decided to add a little “competition” to the end of the day. We recently began running a pretty good little drill of 2 hits on a 10” plate at speed and then transition to an 8” plate for a single hit. We decided to now run this on a rack with a 10” plate and two separate 8” plates. To make things a little more interesting, we added two “innocent bystanders” between the targets. We also added a couple of rules. You could not violate the four basic safety rules. This meant that on the transition from the various plates across the innocent by-standers, you could not have a finger on the trigger, and the muzzle could not cover the non-shoot targets. After a couple of runs, we just put the timer away. It was insanely hard to not cross those non-shoots and to get that finger onto register. It took a lot of work to try to do this “right” and not necessarily “fast”. We also started moving to offer up better shots to minimize the risk to the non-shoots. Continue reading