Shooting skills are diminished by injury. How do we get them back?
A score of eighty-eight percent on our state’s generous law enforcement qualification course is not acceptable in my book. It had been my first attempt that year just over three months out of my second surgery. I can hardly remember a time when I didn’t shoot a perfect or near perfect score on a qualification round. In a nine-month period, I’d had Ulnar nerve surgery on my left elbow and triple surgery on my right shoulder. It’s hard to say which is more responsible for the lengthy recovery time: the injuries and subsequent surgeries themselves or the years of procrastination. Either way, my days of being useful as a real cop were seemingly over.
Physical atrophy is to be expected after a joint surgery (and even in my prime, I was more slight than might), but the real problem for me was the subsequent emotional atrophy. I was under doctor’s orders not to do even a single push-up for at least a year. That meant an automatic failure of the SWAT team’s mandatory P.T. test. I was a team leader and was forced to resign several years before I had planned. At about the same time, I was removed from my primary position as a shift commander and put in an administrative/supervisory role over non-sworn personnel. The cumulative effects of these life changes were devastating beyond physicality. Continue reading
Active Shooters in Movie Theaters
As we tune in to the news on just about any given week, we see more and more copycat “active” shooters in movie theaters in the United States. This unfortunately is the new norm. Because this is the new norm, our tactics are going to have to shift to combat these cowardly acts of seemingly random murder.
In examining the events of past theater shootings, the only constant variable is they occur in the darkness of a movie theater, aside from the constant that the shooter is mentally ill.. The scenarios have presented different targets, different responses by victims, and different guns involved used by the shooters. The shooters have sat in different parts of the the theater, struck at different times in the movies. Based upon that, our tactics must be fluid. Continue reading
Its hard to argue the fact that the Sig Sauer P-series pistols are some of the best combat pistols every produced. Putting the argument or preference aside of double action/single action versus current current striker fired pistols or single action only the reliability and accuracy is well known and respected around the world. With a vast majority of the pistol rounds I’ve sent downrange being out of a p226, I had to have one in the safe. The trigger and action on the sig are designed for reliability, not necessarily a light or crisp trigger pull so I decided to upgrade my personal gun a bit. I made the obvious decision and went to the first and really only serious name in Sig Sauer action work, Bruce Gray of Gray Guns. Continue reading
Firearms instructors have a golden opportunity when teaching concealed carry classes to encourage their students to seek further training.
It seems everyone is a firearms instructor these days, me included. As the interest in firearms ownership and concealed carry grow, so must the instructor base. We are law enforcement, military and private sector firearms enthusiasts who want to share our knowledge and help others. Most firearms instructors only teach their state’s concealed carry course or other “basic” classes and I’m certain the majority of us do a respectable job with the short amount of time we are allotted. Still, can we do better? I believe there are two areas where many firearms instructors just plain fail.
The majority of new shooters or at least new students only attend their first class because their respective states require it to attain a handgun carry license. I would dare say many of them are certain that this rudimentary training is more than adequate. That’s not their fault. That’s our fault as instructors. An eight-hour, state-mandated safety class is in no way sufficient and that is a point where I feel many instructors fail. We should be encouraging our students to seek further training on their own after completion of that class. Granted, it can be difficult for your average person to overcome their fears and finances to attend even a basic eight-hour class. How do we convince those folks to attend intermediate and advanced training? It all starts with that concealed carry class. Continue reading
The market seems to be absolutely loaded with kydex holster makers these days. Your options seem to be endless with everyone trying to separate themselves from the pack for one reason or another. Recently receiving my HK45c back from Gray Guns (review to be done later), I was in the market for a new inside the waistband holster for concealed carry. Initially I actually went and looked at the G-Code Incog simply due to a few friends carrying their carry weapons in them already with no complaints. Sadly G-Code doesn’t make a Incog for a HK45c. Through a Friend I was told about Garrett Industries, who quietly seemed to be making some really nice holsters for some very serious people without attaching their label to the closest bearded internet personality. Offering a decent military discount and offering some really nice leather lined kydex options, I ordered up the Silent Thunder holster with a single mag holder for the compact HK. I received emails verifying my order, telling me when it went into production and within two weeks I had my order in hand. Continue reading
Prime Ammo may be new to the game but the ammunition inside the box is from a well known company.
The biggest hassle with precision shooting is reloading to try to keep cost down with quality and accuracy of ammunition up. Now that is my opinion, while I find reloading calming and almost therapeutic at times, finding the time to do it between a strenuous job schedule and a family doesn’t allow for much time to be behind the reloading press. If you look to factory ammunition your choices tend to be limited with many popular precision rifle calibers just not being offered regularly without having to spend quite a sum having someone else load it for you. During a range day with some friends I was introduced to one of the people behind PRIME Ammunition. Their representative had some questions about calibers I would like to see more of in the factory ammunition market, bullet weights I preferred, my thoughts on the industry and ammunition market and its problems in general. Haven’t had many conversations with people behind the scenes of a large ammunition retailer who has cared as much about what the shooters wanted as the people at Prime. Continue reading
I now offer for your consideration a “final” installment on my paradigm for the use of deadly force. The posts directly-related, in chronological order, are HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE .
As previously defined, the MUST: If deadly force is not employed, you or someone you cannot live without will likely die. Add, if you wish — the MAY permits, and the SHOULD will normally compel — or suffer great/serious bodily injury/harm. Sprinkle with the required dose of reasonable certainty that deadly force is necessary (something way north of even odds, as the use of deadly force invokes the decision process reserved to life’s most important questions) and imminence (usually meaning within a few seconds, but I often note how the certainty of suffering deadly force, might make much longer intervals considered imminent), and slip on the halo of the non-culpable, reasonable man acting in good faith. (LEOs: I may write a post on your MUST at a later date).
This particular Glock has sights mechanically centered in the slide, but many Glocks do shoot slightly left. This is my target from a while back after shooting the FBI Bullseye Course, which is shot at 15 and 25 yards.
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.
“If your head tells you one thing, and your heart tells you another, before you do anything, you should first decide whether you have a better head or a better heart.” Marilyn Vos Savant
I framed the SHOULD element of my deadly force paradigm as — do you employ deadly force and risk everything you are/have and will ever be/have. It often presents as whether you should come to the aid of another person. As suggested in my prior paradigm posts, the SHOULD analysis likely goes to the “core of your being.” So, don’t expect the answer from another (including me (HERE) ). Moreover, your answer will be part of a complex split-second decision you will likely make alone. Thus, it behooves you to give it serious thought and make the necessary analyses ahead-of-time. (If you’re an LEO, you have agency requirements and training imperatives — and case law trends — to factor in as well). The key is mental preparation. Before the event, you have one or more “plans” — if this particular balloon goes up, I disengage/leave/summon help, or I respond with X, Y, and/or Z.
Here I am blending a grip safety for a student. This is normally far beyond the scope of the class, but this student has been carrying this pistol on duty and I couldn’t bear to see the frame cutting into his hand any longer.
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
Let’s revisit the MAY element in detail, as I promised in a recent MSW post on my use of deadly force paradigm. (HERE)
MAY: The inquiry — whether the use of deadly force is within the law. (We live in political correctness infected and curious Rule of Law interpretation times; so, that inquiry is to be distinguished from the distinct and less easily answered — can/will I be charged with a crime). In earlier posts I urged the importance of knowing “the law” beforehand, what sources to study, and to be mindful of “trends” (the inclinations of prosecutors, juries, and judges . . . good luck with that) in the law of justified deadly force. Here’s sources, in my (but not necessary the only) order of research, usually available free — online or in every law school library:
- Current year state statutes (caveat, even unambiguous statutes can be subjected to surprising judicial interpretation these days)
- Jury instructions (often termed “pattern” or “standard,” possibly officially promulgated by state highest court, required or suggested in criminal cases and all trials, not always consistent with or limited to language of related statute)
- Appellate case law (including opinions of the court over your locale’s trial court, the state’s other intermediary appellate courts, and the state’s highest court for criminal appeals)
- Local prosecutor’s memoranda on use of deadly force by LEOs and nonsworn in cases not prosecuted
- Federal case law commentary on state statute or common law use of force principles, or on Constitutional rights bearing on state criminal proceedings
- State law legislative history and enactment commentary (may or may not exist)
- Other state(s) interpretation(s) (highest state court opinions) of similarly worded statutes
Raven Concealment’s Eidolon holster is one of the few concealed carry products that have actually lived up to its Internet hype.
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
The Burner…I’m not talking about the little Bunsen burner we used many eons ago in Chemistry class (gen Xrs and up) but the guy named Jerry Barnhart who burns down stages and is one of the most winning competitive shooters out there. I had the pleasure of training with Jerry recently for a 2 day Tactical Pistol course. Now before the inter webs go a blazing on “competition will get you killed!” and such, please direct your anger to my four part series here at MSW and see why I don’t agree with that fallacy.
Anyway, bottom line, shooting is shooting. Period. The competition or tactical drills that follow are secondary if you can’t make the shot. This includes: shooting for accuracy, shooting on the move, head shots, 50 yard shots, etc. So, can it with the “yee gads, that there is foolish training” talk and learn how to shoot under pressure and maybe we can have a coffee. But I digress… Continue reading
The Pelican 1910B is just slightly bigger than the Streamlight Microstream. It still disappears when clipped to a pocket or in your waistband. A convenient carry spot is in the dead space on the waistband directly adjacent to your holster.
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.
The Streamlight Microstream is a small and functional flashlight that is significantly easier to carry than many other popular options.
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.