Friday, May 31, 2013

Checking my Zero

I took my Rock River AR out last weekend.  I had removed the dot for Dave Laubert’s AR maintenance class ( and now I needed to reinstall it.  The dovetail mount means I should be able to simply slip it back on the rifle and be reasonably close.
Reasonably close isn’t good enough.  I’m zeroing my AR at 25 yards so an inch right or left can mean 4 inches (plus my normal minimum arc of movement) at 100 yards.  I could wobble off the target.  Plus it’s comforting to know your rifle is truly zeroed.  Even those rounds fired while checking the zero add to your experience with trigger control and breath control.  It’s a nice way to welcome the outdoor rifle season.  

Rifle targets, 5 to a page that I used to check my zero
The lower groups, targets 1 and 3 are my zero; the upper target is free standing at 25 yards.  See, I’m a shaky dude.

Why 25 yards?

Out to 60 yards my impact will be less than one handprint high or low from my point of aim.  In my vision of tactical sport shooting and my limited concept of urban combat, 60 yards is a lot.  Go outside and walk about 70 steps or 60 yards in straight line.  How many points of the compass could you really do that in without running into a house or other bulletproof object?

I also just got new electronic ears.  They are 3M Peltor Tactical Sport.  I love them.   

Peltor Tactical Sports electron ear muffs
Best ear protection I've ever owned.  Why did I wait so long?

I really like the auto shut off.  I sometimes slip my electronic muffs away and forget to turn them off.  After 2 hours of no noise they turn themselves off.  Sufficient noise reduction (20 dB) to protect my ears and still let me carry on conversations.  Most importantly they are the most comfortable set of ear protection I have ever worn, and I’ve worn a lot.  I’m sorry I waited so long to buy a set.

I bought mine locally at the Medina gun show from Ted at TJ Targets.  Try ‘em, you’ll like love ‘em.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

First Aid Upgrade

 The rest of the core items I want in my first aid kit have arrived.

They consist of Quick Clot Combat Gauze in Z-fold, the C-A-T Tourniquet and the Israeli Trauma Wound Dressing.  Does this mean I’m stripping out the other components like Quick Clot spot pack, mil surplus field dressing and 6 yards of duct tape?  
My expanded 1st aid core: Israeli Bandage, Quick Clot Gauze and combat tourniquet
The answer is no.  But I may have to get a larger pouch to clip on to my gunbag.  Each item gives me more options.  I expect most injuries to be minor cuts and punctures handled with a little soap and water or hand sanitizer followed by a band-aid.  But what if it’s not?  
I expect most injuries to be single or at worst two people.  But what if it’s not?

Here’s my perspective on it.  I want to think scalable, to be able to move up and down the first aid continuum with the gear I'm carrying. .  I know I wouldn’t use a 5x5-inch clotting sponge on a quarter-inch cut on my finger, but I may need to stuff a wound with combat gauze and tape it shut with duct tape because band-aids aren’t up to the job.  I still need band-aids because most injuries will be more of an inconvenience than a serious injury.  

I’m going to pack what I think I could need. But I’m I not packing two different size airways, irrigation solution or IV needles because I’m not trained to use them.

Like Dirty Harry sezs, “Get off my grass!” or was it “A man has to know his limits.”  You get my drift.

I bought an extra Israeli Trauma Wound Dressing to practice with.  I’m glad I did.  The outer pack opened easy, but the tight fitting vacuum pack dressing was difficult to get out of the over pouch.   

The outer pack is notched and tears open, but the vacuum sealed pack is hard to pull out.  Just peel back the outer package.  The exposed flap will be hard to find, it's pressed into the inner pack.  This one has a little air under it now, so it's easy to see.
Once out I had to look for the clear plastic folded flap.  Unfolding the flap showed me a ribbon of dots I took as a tear strip.  It didn’t tear.  I thought it would come to pocket knife time, but a twist of the plastic held tightly between my fingers tore it open.

The frosted white ribbon is really just dots pressed into the plastic. 

I’m still wondering about including bandage shears.  They have blunt noses so if I slip under stress and jab myself or someone else, well no blood-no foul.  Can’t say that about a pocket knife.

I’m not sure where this new journey of first aid awareness will take me.  I saw a first aid/trauma kit used by contractors in the sandbox.  It was massive, and far beyond my abilities.  I’m not sure I could lug that around with me and my gun bag.  It was the size of a 3-day backpack.

One thing is clear.  Different kits are needed in different locations: car, garage, range, campsite and a walk in the woods.  

If you carry a firearm be open to the possibility you may have to perform first aid on a loved one or even yourself.  Do I have to say we don’t perform first aid on the person who forced us to shoot him?  He may be down but not out of the fight.  Keep your guard up!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

First Aid

I just finished a 4-hour American Heart Association first aid course, with emphasis on gunshot/range injuries.  It was pretty basic.  But it did touch on several aspects that are different from the last time I took a first aid class 30 years ago.

The big difference was tourniquets, QuikClot and combat dressings.

Let me step back to days after the Boston Marathon bombing.  Following that attack, many people suffered horrendous injuries involving loss of body parts and limbs.  While not dwelling on it, the media reported that many lives were saved because of the almost immediate response of bystanders with basic first aid skills.  Specifically, tourniquets. 

Zipping back to now, I find out that many police, security and ordinary citizens carry basic first aid equipment.  Included in these personal kits, often made to the owner’s specifications, are combat tourniquets, Israeli Battle Dressings and QuikClot pads.

Our medical system has gotten so much better than it was 30 years ago.  If we keep a person alive until they get to treatment, they have tremendous odds of surviving.  The sooner basic first aid can be delivered, the sooner we can control bleeding, shock, keep an airway open, the better the outcome.

My personal first aid kit currently contains QuikClot, gauze pads, bandages and tape.  Pretty much what I learned 30 years ago. 

My personal firstaid kit is built around a Quik Clot pad and bandage
I built my personal 1st aid kit around these two items, a QuikClot pad and sterile bandage.

I’m upgrading.

I’ve ordered several Israeli battle dressings, including one to practice with, a CAT Combat Tourniquet and QuickClot Combat Gauze.

Expensive?  Not as expensive as the inability to help save a life due to lack of equipment.  It may be an innocent stranger, or someone I said I would protect, and quite possibly myself.
It’s just an interpretation of Ayoob’s dictum:  Know where the attack will come from and have a proven defense in place. 
Or as I put it, “First aid equipment, it’s not just for the paranoid!” 

More when my order arrives!!! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Shooting the Classifier

I shot the IDPA Classifier earlier today.  It was a lot of fun.  We had 27 shooters and the club set up the entire classifier on three different ranges.  I was on the range we affectionately called the Pit.  Because of the high walls and lack of shade, in August we also call it the Damn Oven.

the pit set up for the IDPA classifier
We're all set-up and ready to go.  All we need are shooters.

I was in a good group of shooters.  We all wanted to perform with lightning quick deadly accuracy but we also recognized that marksmanship and proficiency with arms is a continuous path that must be walked.  There is no resting on your laurels; you are only as good as your last shot.

The club called it the first match of the year but in the Pit, we knew the match as rust knocker. 

We forgot to record times from individual strings, how to score targets, how to add, how to fill out scoresheets and worst of all, how to work the timers.  Just push the button!  How hard can that be?

We quickly picked it up.  Everyone had fun.  Everyone was excited about shooting.  I hope it continues.

I’m taking our attendance as a good sign.  With the price of ammo so expensive, 90 rounds of 9mm could cost you as little as $67.  Not a trivial amount for anyone.

How did I shoot?

I never shoot as well as I would like, but I shot well.  I shoot a Beretta, and I’ve never seen one of those jam.  My reloads were good, even the “reload with retention.”  I had a little trouble with my head shots and I should practice them a bit more.

Here are some photos.

Stage One
Stage one gives you a chance to demonstrate up-close skills.

Guy's gun recoils and slide has started opening
Pistol in recoil, the slide is starting to pick-up the next round.

Stage three shooting 20 yards
I thought this stuff was smokeless!!

Tactical content:  Most of us want to measure our performance against things we do well.  That’s the wrong yardstick.  The IDPA Classifier covers most if not all of the basic skills needed for self-defense with a handgun.   
stage three -  20 yards
Stage Three,  20 yards is a long way to hit center of mass.

Take a few minutes and download the IDPA Classifier.  It doesn’t need a lot of props.  A barrel and a barricade, both of which you could “fabricate” with some cardboard and target stands.  Set it up and shoot it with your carry gun.   At the end of thirty days, shoot it again and see what has changed.   

Make your plans from there.