Monday, April 28, 2014

Beguiling Practice

It was a brutally cold and long winter in Ohio and most of the north central and eastern states.  It’s hard to criticize anyone who didn’t get outside to practice.  Many indoor ranges discourage, if not forbid, drawing from a holster.  So, by spring most of us have a little rust to scrap off.

There are those who simply refuse to practice.  The idea of going out to the range and doing 20 one-round center of mass shots is, well, just inconceivable.  But they will shoot to have fun.

To get around this we run Thursday fun matches at the club and we just had our first one of the season.
We placed three large paper plates and three small ones on sheets of cardboard which are spaced 6 ft apart.  The drill looks a little like the “El Presidente.”

six plates in 15 rounds, and one reload
Note the middle target group has the smaller plate on the bottom.  It's not just moving the front site in a straight line.

Standing at 21 feet you draw your sidearm and engage all the large plates with two rounds each.  Then re-engage each large plate with two more rounds so all the large plates have a total of 4 rounds. 

Now you can engage each small plate with one round.  No makeup rounds allowed for a total of 15.

The only two conditions are you must stay in the 'box' painted on the grass and you must fill your magazines so you have at least one slide-lock reload.

Scoring is raw time plus 2.5 seconds for each round not on a paper plate.  It’s fast and easy to score.

shooter and safety officer
It's not the gear, it's the basic skills that we need to work with.
The goal is to shoot it clean.

It’s not about stance, grip or equipment.  It’s about sight picture, trigger control and reloading.  These are basic skills.  Every time you shoot you use basic skills no matter if you’re clearing a house or plinking at cans down at the dump.  No matter how good you get, you always use basic skills.

We encourage everyone to shoot their CCW gun and shoot it from concealment at our little matches, but our goal is to make you a better shooter.

Left handed shooter with light on gun
You don't need fancy equipment.  Just shoot your carry gun like this fellow.
Since we’re disguising training as fun (who says they can’t be both?) we record each shooter’s time and only count their best time.  It’s surprising how shooting against yourself and friends can motivate a person.  We also announce the best time as the time to beat.

What’s a good time?  All depends.  In self-defense situations you have the rest of your life to shoot six targets with 15 rounds.  But on the range…

From concealment, which slows both the draw and the reload, I think under 16 seconds is a great time with one reload. 
No concealment garment?  I think 14 seconds is a great time.
What would be good time?  Let’s call that faster than 23 seconds with one reload.

shooter uses a basic pistol, puts spare magazine in back pocket
Gun, eye and ear protection.  Let's go have some fun!

I calculated those times based on my experience and the number of rounds fired and reloading times.  Not on how I placed in the scores.  My best was 17.35 seconds clean.  The very best was 11.62 seconds.

The goal should be shooting that level every time and not after you’ve warmed up and figured out where to stage your reload.

Most ranges have rules about eye safety and ear protection.  Good reason, too!

Bullets pass through the cardboard and bounced off rock backstop
The left is a 9 mm and the right is a .40 S&W (I think).
These two misshapen bullets are ‘bounce back’ that hit me.  I was at least three feet back from the firing line at the time.  The bullets bounced off the rock backstop and hit me.  The larger one looks like a .40 S&W and the smaller a 9 mm.  

They were low energy impact hits and didn’t do any damage, but the lesson is valid.  Always wear some kind of eye protection on or off the firing line.  Make sure you’re wearing ear protection too.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cookin' with Kydex

Shortly after the invention of the handgun the early shooters must have asked the question “Where the heck do I put this thing when it’s not in my hand?”

Some of the early answers were to tuck it in your belt or pants.  Whatever problems arose from that carry mode led to the idea of a holster.  This question continues to plague us today.  We’re still asking how do I carry this thing when I’m not using it? 

The word holster seems to have some connection to the Norse hulstr or sheath.  Early holsters were little more than leather funnels.  Other materials were tried.  Witness the classic wooden holster for the broomhandle Mauser.  I can’t find the reference, but I remember reading about J.D. O’Meara who carried two triggerless slip guns in specially tailored leather lined pant pockets during the late 1890s and early 1900s.

An excellent, but limited reference is John Bianchi’s “Blue Steel and Gun Leather” for a mid-20th century history of holsters.  I have to wonder what he would have thought of Kydex if it had been available when he first started making holsters.

I like leather, but when push comes to shove, I go for Kydex.  Lightweight, strong, laughs at salt, sweat and rain, cleans up with soap and water and dries with a quick wipe off.  Yes, if you store it in your car on a hot Texas summer day it can soften.  Try that with a leather holster a couple times and see what happens.  Besides, what are you storing it for?  You should be wearing it.

I recently acquired a Glock model 42 for concealed carry so I went to Armiger Solutions for a holster.  They were already fabricating IWB holsters for the newly released .380 ACP Glock. 

I’m impressed.  They use dot fasteners and fiber reinforced belt loops adjustable for belts 1.75, 1.5 and 1.25 inches. 

My glock 42 in Armiger solutions IWB holster
Glock 42 in Armiger Solutions IWB holster

I got the holster with the so-called FBI cant because it’s easier to draw and I believe it conceals better.

Is it comfortable? 

No.  I have yet to find an in-the-waistband holster that’s as comfortable as an external waistband holster.  It’s not supposed to be comfortable.   You’re pulling unyielding steel into tender parts of your body for more concealment.  The minor discomfort is trivial compared to the concealable factor.  I just wore mine for two days of sitting in the car, walking and going about my business, and I was very comforted by my awareness of it.

With this good experience under my belt or in my waistband, I asked Jake at Armiger to make me a custom IWB holster for my Para CCO in .45 ACP.  I bought that Para several years ago as a concealed carry gun for colder weather.  But I never found a good concealable holster for it.

“Sure,” Jake said.  “What color do you want it.”
“Purple,” I said.

Purple Kydex holster for Para CCO
My purple Kydex holster.  Thanks, Jake!

I elected to go with his holster modification that would let me choose between a straight drop, FBI cant or forward cant.  The belt loops are separated from the holster by small o-rings to provide a little bit of space to accommodate the 

Holster shows duel attachment points
The four attachment points provide a wide range of angles to choose from.

fabric of your waistband.  The snaps are dot fasteners and the loops accommodate the three typical belt widths.

One of the problems I had with the Para was the frame mounted safety.  This safety clicks off in some IWB holsters I’ve tried.  Yes, I know it has a grip safety and no, I don’t have this problem with Colt and Springfield 1911 style pistols.  Still, I didn’t want a CCW gun that allowed me to accidentally snick a safety off.

The little channel ensures the safety stays in the safe position until I decide to change its status.

Jake took care of that. He brought the left side of the holster up and molded a little channel that prevents my activities from accidently snicking the safety off.  Very cool!

I really like and recommend Armiger Solutions.  Their holsters have all the features you look for, wide front sight channel, good fit, well placed tension screw, adjustable belt loops and just enough retention so the gun doesn’t pop out during normal use.

The holster does touch the rear sight, important if you have an adjustable rear sight and the wide channel for the front sights make your draw and holstering easy.  

I own two of Armiger Solutions holsters and I like both of them a lot.  Give Armiger a try, I think you’ll like them.

In the interest of complete candor, I shoot with Jake but I have received nothing in compensation.  I just like his holsters.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Franklin High Knifing

I don’t know which blog this belongs in.  I’ll figure it out later.

Armed with an evil mind and two 8-inch kitchen knives, Alex Hribal attacked fellow students and staff at Franklin Regional High School in Murry PA.  Panic ensued as a wounded student pulled the fire alarm wanting to evacuate the building.  It also had the effect of getting the professionals moving.  In retrospect not a bad action on his part.

Hribal, called the 'suspect' by the media, was tackled by a school official and arrested.  He appears to have run through the building stabbing and slashing people.  Fortunately, of the twenty four people injured in the attack and the resulting confusion, there have been no deaths, but several are in serious condition.

I see a connection between Fort Hood and Franklin Regional High School.  You should too.  It’s the same connection that keeps coming up over and over.

Rabid, mad men are seldom so crazy to attack the armed and prepared.  In all fairness it does happen.  These events are usually very short lived as are the attackers. 

History shows from 1850 in West Chester, PA to the 1927 Bath School bombing in Michigan and beyond Fort Hood in April of this year, these bastards seek out a group of innocent and unarmed individuals for their merciless sport.  Their fun only ends when confronted with the armed and prepared individual.

The media ignores that fact.  Instead they focus on the mental health of the attacker, or making the private agony of the survivors public or insisting that an undefined “They” should have anticipated it and prevented it.

We both know that every incident becomes a stage for the political left and right to champion their messages.  On several levels, I admit I don’t care about their messages.  I care about my message.  And here it is:

Innocent, unarmed people will always be made into victims.  Surely there must be those among us who would chose to be armed and willing to act when needed.

This is the cornerstone of carrying a concealed weapon: I am armed and willing to act to protect myself and those important to me.

Gun Free zone sign didn't work
It appears the signs failed to stop Alex Hribal.  Signs only affect law-abiding people.  Stolen from Internet

It’s time to allow these certified, card carrying good guys mix anonymously into these unarmed populations.

Let's make the predators wonder who are the sheep and who are the sheepdogs!

Tactical content  (See, I figured out which blog this belongs in.)

First the obvious.  Be armed, be prepared.  Note what’s going on and act.  Franklin Regional High is a good example of how a fire extinguisher could have ended the confrontation.  Spray them with white stuff inside, then hit them with the outside.   Hats off to Clint Smith.

The less obvious.
One headline stated that for the stabbing victims time to medical attention was critical.  Carry a 'blowout' kit.  I blogged about the course at Weyer Tactical.  The medical professionals aren’t coming in until the police say the area is secure.  If you’re in the area you are the first responder.  In fact you might have to be your own rescuer.  

Tourniquet, pressure bandage and quick clot pads could have reduced the number of seriously injured.  Be prepared and act.  

This is never about being a hero.  It’s about doing what’s right.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ivan Lopez

I don’t know what set Army Specialist Ivan Lopez on his deadly rampage.

Maybe he had PTSD.  Maybe he didn’t and was pissed he wasn’t going to get benefits.  Maybe he was just an evil person and it was his time to howl.

I do know what stopped him.  The same thing that stopped all the other spree killers over the last dozen or so years.

“The shooting spree ended after roughly 15 minutes when a female military police officer confronted the shooter, prompting him to turn his .45 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol on himself, military officials said. "  (

I seldom trust statements that contain “always” and “never”, but I’d bet my life on the following: 

Spree shooters always stop and surrender or take their own life when confronted with the armed and effective individual. In either case the killing of innocents stop.

I’m not the first to say any of this.  Unfortunately, I suspect I will not be the last to say it either. 

It’s been documented too many times.  It takes an good armed man to stop a bad armed man.

“Never call an unarmed man ‘security.’”  Lt. Col Dave Grossman.

Growing up I always assumed the military issued you a weapon, ammunition and you were responsible for keeping it in working order and at hand during on-duty hours.  It made sense to me.  You never knew when you’d need your tools of your trade.

What do I know?  I was never in the service.  I guess a child sees things without all the encumbrances of CYA and political correctness.  

It’s past time to sweep that stuff out of the room.
It’s time to issue and train every officer and NCO in the service to carry a sidearm and issue orders to be armed on-duty as well as off-duty on base. 

Will there be accidental discharges?  Yes.  Every police department has them.   Most shooters have them.  In fact, if you haven’t had one, you probably haven’t shot enough.

But if you are following the first NRA Rule (ALWAYS Keep the Gun Pointed in a Safe Direction) there maybe some embarrassment but nobody will die.  Excluding claims from some 16-year old girls, nobody ever died of embarrassment!

I wish Lopez had taken his rage out blogging or working out on a heavy bag.  But he didn’t.

Most veterans served honorably, and often at great expense to themselves and their family.  When they do hurt someone, it’s usually themselves.

Let’s give American heroes the tools to protect themselves.

Tactical content?  Be armed and avoid places that restrict your ability to protect yourself.