Monday, October 26, 2015

Training Reflections

Don’t miss the opportunity to use a competition as a training session. 
There are opportunities to try techniques and, more importantly, evaluate equipment and skill sets at every match.  One good match to consider is the IDPA Classifier.

I don’t think IDPA is a substitute for actual training or a reflection of an actual confrontation.  If you think it is, just remember the targets neither move nor shoot back.
It is a game that lets you compare your constant evolution of skills and equipment against your past performance.  It also allows you to examine other solutions to the common problems associated with CCW.

These problems can include:      Type of pistol and caliber
                                                                Carry options
                                                                Effects of climate and clothing on carry options
                                                                Moving, cover and concealment
                                                                Operation of the handgun.

Don’t see this as an all inclusive list.  It’s just a jumping off point.  Look at these images from a late fall IDPA classifier.  If you were present, could you answer these questions for yourself?
Note:  these shooters aren’t doing anything “wrong.”  Any photo is a snapshot of a 1/100 of a second from a much longer time interval and is out of context.  The images are just used a starting point to think about training and techniques.

Example 1

IDPA tactics


Short fleece concealment vest:  Does the gun print on him?  Would standing there his best option?  Why isn’t his gun on in direct line of vision to the target?

Example 2
IDPA Tactics


After reloading behind, cover the shooter engages targets on her weak side.  Would changing pistol to weak hand with support benefit her?  What would that do to her accuracy?  Would it have been better to come out low, from a kneeling position?

Example 3

The shooter is drawing a revolver from right kidney position.  Would that gun print during normal activities?  Can you sit in a car seat for long with an expectation of comfort? Is a long tail shirt the best concealment option?

Example 4

Shooter is wearing a heavy canvas shell and gloves.  This is a good example of trying out how you would be dressed during inclement weather.  How would you solve the bad weather problem?  Perhaps a 5-shot revolver in an outer coat pocket would be a better option?

Example 5

The shooter is using cover and isn’t crowding it.  Are there any advantages to crowding cover and using the edge as support?  Do you see a problem with that?

Example 6 
shooting on the move

This shooter is advancing and his knees are bent to give him a lower center of gravity. Is the step too big?  Did he lift his foot too much, or is the uneven nature of the field best handled this way?


Our shooter is moving and shooting.  Can you think of when you would advance into returning fire?  Would your best strategy be to double tap on each target or boarding house rules?  That is, everyone gets one before seconds are handed out.



This shooter has a solution for engaging targets at two distances under different conditions.  I think his solution makes sense.  From behind big cover, he thumb cocks the revolver and snipes each shot in.  He reloads behind cover and advances, as required by IDPA.  From the kneeling position behind a barrel he’s significantly closer to the targets so he shoots double action.  Can you think of conditions when this tactic wouldn’t work?  Does the duel operation mode of a revolver out weight a 7th or 8th round of a semi-auto for the armed civilian?


Just some of the thoughts I had while watching the other shooters at the match.  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Anthony’s Words




I don’t have combat experience, but I’m not afraid to adapt the wisdom gained by those who have seen the elephant.  Here’s some advice from Anthony Winegar.   My observation, drawn from my life’s experience, will be in italics.   Study these.  You’ll find ideas in them.

On the Shoulders of Giants
Anthony Winegar
The words are mine, but the ideas were forged in blood by very special men and women. While most of the influences in my professional career are still alive, I have chosen some photos of those that are not. I try to live as humbly as possible, because no matter how good I get, it is only because I sit on the shoulders of giants who paved the way for me (thanks JD).

Here are some lessons I've learned over the years; I encourage you to develop your own and share them with your comrades.

1. There are three aspects to any violent encounter: chance, circumstance, and the will to fight. The first two are at least partly out of your control and always will be, but the will to win us up to us. To win, we have to fight back and break our enemy's will. Sometimes the “fuck anybody who isn’t us” attitude isn’t all bad.
Many interactions, but not all, have these components. Learn to recognize the difference and when to, literally, switch it on.

2. Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should. Never confuse enthusiasm with skill. And remember that speed kills, so recognize when it is in your favor and when you are going too fast.
The CCW permit and a holstered weapon doesn’t mean you can walk down a dark alley at night.

3. If you do not possess the skills, tools, or momentum to win the fight, you MUST break contact immediately or wait for a lull in the fight to try and regain momentum. Fight if you have to or are reasonably sure you can win it with the tools that you have at that moment. But be honest with yourself, be capable of applying tactics that fit, and do it quickly and early.

4. Think of your abilities in terms of money - if you only have ten dollars’ worth of skills and you are spending eight bucks trying to make accurate shots, work your holster, etc., than you only have two dollars left for problem solving. It should be the other way around.
Practice the basic skills, the things you aren’t good and the things that seem ordinary.

5. Have a plan for the major things that can go wrong. You can't plan for everything, but you have to plan for major foreseeable problems.
Isn’t this the same as “Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket” your mother told you about?

6. Recognizing what a situation is early and dealing with it quickly is a recipe for success. Novices wait until they are at the threshold to deal with what's in the room.
The key is observing and realizing what is significant.  This applies to every day activities as well as armed conflict.

7. End fights as swiftly and violently as rules allow under the circumstances. The longer you stay in a protracted fight, the greater chance that an unknown circumstance will inject weird and unknown variables which you have no control over.

8. If you think you have cover, you probably won't have it for long. If you are being targeted… MOVE! Mobility is your friend and a direct manifestation of unpredictability to your adversary.
Cardboard targets don’t move, but mentally reverse roles.  If you were the cardboard targets , what would you do?  How would the meat and blood you react to the counter?

9. If you find yourself being targeted inside your vehicle, get out quickly and move away from the vehicle to the next piece of closest cover. There are only so many places inside a vehicle that a human can be, and only one place for a driver. Those bullets are going to hit you eventually if you stay there, so move and then fight. If you are incapacitated inside the vehicle, fight until you die or get rescued. Those are your only options. If you are riding dirty with two, do a head count once you get to cover. If one didn't make it, we will always go back.
Call it what you will: fatal funnel, hell hole, killing zone, sitting duck.  Get out and follow the advice. 

10. Fight complacency as hard as you fight admin bullshit. We seem to constantly re-learn the same tough lessons as a profession. It does not have to be that way, and learning starts with each of us as individuals.
It’s true in all things, work, leisure activities, relationships, self-improvement, all skills decay.  Training and growth are the ways to retain and improve.

11. You owe it to your family, the public, and yourself to train and retain the information you are presented. Training is fun when done right, but it is also for work. If you cannot retain your training, don't get pissy when your performance evaluation doesn't reflect your high self esteem. If you are a supervisor, don't turn into a pussy when you need to be honest with people about their performance. This profession has plenty of room for articulation and there are plenty of ways to accomplish a goal. But it has no room for excuses.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

So what is it?

13 Oct 2015   Okay, I was wrong.  You'll have to read the article to find out wrong about what.


I ran across this photo and it caught my fancy.

So what do you think it is?

 It’s a gun that appears to shoot a 3 inch metal stake.  Is it an industrial tool for anchoring bolts into concrete?  I guess you could use it for extreme mountain climbing to shoot climbing petons into rock cracks.  But I think I’ve got a different answer.

Let’s look a little closer.  The stakes look like they’re loaded into .223 rem cases.  I first thought the gun had a single barrel but if you look closely you’ll see 4 barrels.  The gun looks like it’s a breach loader.  The chambers and attached barrels unlatching at the rear, pivoting on the frame just forward of the trigger guard.  Pop out the empties and drop in four live ones and you’re ready to go.

The chambers don’t look that strong to me.  I look at the thickness of my AR chamber and these don’t seem so hot.  Of course, it could be a reduced load.  Stakes that long wouldn’t be very stable in flight, so it’s a short working distance weapon.  No 50 yard shoot-the-apple-off–his-head shots with this. 
You could work out the weight of the stake assuming it’s a cylinder the diameter of a .223 about 3.5 inches long and has the density of 1050 steel.  From there you could figure the energy traveling at 200 feet per second.  It would take more than my working knowledge to calculate the pressure build-up contained by the brass cartridge acting as a gaskets and steel chamber. 

I wouldn’t want to be the first to try it.

Maybe it’s a stake driver after all.  A vampire stake driver.  They aren’t wood, but maybe in that story iron works better.  No I don’t think it’s some homemade class 3 vest penetrator.  Too easy to saw a 12 gauge down, or get a .308 up close.  No, at the risk of being wrong, this is a movie prop gun.

That’s my story until you prove me wrong.




My sharp eyed friend, Derrick, knew what it was.  It's Russian, specifically a Russian underwater pistol called the SPP-1.  The gun fires a 4.5 mm diameter steel dart that's 115 mm long.  It reminds me of a "Sea Hunt" escapade starting Lloyd Bridges involving shooting guns under water.  I seem to remember them showing the cavitation caused the bullet over the irregular and short effective distances.  it was very cool.

Thanks Derrick!